Architect admits failure to control and manage work of practice

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The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Toby Howell of Mitchell Evans LLP with a penalty order of £2,500 after he failed to control and manage the practice

On 4 October 2019 the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Toby Howell with a Penalty Order of £2,500 after a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) in relation to the control and management of his practice.

Serious concerns about architects are rare. On the limited occasions they do occur, as the UK regulator ARB ensures standards, and therefore trust, in the profession is maintained.

In early 2015 Toby Howell’s practice was retained to assist a client with a cottage extension. During the project the client’s main contacts at the practice were architectural technicians. The client raised concerns about incomplete works when they moved back into the property, and they first met Howell in May 2017 when he attended the property as the practice architect. The client then complained to ARB following frustrations with the completion of an extensive snagging list. 

Following an investigation, it was alleged that Toby Howell failed to ensure the architectural work of his practice was under the control and management of one or more architects as outlined in Standards 3.4 and 4.1 of the Architects Code. Howell admitted that he had failed in this regard from May to October 2017, and that this amounted to UPC.

The PCC accepted Howell’s admission relating to the control and management of work between May and October 2017 and further found that the client had not been notified of the name of the architect with management and control of the work from May 2015 to May 2017.

In considering sanction the PCC noted Howell had previously been found guilty of UPC by the PCC in November 2016 for failing to ensure an ongoing dispute was satisfactorily resolved and for making a statement which was inaccurate, misleading and dishonest.

The PCC however accepted the previous case was not identical in nature and there was no further allegation of dishonesty or a lack of integrity. It also took into account that Toby Howell had changed the management of his practice to ensure there would be no repetition of his failings.

In light of his guilty plea and evidence of remorse it concluded that a penalty order of £2,500 was the appropriate and proportionate sanction. 

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