Do Civil Engineers Have an Ethical Responsibility to their Client at the Expense of the Environment?

by Kenneth D. Walsh, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Construction; Del E. Webb School of Construction, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 12, Pg. 62-63

Document Type: Feature article


The application of engineering ethics to the environment is at the center of the debate regarding sustainable development. If the environment is to be held above client needs, say many, then do we not violate ethical principles by preparing a design for a heap leach pad? By designing a dam? By driving to work every day? By having more than two children? These questions can swirl endlessly, because the ethical system appropriate for application to the environment is not yet clear. This paper, which won the 1995 Daniel W. Mead Award for Younger Members, attempts to clear up the issue by considering the ethical implications of sustainable development.

Subject Headings: Ethics | Sustainable development | Client relationships | High-rise buildings | Dams | Awards and prizes

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