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ARB charges dropped as misconduct case overruns

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The case of a Salisbury architect accused of nine charges of serious professional incompetence and unacceptable professional misconduct ran into its third day this week, despite the fact that four of the charges against him have been dropped.

The Architect Registration Board's professional conduct committee was set to rule on whether Sean O'Mahoney is guilty or not guilty as the AJ went to press, after the case overran its initial two day time allocation.

The committee heard that O'Mahoney failed to arrange contracts properly during the course of the restoration and extension of an old terraced house in Salisbury, that he misinformed the client that planning drawings had been submitted when they had not, and that he failed to carry out cost estimates and report back to the client.The job was budgeted to cost up to £100,000 but clients Clive and Sylvia Jones claimed that the actual costs, excluding some items, came to about £171,000.

The committee also heard that the architect failed to hand over project documents at the end of the job and that structural engineering fees were not explained to the clients.

However, the ARB decided that there was no case to answer concerning the allegation that O'Mahoney failed to communicate in writing with the clients on issues arising during the project. Lack of communication had formed a main part of the Jones' complaint during the first day of the hearing. The ARB also dropped charges that O'Mahoney failed to advise the clients on issues arising from listed-business status, that he mismanaged VAT on the project and that he had made personal attacks on the client.

Prior to this week's conclusion, O'Mahoney said that he was 'unhappy' about many aspects of the case, in particular that his lawyer had to work on defending charges which were subsequently dropped. He denies the outstanding charges.

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