Western Sydney architect Alex Sibir has been fined almost $20,000 and banned from practicing for five years after the NSW Architects Registration Board found he’d failed to comply with guidelines for apartment design in the state.

The board took punitive measures against Sibir after finding he had signed off as the architect on three separate projects without having designed them. It was determined that Sibir had breached the NSW Architects Act by failing to ensure the necessary consumer safeguards were included in the developers’ contracts.

In NSW, the SEPP65 guidelines for apartment design require projects to be completed by a registered architect, and for that architect to ensure the project complies with the guidelines. The guidelines were put in place in an effort to produce better quality apartments in the state.

The NSW Architects Registration Board found that Sibir had signed off as the designer on contracts with three different developers – Urban Link, Bechara Chan & Associates and Design Cubicle – with no evidence he had actually designed the projects in question.

According to quotes obtained by the Australian Financial Review, Deborah Dearing, the newly-elected president of the NSW board, said the decision to pursue action against Sibir was intended as a warning to others who were trying to cut costs by avoiding compliance with the SEPP65 regulations.

“Whether it’s a developer or a builder, the person who is developing an apartment building… has an obligation to meet SEPP65,” said Dearing.

“It’s important that as the city densifies, the quality of construction and housing and quality of apartments is as good as it can be. There are a range of different means by which we mean to ensure that.”