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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.

Mr Corey Waters of Shrewsbury was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) following a hearing of ARB’s independent Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) held on 3 and 4 December 2020.

ARB was informed by Mr Waters’ previous employer that he had been undertaking private work outside of his employment and without professional indemnity insurance (PII) in place. Mr Waters accepted that he did carry out the work without appropriate insurance cover, but denied that his actions were dishonest.

The PCC found that Mr Waters had practised without PII, but accepted that this was a genuine oversight, having carefully considered the context and history of Mr Waters private client work, both prior to and following his registration as an architect. As a result, the PCC determined that while his actions lacked integrity, they were not dishonest. In reaching a finding of UPC, the PCC concluded that the failure to hold PII was serious and would have left his clients exposed to potentially significant financial costs had issues arisen with the architectural work.

When considering sanction, the PCC took into account Mr Waters’ genuine, but misguided, belief that the low-risk nature of the work undertaken did not require insurance cover, his genuine insight and remorse and the fact that he now had appropriate cover in place. In the circumstances a reprimand was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

A copy of the decision can be found here.

—ENDS—

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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.

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

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