On 1 August 2005 our architect was sent to prison for defrauding an old lady out of £65,000. At that point we discovered that we had built a house to roof level without a building warrant.
Since then we've discovered many other problems and spent £250,000 putting right his mistakes, obtaining the necessary approvals and covering the builder for the delay. The house we were told would cost £750,000 has actually cost £1.25 million.
Redress? Well, he was approved and licensed by the Architects Registration Board (protecting the reputation of architects and protecting the public) - their action? 'We've erased his membership, he can no longer practice as an architect, end of story.' That doesn't help me!
He was a member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. 'He did not renew his membership in January so unfortunately we can't help you.' That doesn't help me!
He had insurance, it was a condition of approval by the ARB and membership of the RIAS. 'Unfortunately, we have decided to withdraw his cover and are unable to help you, you will have to pursue your claim personally.' That doesn't help me!
So what did all these regulatory requirements achieve?
From the client's point of view, nothing. I imagine architects spend quite a bit of time each year ensuring that they comply with regulations, fulfil the continuing education requirements, carry the right insurance and generally do the right thing. All in aid of what? Why bother? It avails your clients absolutely nothing.
Christopher Shaw, South Ayrshire