A+ A-
Select Page

Mr Antonis Karydis



In the matter of


Held via video conference on

8-9 April 2024



Martin Winter (Chair)
Deborah Kirk (PCC Architect Member)
Martin Pike (PCC Lay Member)


The Architects Registration Board (“the ARB”) was represented by Ms Kiera Oluwunmi instructed by Kingsley Napley LLP (“the Presenter”).

Mr Antonis Karydis (“the Registered Person”) attended the hearing and was legally represented by Mr Andreas Karydes.




The Professional Conduct Committee (“the Committee”) determined that the Registered Person is guilty of Unacceptable Professional Conduct (“UPC”).  It did so, having found the following particulars of the Allegation proved:

Particular 2)

The Registered Person failed to adequately and/or appropriately respond to a complaint contrary to Standard 10.2 of the Code.

The sanction imposed by the Committee is a reprimand.


The Allegation

The Charge made against the Registered Person is that he is guilty of Unacceptable Professional Conduct (“UPC”).  The particulars in support of the Charge are:


  1. The Registered Person failed to manage his business appropriately in that he asked the client to pay and/or accepted professional fees into his personal bank account;


  1. The Registered Person failed to adequately and/or appropriately respond to a complaint contrary to Standard 10.2 of the Code.




  1. The Charge comes before the Committee further to its jurisdiction under the Architects Act 1997, sections 14(3) and 15(1)(a) to determine whether an architect is guilty of UPC; and if so, to determine whether a disciplinary order ought to be made in consequence thereof; and if so, what order should be imposed.


  1. The Registered Person is a registered architect and is Managing Director and Founder of Aware Design Ltd. The Referrer, Mr Basil Athanasiadis, contacted the Registered Person on 22 August 2022 to enquire about his services in respect of designing a single storey rear extension to his property, 28 H Road, Orpington (“the Property”). The Registered Person had been recommended to the Referrer by a family friend.


  1. The Registered Person was subsequently instructed to prepare preliminary design drawings for the renovation and extension of the existing ground floor of the Property and to produce a detailed design package which would include all drawings necessary for obtaining tenders from contractors.


  1. On 12 December 2022, the Registered Person emailed the Referrer his invoice for £1800. The Referrer paid the invoice on the same date.


  1. Correspondence passed between the Referrer and the Registered Person within which it was clear that the Referrer became unhappy with the design development. On 29 December 2022 the Referrer contacted the Registered Person to confirm that he no longer wished to instruct him for the remainder of the project. The Registered Person responded the same day with a further revised design drawing. The Registered Person disputed the criticisms that had been raised by the Referrer but accepted that the contractual relationship had come to an end.


  1. Further correspondence passed between the Registered Person and the Referrer, but by 30 December 2022 the Registered Person made it clear that he would not engage in any further communication. The Referrer sent the Registered Person further communications on 4 January and 13 January 2023 to which the Registered Person did not respond. By this stage the Referrer had concerns that the bank account into which he had paid the £1800 fee was a personal bank account of the Registered Person and not a business bank account. He raised this anomaly with the Registered Person. The Registered Person did not respond.


  1. On 3 May 2023, the Referrer made his complaint to the ARB.



Preliminary Matters


  1. There were no preliminary matters.


  1. The Registered Person, upon the Charge having been read to him, denied the factual allegations. The Registered Person’s representative made it clear that, in respect of Particular 1, the Registered Person did not dispute that he had provided an incorrect bank account to the Referrer, but disputed that this error amounted to a failure to manage his business appropriately.




  1. The Committee had regard to the evidence presented by ARB in the witness statements of the Referrer and Lily Mathews-Cook and the evidence presented by the Registered Person in his own statement. The Committee also heard oral evidence from the Referrer and the Registered Person. The Committee had regard to the documentary material presented with the Report to the Committee and documentary material produced in a defence bundle, a supplementary defence bundle and a further letter from the Registered Person’s accountant. The Presenter and counsel for the Registered Person made oral submissions on the evidence.


  1. In his oral evidence the Referrer adopted his written statement as his evidence. The Committee found his evidence to be cogent and credible. It was clear that the underlying dispute about the quality of the designs provided by the Registered Person remained an unresolved issue, but the Referrer accepted that the Committee was not the forum to resolve that matter.


  1. The Referrer stated that he had assumed the bank account into which he paid the fee was a business account and that it would be usual, in his experience, for this to be the case. His bank provided him with a warning that the details of the account were not entirely correct immediately before he approved payment. He went ahead with the payment because he felt that the Registered Person could be trusted as a close family friend had recommended him. He confirmed that he did not raise this issue with the Registered Person when it first arose but included it within his complaint later.


