How to Define Your Code of Ethics
The topic of ethics has never been more prevalent for today’s architects, especially in our obligation to the environment. With new data constantly published about the human toll on today’s world, the construction industry must take purposeful steps to not only reduce the environmental impact in the building process but also promote a sustainable design that will last for generations.
The word ethics is defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior. Immanuel Kant wrote “In law a man is guilty when he violates the right of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”
What are the ethics expectations for architects? The role and responsibilities of the architect in the building process sparks discussion. Common questions include:
· What is the responsibility of the architect? Aesthetically and structurally.
· And to whom? The builder? The owner? The occupants? The city? The environment? Future generations?
· Should an architect’s concern for the environment extend beyond what you are contractually hired to do?
· How much attention should the architect pay to the building process and specifications?
· What if your definition of ethics differs from others?
Look to the following three areas to define your personal code of ethics: Intent, stakeholders, and process.