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ASCE Code of Ethics: Principles, Study, and Application

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This document is intended to provide insight into the principles of ASCE's Code of Ethics and also to serve as a tool to aid in the practical application of those principles.

Introduction

This presentation of ASCE's Code of Ethics discusses what a code of ethics is and how it applies to one's professional and personal life. A series of questions is presented that explores the essence of ethics and how it relates to our lives. Read the full introduction for more insight into the concepts and applications presented in this publication.

 Part 1 - Discussion on Ethics

Use the questions posed in this section as starting points for group discussions on ethics in civil engineering. In addition, find a tool to help evaluate a situation's ethical implications and determine your course of action. Finally, broaden your understanding of ethics by exploring suggested websites dealing with ethics in various contexts. 

 Part 2 - The ASCE Code of Ethics

A code of ethics should be stated in simple terms, should be easy to understand, and should be timeless in application. It should be simple so it can be familiar and applied to one’s daily life. It should be easy to understand so that it cannot be misinterpreted. It should be timeless so that it is always applicable, no matter how the profession and society change as a whole.  ASCE's Code of Ethics provides such guidance for engineers' personal and professional conduct.  ASCE members who violate its Code of Ethics are subject to disciplinary action, which may include removal or suspension from the Society.

  Part 3 - Guidelines to Practice

The section of the ASCE Code of Ethics called Guidelines to Practice is intended to provide guidance and examples of what is intended by the Fundamental Principles and Fundamental Canons. The Guidelines provide details and discussion of specific issues that have been identified by ASCE. They are in no way all-inclusive and should not be seen as such. Just as the body of law is ever expanding to address the various permutations of each type of crime, the Guidelines will continue to grow to provide clarification as the profession changes with time.

Each ASCE member has a duty to be knowledgeable of the Code of Ethics, to understand what the Code stands for, and to apply the Code to the practice of civil engineering. 

Ethics: Guidelines for Professional Conduct provides more information on ASCE's Code of Ethics and its application.