Ethics Case Studies

cs 28 - Construction Observation
cs 07 - Neighbor’s House
cs 11 - Employee Rights
cs 12 - 2 Clients / 1 Project
cs 18 - Cash Flow Bind
cs 07 - Neighbor’s House
Set up

  Client = John & Suzie Normal
  Architect = Domicile Plus
  Site – Lot at cul-de-sac in an exclusive
  Developer = Mr. Tract
  Neighbors = The Bellushis
  Lawyer = Mr. Tort
cs 7 – Neighbor’s House

  What is the responsibility of the Domicile
   + architects to their original client?
  What is the firm’s responsibility of the
   Domicile + architects to their new client?
  What is the firm’s responsibility of
   Domicile + to themselves regarding their
  What is the firm’s responsibility of the
   new architect, Mr. Clean, to all parties?
cs 28 - Construction Observation

    Client = Contractor/developer
    Architect = Young Firm
    Site – Condo on sloping site
    Sevivce: Drawings only
    Limited site info shows a buried
     storm/sanitary sewer; no exact location
cs 28 - Construction Observation

  Should the architect tell the potential
   investor about the construction history?
  What are the obligations of the architect
   to is original client?
  What obligation does the architect have
   to report to the city building inspector the
  Should the architect agree to provide the
   observation services?
cs 11 - Employee Rights

  Firm A is busy; needs help-temp
  Firm B is temporarily slow; work will start
  Firm B principal contacts friend who is
   principal at Firm A about lending a
   worker for 6 months
cs 11 - Employee Rights

  Should Firm A offer a permanent position to the
  Should Firm A advise the employee that it would like to
   have her join the firm, but indicate it feels a
   commitment to honoring its agreement with Firm B?
   and therefore return her to Firm A and advertise for
   new staff
  Does the employe have any responsibility to Firm B?
  Does Firm B have any obligation to honor the
   employee’s wishes?
  If the employee returns to Firm B and then quits shortly
   after her return and seeks to be hired by Firm A, what
   should be the position of Firm A?
cs12 - 2 Clients / 1 Project

  You are architect for a shopping center
  Good client with more work – core and
  Tenant improvement is additional service
cs12 - 2 Clients / 1 Project

  Do you tell the shell-and-core work client that
   you are obligaed to pursue the application for
   the tenant client and risk losing this client?
  Do your tell the tenant client that you feel that
   such a sign would be undesirable from the
   point of view of the overall project appearance
   and decline to pursue the application?
  Do you share your delemma with both clients?
   If so, on what basis do you pursue a
  Do you have any ethical obligations to either
► Registration Statutes & Regulations
► Professional Conduct Rules
► AIA Code of Ethics
► Antitrust Concerns
►A   combination of laws, statues and codes regulate
  and influence the behavior of practicing architects.
  Some are mandated and others are voluntary.
► Mandated controls are included in the state
  licensing statutes for the practice of architecture
  as well as federal antitrust statutes that set rules
  for how businesses compete.
              General, cont.
► On  the voluntary side, architects electing to join
  professional societies must subscribe to rules of
  conduct and ethics established and administered
  by those societies.
► Architects play roles in establishing and
  administrating some legal and professional ethical
   They participate in professional degree programs, serve
    on registration boards, establish codes of ethics and
    adjudicate professional misconduct.
► The authority to enact legislation protecting public
  health, safety and welfare – including the authority to
  regulate professions – is exercised primarily by the
► The Bill of Rights reserves to the states all powers not
  specifically granted by the Constitution to the federal
  government. Protecting public health, safety and
  welfare is one of these reserved powers. Thus the
  regulation of most aspects of design and construction
  falls to the states under the Bill of Rights.
      REGULATIONS, cont.
► States  enact legislation governing the registration
  of architects and a more detailed set of
  administrative rules and regulations, these
  typically include:
   Define the practice of architecture and limit it to those
    who are registered as architects within that jurisdiction
   Restrict the use of the title architect to those who are
    licensed as architects
   Establish requirements for entry to the profession
 Empower a registration board to establish rules
  and regulations
 Indicate how architects registered in other
  jurisdictions may become registered to practice
  in the jurisdiction
 Define professional conduct and misconduct
 Outline penalties for those who practice
  architecture illegally within the jurisdiction
► These rules deal with the governing of
 architectural practice and include:
   The use of the architect’s seal
   Conflict of interest
   Disclosure of financial interest in projects and other
    aspects of professional behavior
► Each   jurisdiction’s regulations include:
     Provisions for filling complaints
     Investigating the allegations made in the complaints
     Hearing both sides of the issue
     Administering penalties
►A  jurisdiction designates an administrative
  agency that typically has the power to
  admonish, censure, suspend or revoke an
  architect’s registration to practice in that
► New Jersey State Board of Architects
Common Questions
►3   Tier Organization
  Canons are broad principles of conduct. The code’s 5
   canons are general statements that address professional
   responsibilities to the discipline, the public, the client,
   the profession and professional colleagues.
  Ethical Standards are specific goals toward which
   members should aspire in professional practice and
   conduct, the 1st ethical standard (E.S. 3.1) under Canon
   lll Obligations to the Client, reads:
     ► “Members should serve their clients in a timely and
       competent manner”
 Rules of conduct implement the canons and ethical
  standards. The canons and ethical standards are stated
  in aspirational terms; the rules are mandatory and
  describe the floor below which a member’s actions may
  not fall. Only a violation of a specific rule of conduct
  can be the basis for disciplinary action by the AIA.
  Ethical Standard 3.1 states (in part):
    ► “Members shall not materially alter the scope or
      objectives of a project without the client’s consent”
        Fiduciary Relationship
► The  retention of a professional designer by a client
  – like the relationship between employer and
  employee and between partners- creates a
  fiduciary relationship
► A fiduciary relationship is contrasted with the
  arm’s length relationship. In a commercial
  setting parties generally deal at “arm’s length”:
  each party must look out for itself. On the other
  hand, a fiduciary relationship is a close one, and
  the parties must be able to trust each other.
► Aswith all business enterprises, architects
 are prohibited under federal law from
 combining with others to engage in
 activities that restrain trade or are otherwise
► Basic Principles
   Agreements or other joint conduct
    between 2 or more competitors that
    unreasonably restrain trade are illegal
   Fix or maintain prices; (price fixing)
    architects must make independent
    decisions on fees for their services
 Boycott a competitor or customer; an
  agreement or understanding among
  competing architects not to deal with
  another architect or a particular client or
  category of client if the purpose is to
  limit customer choices

► Allocate   business or customers; a decision
 among architects to divide or allocate
 customers or markets is unlawful. Even
 informal, unwritten understandings that
 architects will refrain from doing business
 with one another’s clients violate the law.

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