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Ethics and Professional Practice

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Among these responsibilities are the wise use of land, energy conservation, aesthetic delight and the safety and security of buildings. In 2004 and 2005, the American Institute of Architects recognized these responsibilities as it rewrote the AIA public policies and position statements. There exist only 10 public policies which emphasize the power the architect has to affect people and communities, the built environment, and the natural environment. The National Architectural Accrediting Board made it mandatory for all students interested in pursuing architecture as a profession to develop an understanding of the professionalism and ethics involved in the field of architecture at the beginning of their studies and not at the end. This allows for the establishment of a foundation for an individual’s approach to the profession and students formulate the principles for their future professional practice. The Board’s aim was to provide people with knowledge of the diverse needs, values, and behaviors that characterize different cultures and the implications of this diversity on the societal roles and responsibilities. The Board provided guidelines on integration of ethical perspectives on safety and codes. It also explained the role of professional judgment concerning social, cultural and political issues. It outlined the registration laws that should be followed when a contract is being undertaken. The guidelines provided by the Board expect the academic institutions to be more accountable in their objectivity in assessing progress against defined objectives as well as the program’s strengths and weaknesses and then use the results of this assessment to design and implement changes that lead to provide adequate public information regarding accreditation, candidacy, and problems a program may be facing. The ‘Standard of Reasonable Care’ is also a key concern in professionalism especially in architecture. The architect should provide the client with adequate professional advice when sought. They are also expected to ensure that the safety of the public is put into consideration as they design buildings. Reasonable care involves the professional knowing societal and professional responsibilities and integrating community service into the practice of architecture. The historical perspective of ethics in architecture enlightens us by providing a historical overview of the evolution of architectural ethics. The AIA’s Code of Ethics describes the principles upon which the Code of Ethics is based upon. It ensures that members of the American Institute of Architects are dedicated to the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and competence. The Code is arranged in three tiers of statements: Canons, these are broad principles of conduct. Ethical Standards, which are more specific goals that members should aspire to when it comes to performance and behavior. Rules of Conduct, the guidelines which if not followed to the latter leads to a member facing disciplinary action. A commentary is provided to further explain each of the ethical standards and the National Ethics Council enforces the Code of Ethics. Architecture has not always been covered by copyright law unlike books, maps and charts which were included in the first copyright law passed in 1970. In 1909,