Serious concerns about architects are rare. On the limited occasions they do occur, as the UK regulator we are here to ensure standards, and therefore trust, in the profession is maintained. We hope the information published about conduct and competence decisions provides useful learning points for others.
Mr Neal Tuson of Neal Tuson Architects, London, has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) following a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 2-4 September 2020 and 23 November 2020.
Mr Tuson had been instructed to act as the architect for a project to demolish an existing bungalow and build a new property on a site in the South Downs National Park. Mr Tuson’s client raised concerns with ARB that he had caused significant delays to her project, which had added to the costs and stresses of building a new property.
ARB alleged that Mr Tuson had not carried out his work within the timescale agreed with his client in several aspects of the project. The PCC found the facts proved and considered that Mr Tuson’s failure to provide his architectural work in a timely manner was serious. The PCC noted that in isolation, periods of delays may not have been serious and may not have had an impact on the timeliness of the project, but Mr Tuson’s failure to adequately deal with issues that arose meant that his client lost control of their project. The PCC considered that these actions contravened Standard 6.2 of the Architects Code.
When considering sanction, the PCC took into account that Mr Tuson had no previous adverse regulatory findings, and that this was an isolated incident relating to only one project. Mr Tuson also expressed some regret for the situation. Nevertheless, the PCC considered that Mr Tuson’s failings had a significant impact on his client and regarded this as a serious failure that could diminish his reputation and that of the profession generally. The PCC therefore concluded that a penalty order of £1,500 would be the appropriate sanction.
A copy of the decision can be found here.
Notes for Editors
• The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest.
• Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the UK qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects
• ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one lay, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.
• The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The PCC determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence.
• Where a guilty finding is made, the PCC will consider whether to make a disciplinary order, which means:
– a reprimand
– a penalty order
– a suspension order (to a maximum of 2 years); or
– an erasure order
• Money raised by fines imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee is paid to HM Treasury.
• ARB has an Information Pack detailing its key messaging intended for use by the press and other stakeholders.
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