“I've a difficulty with ethics around client confidentiality. I have an architect client who I have worked with for a number of years. The architect was recently hired by a retired couple who wanted to redesign and rebuild their existing home. The retired couple are also occasional clients and friends of mine. The architect is aware of this.
The LPA is not happy with the new design and have asked the architect to revise the plans. The actions of the LPA were prompted by a mistake made by the architect, a mistake that he is keen to hide from his client. The architect has asked me to help. I advised him that his clients have two options to comply with the LPA. The architect decides to go with cheaper option, and discusses this with this client. He does not discuss the more expensive option which would retain an additional bedroom, therefore increasing the value of the house when built.
I think that the architect is reluctant to discuss both options. If he did then he would have to admit the mistake he made. I feel I should point this out to the client, especially as they are friends of mine, but I am concerned about client confidentiality. I suspect that they may contact me about this issue anyway. They know that the architect often consults with me on planning issues. What should I do?”
RTPI response: Be wary of discussing this issue without the permission of the architect as this could cause you all sorts of problems. Perhaps there is another way to resolve this? Have you considered emailing the architect strongly recommending that he advise his client of both options, and remind him that the client may well approach you for advice. The email may give the architect time to think the issue through.
Diplomacy and tact will be necessary, as the key point here is to persuade the architect to take a different course of action. The retired couple may not contact you, and decide to go ahead with the recommendation of the architect, but he needs to be aware that the possibility exists.
If the retired couple contact you then you could speculate with them on alternatives to the option that they have been presented with. Good luck!