  1. The Referrer confirmed that he terminated the contract as he was not content with the service provided by the Registered Person. He had expected the parties to manage the situation in an attempt to negotiate a resolution. He was surprised when his indication of a termination of the contract prompted the Registered Person to refuse to make any form of refund and then to agree to the termination of the contract. He described this communication as infuriating. Eventually, the Registered Person hung up during a telephone conversation and thereafter refused to engage in any further communication at all. At that point he sought advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau helpline.


  1. In cross-examination he agreed that the complaint developed over time to include the surveyor’s fee. He agreed with the suggestion that the Registered Person’s fees were not unreasonable as, if they were, he would not have paid them. He qualified this by stating that the fees would have been reasonable if the quality of the work had been satisfactory.


  1. The Registered Person’s representative suggested that the majority of the complaints raised by the Referrer took place after the termination of the contract. The Referrer agreed with this but stated that the refund issue had not been resolved and so the matter was not closed as far as he was concerned. The Referrer agreed that had the Registered Person refunded his fees in total, he would not have pursued the complaint with ARB.


  1. The Referrer confirmed that he was contemplating taking civil proceedings but that he wished to have the result of the ARB complaint before proceeding.


  1. The Registered Person, in his oral evidence, adopted his written statement.


  1. He stated that had the issue with the bank account been raised with him at the time he would have corrected his invoice and resubmitted it to the Referrer with an apology. The matter had been corrected by his accountant so that his business records were in order.


  1. The Registered Person stated that, until the termination of the contract initiated by the Referrer, he had been revising the design plans in response to the Referrer’s brief. He felt that he had covered his contractual obligations to date and that there was nothing further to add. He stated that he felt frustrated with the Referrer’s cooperation in the design process and so he accepted the termination. However, he disagreed with the suggestion that a refund should be provided as he felt he had fully performed his obligations under the terms of the contract. He stated that the design that the Referrer later used to develop his property was, in effect, the same design that he had provided.


  1. The Registered Person confirmed that he has a 15 year long career as an architect and has never been the subject of a complaint.


  1. In cross examination, the Registered Person confirmed that he had adapted a previous template of an invoice that he had used when he was a sole trader. He changed the invoice to reflect that he was now trading as a limited company but had omitted to change the bank account details. He confirmed that he did not notice when the money entered his personal account and did not enter his business account. It was only when the Referrer drew it to his attention that he became aware of his error.


  1. The Registered Person confirmed that after the Referrer had terminated the contract that he felt he had answered the issues raised and he had nothing further to discuss. For that reason he declined to respond to further correspondence. He stated that there were telephone calls during the period when the emails were being exchanged during which he felt the Referrer had become rude and aggressive. It was due to this behaviour that he felt there was no point in continuing discussions. He did not wish to get involved in the construction phase of the project and so was happy to agree to the termination of the contract at that point.


  1. The Registered Person conceded that, with the benefit of hindsight, he should have acknowledged or responded to the further complaints, but he felt that he was not prepared to offer the refund requested so there was little point in doing so.


Findings of Fact


  1. In reaching its decision the Committee carefully considered the submissions made by both parties together with the evidence presented to it.


  1. The Committee also had regard to the advice of the Legally Qualified Chair that, in respect of disputed issues of fact, the onus of proof was on ARB and that the standard of proof was the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. In determining the facts, the Committee considered the evidence in the round and noted that it was entitled to draw reasonable inferences from established facts, but that it was not to speculate.


Particular 1: Found Proved


  1. The Registered Person admitted that the payment from the Referrer had been made into his personal account by mistake and that it should have been sent to the business bank account of Aware Design Limited. The Registered Person further accepted that it was his error in drafting the invoice that caused this. He had failed to enter the correct bank account number into the invoice. He also admitted that he had not realised that the error had been made until it was pointed out to him by the Referrer.


  1. The Committee considered that he ought to have taken greater care in the drafting of the invoice especially as he knew that he was adapting an older version of an invoice that he had previously used when acting as a sole trader. He also ought to have identified the error when the payment did not enter his business account balance but instead entered his personal account. These facts taken together satisfy the Committee, on the balance of probabilities, that in respect of this particular transaction, the Registered Person failed to manage his business appropriately.


Particular 2: Found Proved


  1. In considering this allegation the Committee carefully considered the chronology of correspondence between the Referrer and the Registered Person. The Committee considered that the assertion advanced by the Registered Person that he was not required to respond to complaints after the termination of the contract was incorrect. The Architect’s Code (“the Code”) is not limited in its application to only the periods of time when an Architect is in a contractual relationship with a client. The Code lays down the standards of professional conduct expected of persons registered as Architects. It covers the entirety of an Architect’s professional conduct and extends to an Architect’s private life where the conduct may affect fitness to practise or impacts upon public confidence in the profession.


