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Banned architect seeks ARB U-turn

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An Altrincham-based architect struck off the ARB register for unprofessional conduct is bidding to have the decision overturned at a fresh professional conduct committee next week.

Michael Cummings was erased from the register last year for 'failing to manage his financial affairs prudently' after he neglected to pay another architect £20,000 for work completed on his behalf (AJ 31.10.02). He has told the ARB that he has no plans to appeal the guilty verdict, but has instead simply asked for a reassessment of the punishment meted out at the time.

Cummings was found guilty of failing to pay £20,000 in fees to fellow architect Granville Gough after he had drawn up a series of project designs for him.

The two men had originally agreed a fee of £80 an hour.

However, Cummings refused to make the payments to his colleague and Gough took him to County Court to force him to settle up. Before proceedings could begin they agreed an outof-court settlement of £404 a month over 60 months. However, Cummings only sent one payment to Gough, who decided to pursue the case with the ARB.

At the time of the original PCC hearing, the chairman, Peter Verdin, said Cummings 'had misled Gough quite actively'.

'We regard this as a very serious case. Not only did he fail to manage his finances prudently, but behaved with a clear lack of integrity to Mr Gough. In addition to misleading Mr Gough, he failed to make more than one payment after a substantial court judgment, 'Verdin said.

The appeal will be held on 16 October.

lIn a separate case last week, Coventry-based John Rossiter was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and fined £1,500. Rossiter was convicted of billing a client for £3,500 after he drew up designs for a domestic extension without providing them with a written contract. He was also found guilty of failing to make clear the scale of the fees likely to be incurred and not providing an estimate of the costs of the project.

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