A building designer has been prosecuted and hit with a heavy fine in NSW for breaching the Architects Act by posing as a professional architect when conducting business with clients.

The NSW Architects Registration Board (NSWARB), the state body responsible for protecting the rights of architectural services clients, has successfully prosecuted Timothy Treleaven for misrepresenting himself as an architect after receiving complaints from a number of dissatisfied clients.

These clients included the Davies family from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, who were perturbed by slew of problems in relation to Treleaven’s services, including the poor quality of a development application submitted to Pittwater Council, repeated work delays and failure to make payments to consultants.

After the Davies family sought to terminate their use of Treleaven’s services by email as well as the return of the balance of funds, he responded by demanding further payment from them.

In December last year Magistrate Geoffrey Bradd found Treleaven guilty of breaching the Architects Act and issued him a fine of $3,500. At the crux of the case was Treleaven’s use of the name “T2Architecture” to conduct business, and a claim on his website that his company was an architecture firm.

While Treleaven had completed a course on architectural design he was not a professional architect registered with NSWARB, which in the eyes of the law made him culpable of misrepresentation.

In NSW only professional architects who have registered with NSWARB are lawfully permitted to make use of the title “architect.”

“The purpose of the Architects Act is to protect consumers,” said Registrar Tim Horton. “It outlines the qualifications needed to use the title ‘architect,’ and lays out the disciplinary procedures when consumers have a complaint about an architect’s conduct.

“Protecting a term or title is more common than you might think. There are laws about who can use terms like ‘Police,’ Bank’ or ‘Trust’….at the root of all these is the principle that consumers should be able to have faith in the quality and standard of what’s being offered to them.”

  • In the engineering world the term 'engineer' appears to be a difficult one to protect possibly because it is used for generic purposes than a vocational one such as the term 'manager'. It seems to be difficult to regulate compared to other professions as the profession so broad in scope and duty.

  • Sebastian,
    The title engineer is not protected but the use of the title Chartered Professional Engineer is. This classification is policed by Engineers Australia. However I can't understand why in Australia only Queensland has laws to protect consumers from those who falsely claim to be Chartered Professional Engineers.

  • This is the law that former NSW Premier Bob Carr introduced. I recall at the time Carr had issue with some of the apartments being constructed as he didn't like the aesthetics of one particular building in his electorate. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Incidentally that same year the law was introduced a non registered Architect won a trade award for the best apartment design. I have mixed feelings over this law, as it places market share to one particular professional lobby. Registration yes, for services where human life could be threatened, such as structural engineering, but for aesthetics?

Bizprac (expire May 30 2018)