An architect shall be required to comply with the standards of professional conduct and etiquette and a code of ethics set out in clauses of Regulation 2 of the Architects (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 1989. If an Architect violates any of the COA – Professional Conduct regulations, 1989 (as amended in 2003), then it shall constitute Professional Misconduct.

Any matter regarding Professional Negligence and/or Deficient Service provided by the Architect, shall be referred to the Council of Architecture, to adjudicate whether the Architect is guilty of Professional Misconduct, and will attract disciplinary action as stipulated under the Architects Act, 1972. As an Architect, I have described in what manner and under which circumstances an architect should be held responsible for the negligent act/ deficient services :

What does professional negligence mean?
What does deficient service mean?
When and by whom can action be initiated against an architect guilty of professional misconduct?
What is the procedure for making a complaint against an architect for professional misconduct?
Who is the complaint sent to?
Can an accused Architect defend himself?
Who investigates the complaint made against the architect?
What disciplinary action is taken against the architect found guilty of professional misconduct?



An Architect is required to observe and uphold the Council’s Conditions of Engagement and Scale of Charges while rendering architectural services. Negligence of an Architect means the failure to take reasonable degree of care while rendering services for the project for which he has been engaged.



“Deficiency”, as defined under Section 2(1)(g) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. The failure to provide any service that is necessary for the discharge of his duties and functions for the project for which he has been engaged, amounts to deficient service.



An Architect is liable for the negligent act which he has committed in the performance of his duties. The Client can initiate action against the Architect if there is a failure on the part of an Architect to attain the standard of care prescribed by the law, and the Client has suffered damage due to such breach of duty.



If a person has a complaint against an Architect for professional misconduct, he can either file the complaint Online or Offline.

  • The Complainant should specify as to the violation of which clause of Architects (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 1989, as amended in 2003, he/ she is filing his/ her complaint against the Respondent Architect.
  • After filling an online Complaint he should take a print out of the complaint and sign and verify the same at appropriate places given in the Complaint form and get it notarized from Notary Public. 
  • For offline complaint he should fill the complaint form and sign and get it notarized from the Notary Public.
  •  The complaint should be indexed, paginated and notarized from a notary public, along with particulars of evidence, oral  and documentary, if any, to substantiate the complaint. Submit 5 compete sets – 1 original signed + 4 photocopies. The softcopy of the complaint must also be sent in 5 CDs/DVDs/ Pen drives.
  • Also a copy of the complaint must be sent to the Respondent Architect(s). 
  • The enclosures should be in English or should be submitted along with their authentic English translated version in case the same are in any other language.
  • The complaint should not be more than 80 pages in all.



Incomplete form will be returned – If the complaint does not contain the aforesaid particulars, the Secretary of the Council shall return the complaint to the Complainant.

Copy of complaint will be sent to the accused Architect – If the complaint is against an individual Architect, the Secretary shall send a copy to the Architect at his address as entered in the CoA Register, within sixty days of the receipt of the complaint; If the complaint is against a firm, he shall send a copy of the complaint to the firm concerned at the address of the head office of the firm with a notice calling upon the firm to disclose the name of the Architect concerned and to send a copy of the complaint to the concerned Architect.

Notice will be sent to the accused Architect – Every notice issued by the Secretary or the Disciplinary Committee under this rule shall be sent to the Architect or the firm concerned by registered post with acknowledgment due and if the notice is returned with an endorsement indicating that the addresses cannot be found at the address given, the Secretary shall ask the complainant to supply to him the correct address of the architect or firm concerned and send a fresh notice to the architect or firm at the address so supplied.

Sussanne Khan on Sunday said a complaint accusing her of falsely projecting herself as an architect



Architect should give a written statement in defense – An Architect against whom a complaint is made, may, within fourteen days of the receipt of a copy of the complaint, or within such further time as the Secretary may allot, forward to him a written statement in his defense verified in the same manner as a pleading in Civil Court.

Complaint will be dismissed – If on perusal of the complaint and the written statement of the concerned Architect, and other relevant documents and papers, the Council is of the opinion that there is no prima facie case against the Architect, the complaint shall be dismissed and the complainant and the Architect shall be informed accordingly. However, before dismissing the complaint, the Council may call for any additional particulars or documents connected with the case, either from the complainant or from the respondent, or from both, if in its opinion it is necessary.

Enquiry shall be made – If on perusal of the complaint, the Council is of the opinion that there is a prima facie case against the Architect, the Council shall cause an enquiry to be made in the matter by the Disciplinary Committee.


Disciplinary committee – All complaints against Architects shall be investigated by a Disciplinary Committee of the Council consisting of three members to be constituted by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette. The Chairman of the Committee shall be elected by the members of that Committee from among themselves. 

