I absolutely agree with Rich Bishops Viewpoint: curbing corruption will require a uniform professional code of conduct (ENR 1/31 p. 51). With the cost of corruption estimated at $400 billion annually worldwide for government expenditures on public contracting, it is time for the individual engineer to step up and fight global construction corruption.
Recognizing this, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the World Bank, Transparency International and 65 other professional engineering and design societies in the U.S. and worldwide are working to curb bribery, fraud and corruption with a zero tolerance approach. This month, ASCE plans to circulate among its global partners a set of draft Principles for Professional Conduct to strengthen its long standing code of ethics in the area of corruption and to serve as the basis for the development of consensus guidelines.
ASCE encourages all engineers to commit to a long-term, worldwide solution to stem the flow of construction dollars into pockets instead of projects needed by people.
Thanks so very, very much for Rick Bishops Viewpoint piece, and especially for your editorial, titled with target precision worthy of our martial times: "The Industry Needs to Take Aim on Unethical Behavior" (ENR 1/31 p. 52). Please allow us to enlarge the scope of that exhortation to include environment and communities.
The entire planet needs the industry " to take aim on unethical behavior" employing ethics defined to be inclusive of our globe, each of our many "places," all of our neighborhoods, and our contextual ecosystems, as well as our solitary, often selfish worldviews. Collectively, weve not done well at this exercise of providing planning, design, construction and management services for our fellow passengers on the "spaceship earth." But we can do better, and must, by any measure, while we still have a chance to set a sustainable example.
I would like to add my support to Rich Bishops Viewpoint on the need for an industry-wide code of conduct to reduce the proliferation of unethical behavior. Speaking from the project managers and cost consultant perspective, I have witnessed serious breaches of ethics that are known but not acted on, many of which are unfortunately excused by defining them as localized standard practice. In addition, I have found that many breaches result from ignorance, because the wrongdoer simply has not undergone training, or has not received sufficient guidance in acceptable procedures or practice. Both are inexcusable and point to a need for a unified code that applies to all sectors of the industry, including owners, engineers, consultants and contractors alike.
March 28, 2005