ARB banishes Edinburgh architect from register

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Robert Lukas of HLP Architects in Edinburgh has been erased from the Architects Register following a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 25-28 February 2020

The hearing found Robert Lukas guilty of serious professional incompetence (SPI) and unacceptable professional conduct (UPC). Lukas attended the hearing and chose not to be legally represented.

Allegations

The allegations made against Robert Lukas related to his competence, integrity, impartiality and independence. It was alleged that Lukas carried out a flawed tender process, provided and used an inappropriate contract for building work, and failed to administer a building contract competently, failing to identify major issues with the work carried out.

Additional allegations were that he oversaw and witnessed a regime of cash payments to the contractor despite his client raising concerns over this method of payment and the lack of progress of work on site.

It was also alleged he had failed to act impartially and independently in response to his client’s concerns regarding the contractor’s workmanship.

PCC observations

The PCC found all the facts and allegations proven. It noted Lukas’ behaviour deceived his client into thinking the approach was normal, when it was in fact unacceptable, and had led to a long-lasting emotional and financial impact on the client.

When determining the sanction, the PCC observed that Lukas had no previous findings against him over a long career, had demonstrated a degree of empathy with his client and had engaged fully with the regulatory process. It also noted there was no evidence he had derived any financial benefit beyond his modest fee.

The PCC also considered the combination of competence and conduct issues to be wide-ranging and significant, the lack of integrity being particularly serious. Additionally, it considered Lukas had little insight into his failings.

Given this, the PCC determined the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession required Lukas’ name to be erased from the Architects Register, rendering him unable to practise as an architect in the UK.

Erasure from the Register is permanent unless a successful application for re-entry is made to ARB after a minimum of two years. In this case, the PCC, remarking upon the difficulty of remediating such failings, recommended no such application from Lukas be considered for at least three years.

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