Somerset architect suspended from register for misleading conduct

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Helen Victoria Phillips of Carlisle Jessop LLP (trading as CJ Architects), has been suspended from the Architects Register for a period of 6 months after being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC)

Helen Victoria Phillips was found guilty of UPC at a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) which took place on 26-28 November 2019 and 9-11 March 2020.

Allegations related to Phillips’ actions

As the contract administrator on a project, this was a role she took on following a breakdown in the relationship with the original contractor, who Philips knew personally, and the complainant in this case.

It was alleged that her actions were misleading, dishonest and below the standard of a reasonably competent architect in that she did not manage the project’s costs and valuations competently and issued a Practical Completion Certificate when it was not appropriate to do so.

Phillips denied the allegations, stating the complainant had instructed he did not want the former contractor to be involved in the project and that issuing a Practical Completion Certificate was an appropriate way to bring an end to the works in accordance with the contract terms.

The PCC found all facts proven

It noted Phillips demonstrated limited insight into the impact of her actions on the reputation of and public confidence in the profession, and that her dishonesty related to a critical aspect of the project.

The PCC further noted that she demonstrated limited remediation and there remained a risk of her actions being repeated if she were allowed to practise unrestricted.

When determining the sanction, the PCC acknowledged Phillips had engaged in the regulatory process and accepted her actions fell below the standards expected of her. It also noted her failings were isolated in an otherwise unblemished career of approximately 20 years, she had not personally gained financially from her failings and she had expressed regret for her actions.

The PCC determined Phillips failings were so serious she should be suspended from the Architects Register for a period of 6 months in order to maintain standards and uphold confidence in the profession.

While suspended from the Register, Phillips is not permitted to use the title ‘architect’ in business or practice.

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