  1. The Committee was satisfied that the initial complaint begins within the email dated 27 December 2022 and timed at 19:15. This email sets out observations from the Referrer in relation to design drawings entitled “Option 1” and “Option 2”. This email is followed on 29 December 2022 at 20:31 wherein the criticisms of the aforementioned design options have escalated such that the Referrer informs the Registered Person that he has decided “…it would be best for both of us not to carry on with this project while it is still early” and the Referrer requests a full refund of the fees paid.


  1. The Registered Person responds to the criticisms by email the same day timed at 20:46. Within that response the Registered Person explains that he disagrees with the Referrer’s criticisms and explains that the design process “needs to evolve” and that he had offered options to develop the brief. The Registered Person attached a further amended design. However, at that stage the Registered Person agreed with the Referrer that their contractual relationship should come to an end.


  1. The Committee is satisfied that the Registered Person had dealt with the complaint entirely appropriately at this point. He had responded in a timely fashion and had dealt with the substance of the complaint, which, at that point was a disagreement over the quality of the design options.


  1. There was an 8 minute 10 second telephone call between the Referrer and the Registered Person at 21:04 that same evening, 29 December 2022. This was followed by an email timed at 22:32 that evening in which the Registered Person states that he will not engage in any further correspondence or communication with the Referrer in respect of the dispute.


  1. The Referrer responded by email dated 29 December 2022 timed at 22:46. The earlier request to terminate the contract appeared to have been partly rescinded in light of the new design option that had been sent by the Registered Person. No new complaints are made within this email. The Registered Person did not respond.


  1. The Referrer sends a further e-mail dated 30 December 2022 timed at 00:15. The Committee finds that this email does not set out any new areas of complaint, but adds further detail to the dissatisfaction with the initial design options 1 and 2 provided by the Registered Person. The Committee is satisfied that the Registered Person had adequately dealt with that aspect of the complaint in his earlier response to the Referrer.


  1. However, the Committee finds that the email from the Referrer to the Registered Person dated 4 January 2023 added new areas of complaint, namely the provision of incorrect bank account details and a complaint concerning the expense of a survey earlier in the project. The Committee is satisfied that these areas of complaint had not been raised by the Referrer in previous correspondence. The Registered Person did not respond to the Referrer’s email of 4 January 2023.


  1. The Referrer subsequently drafted a letter dated 13 January 2023 that was sent by email and post to the Registered Person. This letter sets out in greater detail many aspects of the complaints previously raised by the Referrer and includes a complaint that the work had been carried out by someone other than the Registered Person.


  1. The Registered Person accepted in his evidence that he ought to have acknowledged receipt of the correspondence of 4 and 13 January 2023. The Committee is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that not only should the Registered Person have acknowledged the further complaints contained in the correspondence, but he should have responded to the new issues. By failing to acknowledge and respond to these further complaints the Registered Person failed to act appropriately and failed to comply with the provisions of standard 10.2 of the Code.


Decision on Unacceptable Professional Conduct (UPC)


  1. Having found Particulars 1 and 2 of the allegation proved, the Committee went on to consider whether the Registered Person’s conduct amounted to UPC.


  1. The Committee heard submissions from ARB and from counsel for the Registered Person and accepted the advice of the Legally Qualified Chair.


  1. The Committee reminded itself that a finding of UPC is a matter for its own independent judgment having regard to any facts found proved. There is no burden or standard of proof.


  1. The Committee noted that UPC is defined in section 14(1)(a) of the Architects Act 1997 as conduct which falls short of the standard required of an Architect.


  1. The Committee further noted that Misconduct, which is akin to UPC, was defined in the case of Roylance v GMC [2000] 1 AC 311 as: “a word of general effect, involving some act or omission which falls short of what would be proper in the circumstances. The standard of propriety may often be found by reference to the rules and standards ordinarily required to be followed by a medical practitioner in the particular circumstances”.


  1. In the Registered Person’s case, the allegation relates to matters that occurred in 2022 and 2023. Therefore, the standards required to be followed by the Registered Person are contained in The Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2017.


  1. The Committee recognised that not every shortcoming on the part of an architect, nor failure to comply with the provisions of the Code, will necessarily result in a finding of UPC. However, a failure to follow the guidance of the Code, whether in one’s professional or private life, is a factor that will be taken into account should it be necessary to examine the conduct or competence of an architect.


