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A Lancashire sole-practitioner was fined £2,000 by the ARB's professional conduct committee last week for drawing up an architect's certificate before all work had been completed.

Anthony Moreton-Deakin was found guilty of serious professional incompetence as a result.He was also found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct for a delay in replying to letters of complaint from his clients and for failing to provide any written information to the client concerning the scope of the service terms and conditions.

Moreton-Deakin faced four charges relating to work on a house in Halifax, for clients Mr and Mrs Hartley, during 1999 and 2000.He was cleared of the fourth charge, that he 'failed to carry out his work with due skill, care and diligence'.

Chairman of the professional conduct committee, Michael Churchouse, said he would not impose a suspension, but fined Moreton-Deakin £1,000 for prematurely issuing the certificate and £500 each for the other two charges - a total of £2,000.

Churchouse, passing his judgement, stressed the importance of keeping records, because 'if trouble develops in the future - and trouble could arise with insurers or with builders or with building societies - here are you with no records to prove anything.'

He urged the defendant to deal promptly with complaints in the future.

'A complaint dealt with promptly fizzles out.A complaint which is ignored, I am afraid, does not and results in your appearing here today.'

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