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Court backs erasure of Neil Rothnie from architects register

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September 3 2019

Court backs erasure of Neil Rothnie from architects register

An Aberdeen architect has failed to overturn a decision by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to strike him off the architects register on the grounds of professional incompetence and poor communication.

Neil Rothnie of Neil Rothnie Architecture was struck off last year in the wake of complaints from the owner of a private house that design defects in the property had given rise to severe rainwater damage, rendering the home unsellable and generating a repair bill of up to £50k.

The owner had purchased the Aberdeenshire property 18 months after its completion but was met with silence upon attempting correspondence on the matter with Rothnie.

In contesting this decision Rothnie argued that the judgement, his second brush with the ARB, was ‘unnecessary and unreasonable’ and went against due process as two-panel members could be considered biased as they had sat on two separate hearings.

Rothnie also argued that he did not consider communication from the homeowner to be a complaint and thus did not feel obliged to respond.

These arguments were dismissed by the Court of Session however with costs being awarded to the ARB. In a statement, the body wrote: “It was submitted to the Court that the finding of serious professional incompetence and the sanction of erasure was unnecessary and unreasonable and that the professional conduct committee (PCC) members had failed to properly deal with a perception that they may be biased.

“The Lordships saw no reason to intervene with the decision of the PCC which in their view had been properly made.”

The court also rejected all grounds to appeal.

2 Comments

Nairn's Bairn
#1 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 3 Sep 2019 at 12:30 PM
It would be useful, as ever in a sorry tale such as this, if the ARB could make public the more details of the technical side. The disciplinary process linked to in the article above covers the generalities (granite cope on timber frame, inadequate flashings/cavity trays etc) but a drawing would be useful so others can learn and not make the same mistake. Was there a detail drawing? Was it covered in the spec? Was there no mention of flashings at all? Was he contracted to prepare detail drawings? Could he see it being installed at the time of his visit? All information is useful to the rest of us - 'there but for the Grace of God' and all that.

As is so often the case, a lack of communication seems to have been part of a reason for it escalating to an ARB hearing. If it was purely down to a case of water ingress, there are not many architects who would be in practice today!
Hilloch
#2 Posted by Hilloch on 4 Sep 2019 at 14:11 PM
Is the ARB subject to FOI requests? Given it is a body established on the back of an Act of Parliament.

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