  1. The Committee had regard to the case of Spencer v General Osteopathic Council [2012] EWHC 3147 (Admin) and noted that for a finding of UPC to be made, “a degree of moral blameworthiness on the part of the registrant likely to convey a degree of opprobrium to the ordinary intelligent citizen” is required.


  1. The Committee also recognised that any failing must be serious. Vranicki v Architects Registration Board [2007] EWHC 506 (Admin).


  1. In the Committee’s view, the Registered Person’s actions as set out in the finding of fact in relation to Particular 1 did not breach standard 4.1 or standard 9.1 of the Code. The error caused by the Registered Person was an isolated event and not indicative of a systemic or management failing. The error was resolved quickly with minimal risk of harm to the Referrer and caused no actual loss.


  1. Standard 4.1 specifically refers to effective systems being in place to ensure a practice is run professionally. Standard 9.1 requires the Registered Person to ensure that his professional finances are managed responsibly. The Committee did not find sufficient evidence to suggest that the Registered Person did not have effective systems in place or that the overarching management of his finances was not carried out responsibly. The Registered Person made a single, simple error that he rectified quickly and, in the view of the Committee, this failing could not be described as serious.


  1. Consequently, the Committee does not find Unacceptable Professional Conduct in relation to Particular 1 of the allegation.


  1. The Committee has found that Standard 10.2 has been breached by the Registered Person. The question for the Committee was whether this failing was so serious as to amount to Unacceptable Professional Conduct. The Committee accepted the submissions made on behalf of the Registered Person that the Referrer’s initial complaint had been dealt with adequately and that the further areas of complaint raised on 4 and 13 January 2023 were collateral to the main complaint of the Referrer.


  1. However, the Committee is satisfied that the obligations upon the Registered Person set out in Standard 10.2 have universal application. All complaints require acknowledgement and an adequate response. Any failure to uphold this Standard risks undermining the integrity of the regulatory framework of ARB and the reputation of the profession. As such, the Committee is satisfied that the failing in respect of Particular 2 is serious and amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.


Decision on Sanction


  1. Having found the Registered Person’s actions amounted to UPC the Committee then went on to consider what, if any, sanction to impose in this case. The Committee heard submissions on behalf of ARB and the Registered Person.


  1. The Committee accepted the guidance of the legally qualified chair and considered the following case law; Fuglers & Others v Solicitors Regulation Authority [2014] EWHC 179, Rashid and the General Medical Council [2006] EWHC 886 (Admin).


  1. The Committee took careful note of the ARB sanctions guidance 2022. The Committee first assessed the seriousness of the finding of UPC with reference to the facts found proved during the hearing and by considering the competing aggravating and mitigating factors.


  1. The Committee considered that there were no aggravating factors that applied in this case.


  1. The Committee considered the following mitigating factors applied in this case.


i. The conduct represented an isolated failing of brief duration in an otherwise unblemished career.

ii. The Registered Person has demonstrated some insight into his failings and this insight was developing.

iii. Some admissions as to the facts were made early in the disciplinary procedure.

iv. The Registered Person has taken remedial action to prevent a reoccurrence through the development of his terms of engagement.


  1. Taking all these factors into account and assessing them against the allegation found proved, the Committee assesses that the seriousness of this matter is at a low level.


  1. The Committee considered that imposing no sanction would not be appropriate and would fail to adequately mark the seriousness of the failings. Although the Committee has assessed the seriousness as being at a low level, it is not so low as to justify the imposition of no sanction. No exceptional circumstances exist to suggest that this would be an appropriate disposal. The Committee therefore considered each available sanction in order from the least to the most serious.


  1. A Reprimand may be imposed in relation to offences which fall at the lower end of the scale of seriousness. This matter is at the lower end of the scale. The Committee is satisfied that the Registered Person does not pose a risk to the public and that the conduct is highly unlikely to be repeated. The conduct of the Registered Person had some impact upon the Referrer, but that impact could not be described as serious. By refusing to acknowledge or respond to the Referrer’s complaints in January 2023 the Registered Person caused additional frustration and annoyance, but there is insufficient evidence that this had a serious impact on the Referrer.


  1. Furthermore, the Committee is satisfied that the Registered Person has taken some corrective steps, has a good disciplinary history and the conduct was an isolated incident. All these factors taken together satisfy the Committee that the appropriate and proportionate sanction to impose is a Reprimand.


  1. In accordance with the guidance provided to the Committee, the next sanction in order, a penalty order, was also considered to test the correctness of the Committee’s finding. A penalty order was assessed as being too harsh a sanction in the circumstances and considering the seriousness of this case.


  1. The decision of the Committee is to impose a Reprimand.