ARB hands down 12-month suspension over litany of failings on Highlands new-build home

An architect has been suspended from practising for 12 months after being found guilty of six counts of unacceptable professional conduct in relation to a new-build house he was providing full architectural services for.

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The Architects Registration Board said Euan Millar, a director at Edinburgh-based Icosis Architects, had created a flawed design for the roof and walls of the north-west Highlands property that resulted in water ingress, made worse by his decision to allow the project contractor to omit lead flashings.

Reports on the low-pitched oak-shingle roof prepared for the property owners – and presented to the ARB – said the design was “bound to fail” and “inappropriate” for a building on an exposed site, subject to high winds and driving rain.

An ARB Professional Conduct Committee hearing also found Millar guilty of allowing a septic tank to be installed for the development without the necessary local authority approval – and counter to the project’s specified sewage treatment plant. It subsequently needed to be removed.

Millar’s failings also included advising his clients that it was a “waste of money” to invest in an NHBC warranty for the property, which the PCC said betrayed a lack of “the required level of skill and care”.

The project contractor became insolvent and the lack of an NHBC guarantee meant Millar’s clients had to pay for remedial work to the fix the problems with the property, in addition to the “significant costs” of removing the unauthorised and unspecified septic tank.

The hearing also found Millar guilty of having over-certified the works, despite being aware of ongoing problems with the design.

In announcing his suspension the PCC said the architect’s failings had been “reckless, multiple, significant and serious” but noted that Millar had demonstrated some insight into his errors.

“The matters found proved are serious, wide ranging and had a substantial impact on the client,” members said.

“The respondent’s conduct diminishes both his reputation, and that of the profession generally.”

They said that Millar’s failings were not considered “fundamentally incompatible” with his remaining as a registered architect, but that his suspension was necessary to “protect the public and the reputation of the profession and to uphold professional standards”.

Millar was not present at the hearing which took place in Glasgow.