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Two architects handed ARB fines

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An architect from West Sussex and another from West Yorkshire have been fined after being found guilty of misdemeanours by the ARB professional conduct committee

Peter Leslie Buxton of Steyning, West Sussex was issued with a £3,000 penalty order for unacceptable professional conduct and serious professional incompetence.

Buxton was the subject of five separate allegations relating to the construction of a new timber frame low energy home. Buxton, through his practice Mezzo Design, was appointed as architect and contract administrator for the project.

The committee heard it was alleged that when the clients appointed Buxton, he failed to disclose that he was also the co-director of another company with the appointed contractor.

It was further claimed that Buxton, when finding that his involvement with the contractor conflicted with that of his client, had failed to withdraw from the situation or obtain his clients’ agreement to continue.

He also faced the allegation that he had failed to perform his work with due skill, care and diligence by failing to suggest an appropriate contract for the type of work being carried out.

Buxton faced two final allegations that he had failed to deal with a dispute appropriately, and had made statements about his client which were unprofessional and offensive.

After considering the evidence and the submissions made by Buxton in his absence, the committee found all five of the allegations proved, and that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and serious professional incompetence.

Meanwhile, Raymond Oetgen of OCP Architects in Ilkley, West Yorkshire was fined £1,500 after being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The complaint was made by a client who had appointed Oetgen to act as contract administrator for work to be carried out.

For the job Oetgen had suggested a contractor and a minor works contract be entered into. However, it later transpired that the building company recommended by the architect was owned by the father of his business partner. The complainant alleged this had not been disclosed prior to the work agreement.

Problems then arose with the contract administration, resulting in the client writing to Oetgen to complain. Following this, the complainant contacted the architect to request the professional consultant certificate in respect of the works that had been carried out.

The committee felt that the architect’s letter in response, in which he threatened to withhold the final certificate, was an inappropriate way to deal with a complaint.

The committee was also satisfied that the relationship between Oetgen and the building contractor was one which should have been disclosed in writing, and noted that Oetgen had provided no evidence of any such disclosure.

 

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