Christopher Shaw wrote to you about being unable to recover losses suffered at the hands of his former architect, who he discovered had been convicted of fraud and was thus erased from the ARB register (AJ 16.11.06). No useful purpose would have been achieved by pursuing other charges.
I have every sympathy with Mr Shaw's frustration and disappointment that the ARB has been unable to help him to provide redress for financial loss. The Architects Act, however, does not allow compensation to be awarded, .
Under the Act, the ARB's main role in respect of consumers is to set and apply standards for entry to the register and for remaining on it. These include having professional indemnity insurance for the benefit of clients. It is not clear why Mr Shaw is unable to get a judgment that could enable a claim to be made against the insurers.
The board has been reluctant to consider following other regulators (if it could do so) and require more than a statement of compliance. Being a 'light-touch' regulator means intervening only when it is necessary and proportionate. Mr Shaw's circumstances are rare, but they pose questions about whether the board could do more to protect the consumer and how it is to be enabled to do so.
Humphrey Lloyd, chairman, ARB