The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a professional organization for civil engineers. ASCE was established in 1852 and is the oldest engineering society in the US. ASCE has its own code of ethics for professional conduct for its members which was first established in 1914 and last updated in July, 2006.
Following is a link where you can find a downloadable copy of the code of ethics:
The ASCE code of ethics has four fundamental principles and seven fundamental canons.
Engineers uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the engineering profession by:
1. using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment;
2. being honest and impartial and serving with fidelity the public, their employers and clients;
3. striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and
4. supporting the professional and technical societies of their disciplines.
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.
2. Engineers shall perform services only in areas of their competence.
3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest.
5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others.
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.
7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers, and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.
All of the above are equally important, but I think of greatest importance for civil engineers should be the safety, health and welfare of the public. There is a popular saying, “A doctor’s mistake can kill one person at a time, an engineer’s can kill thousands.” Civil Engineering profession has such a great impact on the society that even a slightest error in design can have fatal effects. An example of this is the St. Francis dam failure in 1928 that killed about 500 people due to flaws in foundation design. Hence, it is very important that all the members of the civil engineering profession strictly abide by the code of ethics and report any case of violations that they notice.