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.”