Mayfair practitioner admits unprofessional conduct ahead of Arb hearing

A Mayfair-based architect who threatened to sue a client following a dispute over the specification of windows for a loft conversion has been fined £1,000 after admitting unprofessional conduct.

The Architects Registration Board’s professional conduct committee issued the penalty order to Debbie Flevotomou following a complaint about her service that dated back to 2018.

According to the PCC, a planning application error led to Flevotomou securing consent for the wrong kind of windows for the project – wood rather than aluminium – a situation her client remedied by securing a variation to the planning permission from Lambeth council herself.

The PCC said email exchanges between the client and Flevotomou over the issue escalated, with the architect stating that if her client proceeded with the dispute “she would sue her for loss of business and false accusations”.

It said a further email to the client suggested Flevotomou’s lawyer was “extremely confident they would win court proceedings” before repeating the threat to sue for reputational damage.

The client’s complaint to the Arb prompted an investigation that revealed the architect had not entered into a written agreement with her client that adequately covered the terms of engagement, which is contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code.

Flevotomou accepted failing to provide adequate terms of engagement to her client; submitting an inaccurate planning application; and responding in an “inappropriate and unprofessional” way to her client – for which she subsequently apologised.

The PCC said she opted not to attend the hearing.