Middlesex-based Market Design & Build has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and costs - a record penalty - after being found guilty of misusing the title architect
Uxbridge Magistrates Court found the company had breached the 1997 Architects Act after referring to itself as architects and used the ARB’s logo on correspondence, despite not employing any architects.
Despite numerous warnings from the board, the company continued to refer to itself as architects on its correspondence, website, and advertising – including signage on company vehicles.
The court decided these were serious breaches and added that ‘offences like these impinge on architects who spend a minimum of seven years training and are subject to registration fees; when companies avoid such costs, they gain a big financial advantage’.
Market Design & Build entered guilty pleas to all five offences and the court imposed a fine of £1,667 on each of the five charges – a total of £8,335. In addition, the practice was ordered to pay a further £2,300 to ARB in legal costs.
In the same week another misuse of title case went to court in Wimbledon, south London.
Youno Kim, who was trading as Extension Architects, was slapped with a £1,000 fine and ordered to pay £1,000 in legal costs for using protected title.
Kim had described himself as a RIBA chartered architect on his website despite not being an architect.
A spokesperson from ARB’s professional standards department, said: ‘Only registered architects are legally allowed to use the title ‘architect’ in business or practice. The ARB takes seriously its duty to represent the interests of users of architects’ services. These prosecutions demonstrate the serious consequences for anyone that persists in misleading the public.’