You published extracts from the current Architects Code of the ARB in your issue of 19 October; this was valuable but how many architects read it? In fact, how many architects have read and understood the code when it was sent to them? I am certain that most architects have only the haziest notion of its implications and of the powers that the ARB has at its disposal should the code be transgressed.
It is vital that architects should make themselves intimately aware of the strictures in the code to minimise their risk.How many architects carry out work with no written terms of agreement? One was recently fined a substantial sum by the ARB for not having a written agreement. How many architects formally inform their clients that they are subject to the disciplinary sanction of ARB, as required by the revised code? At a meeting on this subject held by RIBA Wessex last week, none of the architects present were aware of this latter requirement of the code and their realisation resulted in dismay and indignation.
No architect has yet been charged by the ARB with not informing a client of the disciplinary sanction. It is early days yet for the revised code, but if an architect finds himself in that position it is not a matter that he can argue; either this clause is in his agreement or it is not. If found guilty it would not be unreasonable to expect the ARB to apply a severe disciplinary order.
There is much more that architects should be fully aware of and I suggest that the subject needs wider airing and full discussion.
Sean O'Mahony, Favonius & Co, Salisbury