No-show hearing sees Professional Conduct Committee remove practitioner from register

A Hertfordshire-based architect has been struck off the professional register after failing to pay a £500 penalty imposed for unprofessional conduct.

The Architects Registration Board said Reymond Smale, who had previously practiced under the name of AART Architects, was hit with the penalty in December last year following a dispute over unpaid fees of £4,378.

Smale’s clients had declined to pay his invoice because they argued his work differed from the original design brief for work to their property, and the relationship subsequently deteriorated.

As part of that dispute, it emerged that Smale had breached the Architects Code by not entering into a written agreement with his clients before undertaking professional work, and by failing to have a written procedure for complaint-handling.

Because Smale failed to attend both the original December hearing and a reconvened panel session in June, and had not paid the penalty, the Arb’s Professional Conduct Committee said stronger measures were needed to protect the public.

Announcing its decision, it said: “In light of the potential damage to the reputation of the board, the profession and the PCC in the eyes of the public were its sanctions not enforced, the committee concluded that erasure was the appropriate sanction.

“It is satisfied that a lesser sanction would undermine confidence in the profession and the Arb as its regulator.”

According to the Arb’s annual report for 2016, published at the end of last month, just two architects were struck off the register during the whole off the year.