Architect fined £2.5k for unacceptable professional conduct

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At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee on 16 November, Pol Gallagher of ZAP Architecture was issued with a penalty order following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC)

The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) heard that Pol Gallagher had been instructed to complete the renovation and redevelopment of a prestigious grade II listed property in central London.

At the hearing Pol Gallagher denied a number of allegations including that he failed to carry out work without undue delay, failed to return documents and/or property to which the client was entitled, failed to adequately engage in the handover process, failed to make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in his absence and failed to produce work with due skill, care and attention.

Gallagher denied these allegations but admitted that he had failed to deal with a complaint appropriately and failed to cooperate with his regulator. He also admitted that these amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

The Professional Conduct Committee heard from the client that there were delays with the planning department, meetings arranged but then not attended by the architect.

Following this there were then subsequent delays when Gallagher regularly failed to keep in contact with his client, this lack of communication lead to several aspects of the project being unsatisfactory in the opinion of the client who eventually made a complaint to both the architect and then to the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

In coming to its decision on the disputed allegations the Committee found Pol Gallagher’s evidence at times lacked credibility and was inconsistent with other evidence and the contemporaneous documents presented during the hearing. It found Gallagher guilty of all particulars of the allegation except one: failing to produce work with due skill, care and attention. The Committee found that the matters proved amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

In considering sanction the PCC took into account Gallagher’s previous good record, his personal circumstances at the time of the events, his reflection and steps taken to remedy his failings.

It also saw a number of positive testimonials. The Committee considered the risk of repetition to be reduced as a result. It balanced these factors against the seriousness of the allegation, Gallagher’s failure to take full responsibility for his actions and his late engagement. It decided that a penalty order of £2,500 was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here.

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