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'Mug up on ARB rules, ' warns cleared architect

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An architect cleared of charges of incompetence and misconduct by the ARB last week has warned that architects are risking prosecution because they are in the dark about the regulator's code of conduct. Sean O'Mahony, head of Salisbury-based practice Favonius Architects, called for greater communication of the code. He said: 'Architects are not fully briefed on the implications of the ARB's regulations. For example, one of the important issues is that we must inform clients in our confirmation of appointment letters that they can complain to the ARB. Most architects do not know that this is in the code. ' Architects can be prosecuted if they fail to comply with the code of conduct - available at www.arb.org.uk The comments came after O'Mahony was cleared of four out of five charges relating to the renovation of a virtually derelict house in Salisbury. He was accused of failing to carry out adequate investigations as costs rose on the project, but was found not guilty. On a fifth charge he was found guilty, but given no punishment.

The ARB has been criticised in the past for its handling of Professional Conduct Committee cases, but O'Mahony stressed that he was satisfied with the proceedings. 'I felt that the board hearing was fair and I think they treated it with the seriousness it required, ' he said.

Insurers are meeting O'Mahony's legal costs.

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