Architect struck off after building customer's extension without planning permission

A hand gripping a pencil over building plans
(Image credit: Getty)

An architect has been struck off for “repeated poor conduct and performance” after a complaint from a client who wanted a two-storey building extension at their home in Greenwich, London.

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) told Toyin Oduse, founder of SE2 Creatives, that he can no longer call himself an architect after building an extension without planning permission.

Two years ago Mr Oduse, who is also a builder, was handed a £2,000 penalty order in a separate case after it was found he offered poor planning advice and undue delays.

What was built without planning?

The ARB heard the homeowner wanted to remove the conservatory and convert the garage into a living space with a two-story extension. Once the conservatory was removed, the complainant wanted to add a single-storey rear extension.

Conditional planning permission for a single-storey side and rear extension was granted in August 2019. However, this differed from the homeowner’s requirements as she wished to have a two-storey extension.

The complainant was looking to appoint a builder to carry out the works, and Mr Oduse told her he could do the work and that he was also an architect and registered with ARB. They agreed he could undertake both the architectural and building work, including submissions to Building Control and planning permission for an extension to the garage, for £28,000.

In early 2020 building work started on the approved single-storey extension and Mr Oduse also submitted plans for a two-storey extension. 

Told customer plans didn't need approval

In June 2020 Building Control raised concerns that the architect was proceeding with building work that did not meet the planning approval. The complainant stated that Mr Oduse ignored the concerns raised and carried on with the works. On 30 July 2020 Mr Oduse withdrew the second planning application.

The homeowner claimed Mr Oduse advised the works could continue despite the planning application being withdrawn on the basis there was new legislation coming in “where you could carry out works and then the council would approve the works once built”.

Towards the end of June 2020 however, the relationship between the homeowner and Mr Oduse began to deteriorate. There were issues with workmanship, the electrics, and gas safety and in September 2020 the Complainant made a formal complaint to ARB.

Architect acted as both contractor and architect

The ARB found that Mr Oduse did not appropriately manage a conflict of interest in that he did not provide written disclosure to his client that in acting as an architect and contractor his advice would no longer be impartial.

He also did not obtain written and informed consent from his client for him to continue to act as both architect and contractor.

The ARB report states: “Such disclosure is essential so that the client can make an informed decision as to how such a conflict might impact on the building project so they can make a decision as to how they want to proceed.

“The conflict should have been disclosed in writing and written consent obtained.

Build quality was poor with missing flashing

The ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) later found that the extension had an unsafe gas boiler installation, and “the potential consequences could have been fatal for the complainant and her family”.

Mr Oduse also used sealant rather than flashing to prevent water ingress on the roof. When asked why flashing had not been applied, he stated: “Why would I apply flashing if it (the roof) was going to be dismantled?”.

The matters were found to be so serious that only “erasure from the register would protect the public and the reputation of the profession” and his conduct was a “significant falling short of the standards required of an architect”.

It added: “Members of the public and the profession would be shocked that an architect proceeded to supervise and carry out significant works to a property without planning permission.”

Erasure from the register is permanent, though an application may be made to ARB for re-entry after two years.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.