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?
WHAT DOES ‘PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE’ MEAN?
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.
WHAT DOES ‘DEFICIENT SERVICE’ MEAN?
“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.
WHEN AND BY WHOM CAN ACTION BE INITIATED AGAINST AN ARCHITECT LIABLE FOR NEGLIGENCE/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.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR MAKING A COMPLAINT AGAINST AN ARCHITECT FOR PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT?
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.
WHO IS THE COMPLAINT SENT TO?
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.
CAN THE ACCUSED ARCHITECT DEFEND HIMSELF?
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.
WHO INVESTIGATES THE COMPLAINT MADE AGAINST AN ARCHITECT?
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.
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.
WHAT DISCIPLINARY ACTION, CIVIL OR CRIMINAL ACTION IS TAKEN AGAINST AN ARCHITECT FOUND GUILTY OF PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT?
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.
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:
- An Architect’s Educational Qualifications
- An Architect’s Services and Responsibilities
- An Architect’s Charges
- An Architect’s Conduct
- Registration of an Architect with the CoA
- Architectural Competitions
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