Ethics: A Design Responsibility

by Chet Robinson, Student; Brigham Young University, Provo, UT,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 1, Pg. 66-67

Document Type: Feature article


The design/build method of project delivery, because it largely removes the client from the quality control and assurance process, can lend itself to unethical behavior on the part of engineers. Civil engineers on design/build teams must be even more vigilant regarding the propriety of their behavior than on conventional projects. They must remember their responsibilities to the community to consider the public good and provide safe structures as spelled out in the American Society of Civil Engineers' Code of Ethics. One example of ethical behavior is that of William J. LeMessurier, who in 1978 informed Citicorp, his client, of a design flaw in their New York City building. LeMessurier risked his reputation to protect public safety and was commended by the City for his courage in dealing with the situation.

Subject Headings: Public health and safety | Ethics | Structural safety | Design-build | Client relationships | Building design | Team building

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