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Hyett slams ARB in conduct case

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An architect struck off the register for two years last week has received one of the most bruising verbal attacks ever from a RIBA president after Paul Hyett said he should have been banned for life.

The Architects Registration Board found John Horsman guilty of unacceptable professional conduct after working on a Grade II-listed thatched cottage and misleading the Legal Aid Board, for which he has to repay around £40,000. Horsman lives near the cottage in Tingewick, Buckinghamshire.

He denied three conduct allegations at the ARB hearing on 16 May, but was found guilty of two of them. Paul Hyett criticised the leniency of the decision after the hearing.

Richard and Alexandra King-Evans used Horsman for a loft extension to the 'house of their dreams' in 1993. Work involved redesigning a bathroom and kitchen and other details, said Richard King-Evans. Legal fees and building work had cost him around £80,000, he added.

'The reason we used him was because he was a member of RIBA and a qualified architect.We put our faith and cash on this man and it has all gone up in smoke.' His wife said they suspended Horsman after around six weeks. Horsman then resigned and started legal action for fees of about £6,000. The King-Evanses counter-claimed but the case ended without payment on either side.

Paul Hyett said: 'This is one of the worst cases I have ever come across. It is essential to the interests of our profession that we deal effectively with this sort of incompetence, misconduct and negligence and I'm glad the ARB has taken firm steps.

'But I had hoped and expected Horsman would have been removed from the register completely as opposed to suspended. There is no place in the profession for this kind of person.'

Horsman, who is a partner at Oxford's MGB Architects, said he was 'quite shocked' by the case, was taking legal advice and considering an appeal to the High Court.He did not know whether he would continue as an architect after the suspension.

He dismissed the comments of Hyett, an expert witness for the King-Evanses, as hearsay. 'It is not an impartial view.He has been paid by King-Evans to put forward a view.' He denied he ruined the cottage after only six weeks of work.

The three allegations included giving Aylesbury Vale District Council papers and plans that misrepresented the existing structure to avoid complying with building regulations. The second involved allowing work to start without winning listed building consent. The third allegation was of misleading the LAB to obtain financial help in the case against the King-Evanses.

The ARB dismissed the charge over the documents and plans. Read the judgement and Horsman's statement in full at ajplus. co. uk

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