MEMO TO John Kenward FROM Marc Denhez

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MEMO TO John Kenward FROM Marc Denhez Powered By Docstoc
					MEMO TO: John Kenward
FROM:    Marc Denhez
RE:      Possible Amendments to the CHBA Code of Ethics


I have been asked to look at possible updates for the CHBA Code of Ethics. The intent is not to turn
the Code on its head (it is in widespread use, and is well-known even beyond the industry); there are,
however, updates which can be profitably inserted. The following are suggestions.

Building Codes
       The Code of Ethics refers to Members complying with the National Building Code (NBC).
       At the time that the Code of Ethics was first adopted, the NBC was almost unique. Now there
       are many codes (including separate codes for fire and plumbing), as well as provincial codes.
       It would therefore be more appropriate to refer to “applicable” codes.

Planning
      A generation ago, the word “planning” meant community planning; today, it also includes
      environmental planning.

Suppliers
       The Code of Ethics refers to Members dealing justly with their employees, subcontractors,
       and suppliers. Some people think that “suppliers” refers only to providers of materials –
       forgetting that e.g. professionals (architects, engineers, consultants etc.) are “suppliers” too
       (suppliers of services). A clarification would be helpful.

Customers
      Although the Code of Ethics refers to customers, it does not actually refer to one of the
      CHBA’s most cherished ideals, namely that Members stand behind their work or product
      (e.g., warranty). This could be usefully clarified.

Technical Advancement
      The Code of Ethics refers to Members exchanging information and encouraging research –
      but reflects no commitment to technical advances (a broader concept than just “techniques”).
      This could be usefully clarified.

Compensation
     There is some confusion over the wording of the section that says that “Members shall uphold
     the principle of appropriate and adequate compensation for the services which they render.”
     Who are “they”? If “they” refers to Builder Members, what is the intent? Is it that they won’t
     underprice (“dump”) their houses on the market? If so, then this unusual provision has not
     been explained. If “they” refers to Supplier Members, isn’t the section redundant, in light of
     the existing obligation to “deal justly with their employees, subcontractors, and suppliers”?
     If the real intent is simply to repeat that suppliers should be treated fairly, then the section is
     repetitious and could be safely deleted.
Human Resource Development
     The availability and development of skills has been a longstanding CHBA concern, that could
     be usefully mentioned.

Health & Safety
      The commitment to health and safety could also be more clearly articulated.

Conduct Detrimental
     The Code of Ethics bans “all conduct or practice detrimental to the... industry, to the
     Association, to the good name or reputation of any of its members, or its customers”. A
     difficult situation is that of dealing with competitors (some of whom are fellow Members).
     Although the CHBA is exploring standards of Good Business Practice, there are some HBAs
     that appear particularly anxious to speak out about activities like Members pricing each
     other’s plans, or otherwise taking liberties with the law of intellectual property. Elsewhere,
     the courts are beginning to wade in on extreme competitive practices (e.g. the litigation
     between Air Canada and Westjet, on allegedly stealing and reconstituting materials from
     paper shredders). Without wishing to delve too deeply into this evolving and highly complex
     area of law, it may nonetheless be useful to specify certain basic ideas about entrepreneurial
     self-respect in a competitive world.
               EXISTING CODE OF ETHICS                                                    PROPOSED                                               COMMENT
Members shall comply with the National Building Code of Members shall work toward the improvement of applicable                    It is now unnecessary to refer to
Canada as a minimum standard for construction and shall building codes.                                                            “compliance”, which is a legal
work toward its improvement in the interests of structural                                                                         requirement. Different provinces/
sufficiency, safety, and health.                                                                                                   territories have different codes (and
                                                                                                                                   some may have more than one).
Members shall plan their sites and homes to conform to the Members shall plan their sites and homes to conform to the              Reference to environment.
principles of good community planning.                     principles of good community planning and support for the
                                                           environment.
Members shall deal justly with their employees, Members shall deal justly with their employees, subcontractors, Clarifies that “suppliers” provide more
subcontractors, and suppliers.                  and suppliers of goods and services.                            than just materials (e.g., professionals).
Members shall deal honestly and fairly with their customers.     Members shall deal honestly and fairly with their customers., and Adds provision alluding to warranty etc.
                                                                 stand behind the quality of their work and service
                                                                 commitments.
Members shall cooperate to extend the effectiveness of the       Members shall exchange information and experience, and            This adds a commitment to technical
Association by exchanging information and experience, and        encourage research on materials, technical advancements           advancement.
encourage research on materials and techniques in order to       and building techniques in order to provide the best value for
provide the best value for their customers.                      their customers.
Members shall uphold the principle of appropriate and            [Deleted]                                                         This section was arguably repetitious,
adequate compensation for the services which they render.                                                                          in light of the above commitment to
                                                                                                                                   deal justly with suppliers.
Members shall avoid all conduct or practice detrimental to the   Members shall avoid all conduct or practice detrimental to the    [No change]
home building industry, to the Association, to the good name     home building industry, to the Association, to the good name or
or reputation of any of its members, or its customers.           reputation of any of its members, or its customers.
                                                              Members shall commit to continuing learning through                  New provision for skills development
                                                        [New] human resource policies and practices, including                     etc.
                                                              employment practices which treat employees as assets.
                                                        [New] Members shall actively promote health and safety principles New provision for safety.
                                                              and legislation.
                                                        [New] Members shall treat their competitors, including their               New provision to treat competitors with
                                                              property and ideas, with respect.                                    dignity.
These responsibilities are freely and solemnly assumed as These responsibilities are freely and solemnly assumed as they           [No change]
they form part of an obligation as Members of the Canadian form part of an obligation as Members of the Canadian Home
Home Builders’ Association.                                Builders’ Association.