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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.

Ms Joana Luisa Da Silva Cipriano of Studio 47 Architects, London, has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) following a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 17-20 November 2020 and 6 January 2021. 

This case arose out of two complaints received in respect of the professional services carried out by Studio 47 Architects. Upon further investigation, ARB established that the individual complained of was not an architect, and that Ms Cipriano was the principal architect at the practice.  It subsequently became apparent that Ms Cipriano had not carried out her duty as principal architect to supervise staff members adequately and had failed to ensure that unregistered individuals did not promote themselves as architects on the practice’s website.

The PCC found the facts proved and considered that Ms Cipriano’s failures were serious and amounted to unacceptable professional conduct. It considered that this lack of supervision was typical at Studio 47 and not isolated to one project. Ms Cipriano had failed to familiarise herself with her professional obligations in this regard and in fact was not in effective control of the business insofar as it related to architecture. 

When considering sanction, the PCC took into account that Ms Cipriano had no previous adverse regulatory findings, and that she had apologised for her failings. Nevertheless, the PCC found that she had not taken effective corrective steps to demonstrate that she understood the extent of her professional responsibilities. The PCC regarded this as a serious failure that diminished her reputation and that of the profession generally, and therefore concluded that a six month suspension would be the appropriate sanction. While suspended from the Register Ms Cipriano is not permitted to use the title ‘architect’ in business or practice.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

—ENDS—

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 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
    – 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.

For further information please contact media@arb.or.uk or on 020 7580 5861.

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