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ARB fines two London architects for professional misconduct

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Two London architects have been fined by the Architects Registration Board’s professional conduct committee

Pol Gallagher of ZAP Architecture in Stratford, east London, was issued with a penalty order of £2,500 while Thomas Smith, of Gluckman Smith, based to the west of the capital, was told to pay £1,250. Both were found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Gallagher denied a number of allegations relating to a renovation and redevelopment of a Grade II-listed property in central London.

But he admitted he had failed to deal with a complaint appropriately and failed to co-operate with his regulator.

Following a hearing last month, the committee also found him guilty of failing to carry out work without undue delay; failing to return documents and/or property to which the client was entitled; failing to adequately engage in the handover process; and failing to make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in his absence.

The committee heard that Gallagher was unable to attend a meeting with the complainant, known as Dr C, in March 2016 because of a family emergency, but did not let the client know he was not attending until some hours after he was due to arrive.

When Gallagher was again unable to attend a meeting almost exactly a year later, he arranged for another architect, known as JH, to attend the meeting on his behalf, and sent a member of staff to assist.

Gallagher claimed to have asked JH for further help on the project as he would not be returning to it for some weeks. But JH said that following the meeting, it was not until a planning solicitor contacted him that he became aware that he was required to do anything else on the job.

Dr C requested the return of the keys to the property in an email terminating Gallagher’s retainer dated 25 April 2017. His evidence 18 months later was that the keys had still not been returned.

In the other case, Thomas Smith accepted several failings relating to the conversion and change of use of a house to a nursery school.

He accepted that during the course of the project he had failed to adequately prepare tender documentation and/or carry out a competitive tender process; failed to adequately communicate with his client regarding costs; and failed to deal with a complaint adequately and/or promptly.

Smith waived his right to have the case heard at a public hearing. The committee decided that a penalty order of £1,250 was the appropriate sanction.

Gallagher and Smith have both been contacted for comment.

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