What would you do? This is a question most of us face regularly, whether in a personal or professional context. At a time when our industry is in a major stage of transition, the ethics of what we do, and how and why we do it, are more important than ever.
In the last edition of the year, we aim to unpack these issues. Dr Andrew Knight discusses the concept of ethics and explains why the great thinkers of the past can help us understand our future. We then put these reflections into a practical context when we ask a number of construction professionals what they would do.
Five likely scenarios for quantity surveyors and project managers are debated – and the only conclusion is that everyone has a different view depending on their background, experience and beliefs. We’d welcome your own feedback on these questions as RICS works on a new conduct and competence professional statement, with Peter Bolton King elaborating on this in his article.
Kathryn Higgs, Director of Business Integrity at Transparency International, gives us an overview of what can happen when a moral compass isn’t working properly. She discusses why conflicts of interest are so prevalent in construction, their effects, and what we can do to change matters. It shocked me to learn that the aftermath of the 1999 İzmit earthquake in Turkey could have been very different had a number of the buildings damaged not been signed off incorrectly due to the payment of bribes. As Kathryn says, it’s up to the ethical majority to effect change.
Meanwhile, the ethics of contractor Carillion have been widely debated in light of its collapse, and Chris Green touches on this as he addresses the history, function, and future of payment retention in the industry. We also take a look at the Ethics, Rules of Conduct and professionalism competency, outlining what APC candidates, counsellors and assessors need to know.
Elsewhere in the issue, we look ahead to 2019 with an overview of the updates to standards, and the first article in an ongoing series about global infrastructure. Next year looks set to be more of the same for the construction industry: change, change and more change – and with a revamped design the Construction Journal is ready to cover it all.
If you’ve got any comments, suggestions or feedback in the meantime, please do get in touch.
Steph edits the Construction Journal and conservation-related material for the Built Environment Journal. What she enjoys most is the skills exchange involved in editing the journals – combining the technical knowledge of the authors with her understanding of writing, language and the publishing process. Her previous experience includes work on newspapers, magazines and medical journals.