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ARB fines architect over eco-house threatened with demolition

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ARB has fined an architect from Gloucester £1,500 for his role in building a timber-framed eco-house which was threatened with demolition 

Gordon Simpson of Art Hand, Gloucester, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the board after acting as both architect and contractor on the £200,000 project.

The ARB’s professional conduct committee (PCC) heard that the home had been built higher than the originally approved plans (drawn up by another architect) and, according to the planning inspector, its size and position ‘represented an unacceptable overbearing impact, causing a detrimental impact on the amenities enjoyed by neighbouring residents’.

It was alleged that Simpson had: failed to ensure the build was carried out in accordance with planning permission; failed to pay subcontractors; failed to manage a conflict of interest in that he was acting as both architect and contractor – he was a director of Dwell Green; and failed to deal with a dispute about his professional work in an appropriate manner.

It was heard that Simpson’s ‘failings resulted in an enforcement notice being served on the complainant resulting in them being liable to demolish their property’.

On consideration of the evidence, the ARB’s professional conduct committee found that Simpson was not guilty of unprofessional conduct with regards to the alleged failure to pay subcontractors. However, the remaining allegations were found proved.

When deciding the appropriate sanction, the PCC considered Simpson’s good disciplinary history, his engagement with the disciplinary process and his regret for his failings. 

The committee also noted the severe adverse consequences for the clients, who were at risk of having their property demolished.

The board said: ’Such devastating consequences for the complainant severely impact on the reputation of the profession and amount to conduct falling seriously short of that expected of an architect.’

Taking all these factors into account, the PCC concluded a penalty order of £1,500 was the appropriate sanction.

Read the full case here.

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