A former architect, struck off by the ARB three years ago, has been ordered to pay £4,030 by Reading Magistrates’ Court for illegally using the title ‘architect’
Andrew Plumridge, a senior partner at historic buildings experts Peter Scott & Partners, Berkshire, was erased from the register in 2013 after being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (see Struck off architect to sue ARB) .
Last week a judge ruled that Plumridge had illegally continued to practice under the ’name, style or title of architect’ contrary to section 20 of the Architects Act 1997 - a criminal offence - and was convicted on five separate counts. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay a further £2,530 in costs and surcharges.
The charges related to Plumridge’s use of the title ‘architect’ in planning applications; in an advert with Yell.com; by using the acronym RIBA after his name, and through the use of his website and email address.
The defendant denied all of the charges and, according to an ARB report of the proceedings, maintained he was not carrying on business, that he had no control over the Yell.com advert, ’that he was entitled to continue to use the acronym RIBA as he was still a member’ and ;that while he had instructed his website’s hosting company to remove the website, that company had failed to do so’.
However in convicting Plumridge on all five charges, the judge found that the defendant had ’quite clearly been carrying on a business, and so the use of the word architect in his website and email address was illegal, as was his use of the acronym RIBA’.
The court held that his advertising in Yell as an architect was ’a deliberate act and not a mistake on the part of the directory, and his explanation in relation to the website hosting company lacked any credibility’.
Overall, the judge concluded Plumridge’s actions had been a ’deliberate attempt [to] circumvent legislation with which he did not agree’.
The AJ has contacted Plumridge for a response.
Previous story (AJ 30.07.13)
Struck off architect launches judicial review against ARB
An architect who was struck off by the ARB in April has begun judicial review proceedings against the decision
Andrew Plumridge, who was found guilty in his absence of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ in a dispute resulting from minor building works to house in Sunningdale, Berkshire, said the ARB and the board’s professional complaints committee (PCC) had both been named as co-defendants in the action.
The architect from Newbury was erased from the ARB register for a ‘malicious and discreditable attempt to impugn [a client’s] reputation, intimidate the complainant from pursuing [ARB] proceedings […] and demonstrating a severe lack of integrity and professionalism’.
In addition, the committee decided that Plumridge had breached the Architect’s Code of Conduct in failing to disclose ‘a close personal relationship’ with the builder on the project, creating a potential conflict of interest to his client.
However Plumridge has always maintained that he was not given the opportunity to defend himself and that the action had been ‘wholly biased and unjust manner’ in which it was conducted.
He said: ‘My late father installed in me a hatred of injustice and a need to stand up to bullies. This is why I am not afraid to defend myself against the allegation made and have evidence to prove that I acted correctly and professionally.
‘Had ARB and the PCC bothered to look at evidence, this ridiculous and time-wasting situation could have been avoided.’
He added: ‘Instead, they blindly accept the word of irritated clients and their trivial grievances, and who prefer to hide behind the free service encouraged by ARB [rather than] testing their allegations in the courts. This has to be wrong.’