Ethics in the construction industry: the prospects for a single professional code
Mason, J. (2009) Ethics in the construction industry: the prospects for a single professional code. International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 1 (3). pp. 194-205. ISSN 1756-1450
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17561450911001252
Professional ethics is currently a high profile topic within the construction industry. Whilst the members of key professional bodies have established ethical codes a more recent phenomenon is the increasing numbers of contractors promoting ethical codes as part of their literature. This paper examines the benefit of promoting a single ethical code for the construction industry using the Society of Construction Law’s Statement of Ethical Principles. This is followed by a wider discussion about the relevance of ethics to the industry and the different situations in which ethical considerations apply. Studies from the UK, USA, Australia and South Africa establish the extent of the problem in respect of unethical and illegal behaviour. Enforcement activity in European Union and United Kingdom, including the current Office of Fair Trading investigations are also considered. The drafting of the Ethical Statement is considered and its terms discussed. Amongst the conclusions reached is the observation that ethical codes do not operate in a vacuum and that the promotion of a single code will only bear fruit when seen as part of a larger raft of measures including longer term relationships and collaborative working and a higher profile for ethics in training/education.
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