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 Malcolm Iredale of Carrock Design and Build, Penrith, has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) following a hearing of the ARB’s independent Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) held on 28-30 October 2020.
Mr Iredale was contracted by his client to prepare new drawing plans for the conversion of a derelict barn into living accommodation. Mr Iredale faced allegations that he failed to provide adequate terms of engagement to his client before carrying out work, and that he failed to adequately consult his client on the integration of the flat roof prior to the submission of a planning application.
The PCC heard evidence regarding Mr Iredale’s letter of appointment, which had been drafted with the assistance of a solicitor over 16 years ago. Mr Iredale accepted that this appointment letter did not adequately cover the terms of engagement as outlined in Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code and admitted that the failure amounted to UPC.
The PCC found the facts proved in relation to both allegations. It found that his failure to enter into an adequate written agreement was in contravention with Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code and amounted to UPC. However, the PCC found that Mr Iredale was not guilty of UPC in relation to the allegation regarding the flat roof. The PCC accepted that the architect’s lack of consultation with his clients arose because he genuinely believed that, in the context of the application as a whole, this aspect of the design was not significant. Further, the PCC noted Mr Iredale’s explanation as to why, in his professional opinion, it was the best design solution for his clients.
In considering the sanction, the PCC acknowledged that Mr Iredale has no adverse regulatory history, he engaged with the regulatory process, expressed genuine remorse, and has taken steps to remediate his failings. It therefore concluded a reprimand to 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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