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ARB investigating Grenfell inquiry expert witness over claims to be an architect

John priestley web

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has said it is ‘taking appropriate’ action against a newly appointed expert on the Grenfell inquiry who claimed to be an architect even though he had not been on the register since 2010 

Earlier this week John Priestley of John Priestley Associates was tasked with producing a report on the ‘architectural design’ of the tower’s controversial refurbishment and to carry out a detailed examination of the building works undertaken between 2014 and 2016.

But his appointment has already become embroiled in controversy.

Despite numerous references to ‘architects’ on his website, including the statement ’John Priestley is a UK registered and Chartered Architect’, it has emerged that he has not been on the ARB register for the last eight years. 

The ARB told the AJ it had acted ‘in response to concerns raised with us regarding potential misuse of the title “architect’’’.

The webpage has since been taken down. 

An ARB spokesperson said: ‘Based on the information available at this time, we have reason to believe the individual in question is Andrew John Priestley who first came on to the Architects Register in 1987, but has not been registered since 2010. We will be taking appropriate action in response to this matter.’

Priestley has been asked for comment.

A spokesperson for the Grenfell Inquiry said: ‘The inquiry is making urgent enquiries to review the position.’

A response from the RIBA: how can someone be an RIBA chartered member and not registered with the ARB?

All our chartered members who been elected to membership in the UK have qualified as architects, having undertaken courses of study and passed examinations that have been prescribed or recognised by council, which are also recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Chartered members in the UK must not practise or carry out business in the UK under any name, style or title containing the word ‘architect’ or use the affix ‘RIBA’ unless they are registered with the ARB.

A good example would be an academic who no longer practises as an architect but is still qualified should they want to.

John priestley web page

John priestley web page


Readers' comments (6)

  • John Kellett

    "Chartered members in the UK must not practise or carry out business in the UK under any name, style or title containing the word ‘architect’ or use the affix ‘RIBA’ unless they are registered with the ARB."
    So John Priestley is NOT an architect or a Chartered Architect then :-) How the hell is he permitted to break the law?
    Can we all stop paying ARB the annual fee and get away with it, just as non architects calling themselves architects illegally across the Country do already? Get a grip, ARB and RIBA, prosecute.

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  • We do not need someone who lies about their profession and qualifications giving evidence to the Genfell enquiry.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Incidental to this-
    I think each Architect paid ARB £107:00 to be included on this year's register.The ARB is expected to maintain this record and presumably check everyone who is either claiming to be an Architect or check who is still practicing; then pursue forgetfuls, laggards and cowboys alike from their funds.
    With Offices to fund in central London, your £107:00 isn't going to go very far.

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  • Incidental to all the ARBy bargies - how was Mr Priestly appointed as architectural expert to the enquiry? What process hunted,searched and chose him? Was the RIBA really not consulted?

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  • It's clear the whole profession of architecture and all its 'architects' is little more than a sham anyway. In Europe you graduate and you are an 'architect'. In Britain they, as with the case with Studio E, are the pawns of contractors. So, who really cares about this allegedly regal title of 'architect'. It means nothing now, and hasn't meant anything for decades, other than as so sort of justification for exploiting interns and billing out clients tenfold the work executed.

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  • Frances Maria

    As Mr. Priestly is a Chartered member of RIBA, but not registered with the ARB, Chartered architectural professional would perhaps have been a more fitting description for him. Such a description can also include Chartered Architectural Technologists like myself who are also not permitted to call themselves architects.

    The Inquiry selects its experts based on their specialist skills and experience, and Mr. Priestly has a specialism in construction details and defects, which sets him apart from many others. He was therefore considered to have the most appropriate skills for the role, which is why he was selected. Clearly it will now be for the Inquiry to establish why he claimed to be ARB registered when his registration had in fact lapsed. Although his reasons can only be speculated, one would have thought that he would have realised that this issue would emerge if he was appointed to such an important role dealing with a major national issue

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