American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Code of Ethics.

The code of ethics of the ASCE is explained in seven canons, as follows:

Canon 1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties.

Canon 2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence.

Canon 3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.

Canon 4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.

Canon 5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.

Canon 6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession and shall act with zero tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption.

Canon 7.  Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.

The code of ethics provides detail content regarding each of these canons, such information is available at



I would like to provide a few examples where some of these canons are likely to be violated.

Canon 1.  The safety measures for workers and engineers at any construction site are usually the minimum or sometimes not even that, so this canon is violated by the engineers from the construction company that are responsible for the implementation of such safety measures, and also by the engineers on site who are responsible for the safety of workers, because taking no action by the engineers on site is not acceptable.

Canon 4.  Conflicts of interests at different levels can be easily present in building construction.  For instance, the contractor might be inclined to buy a particular material from some particular provider at a cost possibly higher than buying this material from a different provider at a lower cost.  To be fair, the client could be informed about those two possibilities, the advantages, disadvantages, implications in cost, and then a more reasonable solution could be taken.

Canon 5.  Some civil engineers, including professors of this field in graduate programs, refer often to the mistakes of other colleges, which is not ethic.  If a civil engineer/professor have a difference in opinion with a college then such difference in opinion should not be shared to an audience that is not able to hear about the two different points of view in the same time.

Canon 7.  Several engineers stop reading information about their field after few years of getting practice on their careers, this should not be the case.

We as civil engineers, should have the compromise of been ethic always, because we do know when we are not.

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