Architect receives £2,500 fine for backdating ‘architects certificate’

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Architect, Gerald William Adair Binmore has been fined £2,500 for failing to provide an accurate ‘architects certificate’

The ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued Gerald William Adair Binmore with a penalty order of £2,500.

In January 2017, Binmore was asked by his client to provide an ‘architects certificate’ and appropriate plan stating when works were completed on a number of buildings at the client’s property.

Binmore prepared and signed six Practical Completion Certificates that certified works as practically complete on a number of dates in 2014 and 2015.

However, an application made by the client to the Local Authority for a Certificate of Lawfulness brought the accuracy of the dates on the certificates into question.

ARB investigation & hearing

Following an investigation by the Local Authority, the head of planning submitted a complaint to ARB in June 2019 on the basis that the date on the Practical Completion Certificate, submitted as part of the client’s application, was wrong.

It was subsequently alleged by ARB that Binmore dishonestly backdated the issue dates on the certificates.

Binmore did not attend the hearing except to address the PCC on sanction.

In his submissions, he stated that he had been open and transparent with the Local Authority and ARB that his actions were wrong, and that he had immediately taken steps to put matters right by advising the client to withdraw the planning application. It was never his intention to mislead anyone, and he relied on the information given to him by his client.

The PCC found all of the allegations proved and considered that Binmore’s actions in signing the certificate were dishonest and lacked integrity. These were serious failings which adversely impacted his reputation and that of the profession.

In considering its sanction, the PCC acknowledged that Binmore took steps to mitigate the effects of his isolated error, engaged in the investigation process and had expressed genuine regret and remorse for his conduct.

However, the PCC highlighted the impact his actions had on the integrity of professional certificates and that they led to the Local Authority undertaking an investigation.

In the light of the mitigating factors and Binmore’s transparency about what had happened, it concluded that a penalty order at the maximum permitted amount of £2,500 would be the appropriate sanction.

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