A Manchester-based architect has been re-instated to the architects’ register after winning a rare appeal victory against a decision by the Architects Registration Board’s professional complaints committee (PCC).
The ARB admitted there had been a blunder in the proceedings concerning one of five allegations against Faheem Aftab, who was struck off last July after being found guilty of dishonesty.
Ahead of a hearing in Manchester High Court scheduled for this week, the board conceded to having made an error in the conduct of the original investigation and will now have to restart its enquiry procedure on that allegation.
The case related to a domestic project Aftab undertook through his firm, A-Cube Architects, which is now in liquidation. According to the client there had been numerous problems with the works, including inappropriate behaviour by workmen, damage to a neighbouring property, breaches of Building Regulations, sub-standard work, incorrect specification and a general lack of progress.
Aftab admitted four allegations but always denied that he had ‘dishonestly misrepresented’ the true position of his professional indemnity insurance cover. He was found guilty by the committee, erased from the register and he subsequently appealed.
The allegation was the subject of appeal because of a technical flaw in the proceedings
A spokesman for the ARB said: ‘Following an appeal received in relation to a Professional Conduct Committee decision of July 2012 in the case of Faheem Aftab, the ARB has consented to restore Aftab’s name to the Register and refer four of the five allegations found proved back to the PCC for a reconsideration on what penalty should be imposed.
‘These four allegations were found proved at the original hearing and have not been subject of any appeal.
‘The remaining allegation was the subject of appeal because of a technical flaw in the proceedings, and will be the subject of further investigation.’
Aftab was unavailable for comment.
Long term ARB critic Ian Salisbury, who won a judicial review against the ARB in 2010 for ‘unjustifiably’ exceeding powers given to it by the Architects Act 1997 over PII monitoring, said: ‘If the ARB has dropped a charge and the case has to be reheard, then it sounds like yet another case of the executive interfering with lawful process and getting caught with their pants down.’
He added: ‘The disciplinary process is there to ensure that those who fall seriously short in their professional services are dealt with appropriately. It is not there to allow the Board to act on caprice.’