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Bramante faces ARB action

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Gabriele Bramante is in hot water with the Architects Registration Board this week after refusing to pay an architect for work he did for her on a sub-contractual basis - long after the courts told her she must shell out.

The Board has summoned the designer, who shot to fame principally for her Chessington Citizens Advice Bureau, to appear before its professional- conduct committee because she has neglected to pay Murray Denham around £1255. Surrey-based architect Denham sued her for the money through the County Court almost two years ago, but is still waiting for the cheque to arrive.

Denham first took Bramante to court over his unpaid bill in January 1998. Bramante claimed that she was refusing to pay because part of the work did not meet with her approval. Last June, she appealed to have the verdict against her overturned but again the court set aside her application and the decision in Denham's favour still stands.

Now Denham has gone a step further by involving the arb. He has complained to the board that her non-payment now amounts to a breach of the code and 'unacceptable professional conduct'.

While the arb cannot force Bramante to pay up, it could decide to inflict its maximum punishment by striking her off the register for two years.

The case was due to be heard this week at the arb's interim home for such matters whilst its offices are refurbished (see page 10), London's Faculty for Occupational Medicine near Regents Park. But Bramante successfully lodged an application for an adjournment - until 16 November. Bramante is currently working in Germany and is contesting that the case is still not yet settled by the courts.

Bramante is no stranger to controversy, having battled with the old Arcuk over using the name Bramante Architects when no principal of the practice was registered. She was initially fined £2000 plus £700 costs before the newly formed arb agreed to drop the case.

Meanwhile, another unrelated case which was set to be heard on Tuesday will also be adjourned, this time until the new year. Ingrid Mary Morris is alleged to have knowingly submitted plans to her local authority which were inaccurate in order to obtain consent and overcharge for the work. She comes before the professional conduct committee charged with unacceptable professional conduct on four counts and has already had a High Court judgment handed down against her.

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