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ARB fines architect for poor planning advice and delays

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  • 1 Comment

A London architect has been fined £2,000 by the ARB after failing to warn a client when they needed planning consent, delaying a project for more than two years

Toyin Oduse, founder of Abbey Wood-based SE2 Creatives, took on a fixed-price contract as its builder to extend a client’s family home based on another architect’s already consented design in January 2017. The job had only been expected to take four months.

But Oduse later accepted extra cash in return for building his client a bigger extension – even though this did not have planning permission.

A neighbour complained to the local council, and a planning investigation officer later warned the owner of the house that planning consent was required for the additional 1m.

Oduse told the ARB it was not his responsibility to provide the client with planning advice, as he had been hired as a building contractor.

However, the ARB’s professional conduct committee noted that, by Oduse’s own admission, the client hired a regulated architect to avoid working with a ‘cowboy’. 

Oduse was also found to have caused undue delay to his client’s project. In April 2017 he submitted an application for the larger extension for his client after warnings from the council, but this was refused permission both by the local authority and at appeal. 

Another planning application, drawn up by the architect behind the original extension design, was subsequently submitted and given consent in December 2018.

Oduse was then asked to return to site and finish the building work, but by September 2019 construction had still not been completed.

The ARB found Oduse guilty of unacceptable professional conduct for having failed to warn his client about the need for planning permission and for causing undue delay to the project.

The Professional Conduct Committee noted Oduse had ‘had little or no insight until he had read the decision’ but ‘apologised and stated he had learned a lot from the hearing’ once the decision was made.

Oduse was contacted for comment.

Read the full judgement here.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Using the Civil Standard of Proof that something is more likely than not to have occurred, ARB might have taken a little closer look at the Complainant's actions;
    - why did he employ an Italian architect who employed part-time Romanian workers as a builder,
    - why did C not employ an architect to prepare detail designs and to look after the building works in the traditional procurement model,
    - why did C who procured sited for developers, and who had been through the planning process on this extension suddenly jump up and ask for a larger extension without realising planning would be needed?

    Again a fine set of minds in judgement, none of whom have ever been involved in small projects like this which are often more pain than they are worth.

    One should note that however cheaply a client wants work doing, he will have money for lawyers if anything goes wrong, and will have a 33 page bundle of evidence.

    One should also note that one's actions in any sphere of life may now be judged against the ARB Code of Conduct.

    The judgement reads like notes taken from several Zoom meetings, which is in fact what happened.

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