Any change in disciplinary committee –
If during the progress of an inquiry the Disciplinary Committee undergoes a change of personnel for any reason whatsoever, the respondent shall have an option to have his case heard de novo and the enquiry conducted accordingly.

Facts shall be placed before the disciplinary committee
– The Secretary of the Council shall place before the Disciplinary Committee all facts brought to his knowledge which are relevant for the purpose of an inquiry by the Disciplinary Committee.

Architect has the right to defend
– An Architect against whom a complaint is made shall have a right to defend himself before the Disciplinary Committee either in person or through a legal practitioner or any other Architect of the Institute.
Architect Meinhard von Gerkan, centre, arrives for a hearing of wintesses of the board of enquiry concerning Berlin’s new airport (BER) at the Berlin House of Representatives in Berlin, Germany, 12 Septemeber 2014. The board of enquiry is questioning von Gerkan on mistakes and failures that were made in connection with the construction of Berlin’s new airport.

Disciplinary committee shall submit report
–  The Disciplinary Committee shall submit its report to the Council after studying all the aspects of the case.

Council will consider the report
– And if necessary, a further inquiry shall be made and a further report shall be submitted by the Disciplinary Committee. After holding the inquiry and after hearing the architect, the Council may, by order, reprimand the said architect or suspend him from practice as an architect or remove his name from the register or pass such other order as it thinks fit.



When on receipt of a complaint made to it, the Council is of the opinion that the Architect is found guilty of Professional Misconduct, he is liable for disciplinary action by the Council of Architecture under Section 30 (2) of Architects Act, 1972.

After holding the inquiry and after hearing the architect, the Council may, by order, reprimand the said architect or suspend him from practice as an architect or remove his name from the register or pass such other order as it thinks fit.

The disciplinary action taken by the Council of Architecture against the Architect who has been found guilty of Professional Misconduct, does not absolve him of his liabilities under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, if any.

This post was about the deficient/negligent service of an Architect which amounts to Professional Misconduct and the procedure for making a complaint against the Architect, to the Council of Architecture (COA). To know more about the Council of Architecture, go to:

To know more about the Professional Conduct expected from an Architect in India, go to:

The Council Of Architecture (CoA) in India has stipulated guidelines and regulations regarding an Architect’s profession and education. To know more, go to:

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  • March 1, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you very much for your insightful post. Here I would like to share a bitter experience of myself. Recently I came across a very big company approaching me with many tall capabilities, possessions and professionalism in the field of architecture while I was searching for an competent architectural firm for designing of a mental health set up. Having no previous experience of these types of activities, they took the advantage of my lack of knowledge on exactly which types of drawings are necessary for construction process. They drafted the agreement in such a exploiting manner that now I can see that they are taking 95% of the payment before starting to release GFC. They were about to plan a bigger area as master plan (2 L sft) and then about to develop details of designs of a fraction of it (50 K sft) at a rate of 100 per sft for 17 disciplined scopes of work. Now I could see that they have inflated the original rate to 120% (100% by area calculations which were in their domain and 20% for rework of concepts). Actually they have given me only 2 concepts – linear and segmented and few flip horizontal and verticals of those. None of the concepts were as per my expectation but as they already have killed 1 year of time doing keeping on giving various presentations and the agreement was for 2 years with a rider attached to it that any deployment beyond 2 years will suitable be extended with time and cost and further they already have taken my 26 L plus GST, I had no choice other than complying what way they go on exploiting.
    After giving drawings for foundation – (pilling), they started charging for inflated cost (120% of the original cost. My man material, machines are on site and they stopped responding to any communication and thereby inflicting a huge loss. Now they threatens me with a legal notice demanding 50 L (original order value was 50 L and 26 L plus GST already paid) with a threat of NI Act where no cheque was issued nor they raised any invoice of the projected amount.
    Moreover the architect engaged in my project by the big company is a non institutional quack architect, as of late I came to know. Further they do not have any design studio and gets their works done by third parties.
    Recently I came to know that they have done similar activities across India and devastated many upcoming projects. Most common features of all these cases is that the promoters of these projects were doctors.
    Can you suggest me where should I knock for justice?

  • January 1, 2021 at 4:44 am

    An Architect can create partnership firm/LLP etc. as a builder while he has registered consulting architect (CA). Can he issue work completion certificate (i.e. required to builder) to his own partnership firm. How can he certify himself work his own level.

  • December 10, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    What type of misconduct done by an architect when he deliberately miscalculated/manupulated area in a plan he submitted & got approved for clients monetary benafit.

  • August 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    What procedure is undertaken to file a complaint against an architect for non payment to a freelance architect?
    Hi SA Sharma,
    Not sure. You could go this link on the CoA website.

  • May 4, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Outstanding blog. Cannot wait to check out just what exactly you construct next!


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