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Professional Conduct Committee
The Building Control Act 2007 (the Act) established the Professional Conduct Committee (the Committee). It is an independent statutory committee. Any person may complain to the Committee concerning the conduct or competence of a Registered Architect.
Professional misconduct is defined as a breach of the RIAI or any other conduct which is disgraceful or dishonourable. Competence is refered to as professional performance and is defined as any failure of a Registered Architect to meet the standards of competence that may reasonably be expected of Registered Architects.
The Committee’s sanction powers are limited by the Act. It cannot make an award of damages or order that your Registered Architect carry out works to rectify something that has gone wrong. It is limited to the imposition of measures relating to the Registered Architect’s registration, such as suspension or erasure from the Register and/or a fine.
Some complaints concern matters that, although related to the practice of architecture, are more appropriately considered by some other adjudicative body. For instance, matters concerning planning, criminal activity, copyright, employment law, or negligence. The Committee may not be able to consider these matters in the first instance but may be able to do so once a decision has been published by the other relevant body.
The complaints procedure is set out in the Rules of the Professional Conduct Committee and Part 6 of the Act. If you are dissatisfied with the Committee’s decision you may appeal the decision to the Appeals Board. The Appeals Board is also a statutory independent board established by the Act.
If you wish to make a complaint about a Registered Architect you can complain to the Committee by filling out the RIAI Fitness to Practise Complaint Form below.
Declan O'Sullivan - Admonishment - 19 December 2019
Finding of the Professional Conduct Committee
On 31 October 2018, the Professional Conduct Committee (“the Committee”) found Mr. Declan O’Sullivan, registration number 96070 (“the Architect”), formerly practising as Declan O’Sullivan Architects, Heron House, Blackpool Park, Co Cork, guilty of poor professional performance in two respects:
- That the Architect was guilty of poor professional performance in misleading the complainant regarding an unauthorised development.
- That the Architect was guilty of poor professional performance in allowing the development to continue in breach of planning permission.
On 19 December 2019, the Committee determined that the Architect should be admonished pursuant to section 58 (2) (a) of the Act in relation to the conduct or performance complained of. The reasons for the Committee decision were as follows:
- The Committee had regard to the fact that the Architect misled the complainant regarding the unauthorised development on two occasions. Trust, honesty and integrity are at the heart of the profession of architecture and, although there was no finding of intentional dishonesty, any sanction must reflect the fact that the Architect was careless in the misrepresentations that he made.
- The Architect’s conduct in allowing the development to continue in breach of planning permission caused distress to the complainant over a significant period of time. There was no evidence of remorse and/or insight on the Architect’s behalf and no evidence that the complainant ever received an apology.
- The Architect failed to engage in any meaningful way with the fitness to practice process. He failed to appear at the inquiry, nor did he attend the sanction hearing.
- The Committee had regard to the mitigating factors in the case. The Committee noted that the Architect has an unblemished record heretofore. In addition, the position was ultimately regularised and remedied.
On a careful and balanced review of the matter, the Committee concluded that admonishment was the most appropriate sanction, having regard to the principle of proportionality.
The Committee noted that it is very important that the fact that the Architect has been found guilty of poor professional performance and has been admonished for his conduct is published by the RIAI in such manner as is deemed fit.
Publication of sanction
Pursuant to section 57 (11) of the Building Control Act 2007, where the Committee finds an architect guilty of professional misconduct or poor professional performance the findings are made public.
The Rules of the Professional conduct Committee provide where a sanction is applied to an architect that sanction shall be published in the RIAI Journal, the RIAI website and on the online Register for Architects.
Where the sanction imposed is admonishment the publication of sanction shall remain on the RIAI website for 2 years.
Where the Committee determines at inquiry that an architect is guilty of professional misconduct or poor professional performance, it may impose one or more of the following sanctions:
- Advise, admonish or censure the architect;
- Impose a fine of a specified amount on the architect, and failing payment of the fine within 2 months, the Registrar may erase the architect’s name from the Register;
- Suspension of the architect’s name from the Register for a specified period;
- Erasure of the architect’s name from the Register; or
- Impose such conditions it considers appropriate, to be complied with by the architect.
At the conclusion of a hearing on sanction the Committee will issue a report setting out the reasons for the decision to impose a particular sanction(s).