An architect from Surrey has been fined £2,500 by the ARB for the second time in three years – this time for failing to ensure the work of his practice was under control
Toby Howell, of Mitchell Evans Architects in Guildford, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the board after it upheld complaints about the practice’s work on a delayed cottage extension.
Work started on the project in September 2016 and was due to be completed by February 2017 but when the clients returned in April there remained an ‘extensive list of outstanding work’.
The board’s professional conduct committee heard that during the project, the clients’ main contacts at the practice were architectural technicians.
The clients only met Howell when he visited the property as the practice architect in May 2017 – and only then because a technician, one of the practice’s founders, was on holiday.
The client complained to ARB amid frustrations over incomplete works. Following an investigation, it was alleged that Howell had failed to ensure the work of his practice was under the control and management of one or more architects.
Howell, who attended the hearing, pleaded guilty to the allegations and explained he had changed the management of his practice to ensure the issue would not be repeated.
ARB considered these mitigating factors as well as the fact that Howell had previously been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in November 2016. On that occasion, he was fined £2,500 for failing to adequately inspect the works on a house extension before issuing a final certificate.
The committee, however, accepted the previous case was different and concluded that a penalty order of £2,500 was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.