BDT’S REFLECTIONS ON AIA’S REVISION TO ITS ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABILITY STANDARDS

“If we are to truly make change in our communities and the nation, we need to both practice architecture AND advocate on policies that influence the built environment. Only then can we truly create a ‘blueprint for better.’”

– Carl Elefante, FAIA
2018 AIA President

AIA’s revised Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct explicitly addresses current issues of sexual harassment, equity in the profession, and sustainability. BDT is pleased to see our company’s values officially reflected in the codes governing our profession, and we’ve excerpted some elements of the Code here. First, stemming from the #metoo movement and growing recognition of workplace harassment, AIA elected to include stronger language about social diversity, appropriate conduct, and equity. Revised points are presented below. Second, AIA responded to growing scientific research and the cultural acknowledgment of the large role the built environment plays in climate change and carbon usage. To express a new level of commitment to sustainability, AIA amended the Code of Ethics to provide objective and measurable standards regarding clean air, water, sustainable energy, human health, resisting climate change, and protecting natural resources. Architects are now required to reasonably work to inform their clients of the potential environmental impacts of their projects. As always, BDT will continue to strive to provide our clients with sustainable options that will serve both you and our world in the years to come.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND EQUITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Members shall not engage in harassment or discrimination in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, disability, caregiver status, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation (Rule 1.401).
  • Members shall not engage in conduct involving wanton disregard of the rights of others (Rule 1.402).
  • Members shall not engage in conduct involving fraud (Rule 2.104).
  • Members should provide their associates and employees with a fair and equitable working environment, compensate them fairly, and facilitate their professional development (Ethical Standard 5.1).
  • Members shall treat their associates and employees with mutual respect and provide an equitable working environment (Rule 5.101).

SUSTAINABILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Members should promote fairness and safety in providing professional services and make reasonable efforts to advise their clients and employers of their obligations to the environment, including: access to clean air, water, sunlight and energy for all; sustainable production, extraction, transportation and consumption practices; a built environment that equitably supports human health and well-being and is resistant to climate change; and restoring degraded or depleted natural resources (Ethical Standard 2.4).
  • When performing professional services, members shall make reasonable efforts to inform their clients of the potential environmental impacts or consequences the member reasonably believes may occur as a result of work performed on behalf of the clients (Rule 2.401).
  • Energy conservation: members should set ambitious performance goals for greenhouse gas emission reduction with their clients for each project (Ethical Standard 6.1).
  • Water use: members should optimize water conservation in each project to reduce water use and protect water supply, water quality, and watershed resources (Ethical Standard 6.2).
  • Building materials: members should select and use building materials to minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants in the environment to promote environmental and human health and to reduce waste and pollution (Ethical Standard 6.3).
  • Ecosystems: members should consider with their clients the impact of each project on the natural habitat and ecosystem to promote environmental and human health (Ethical Standard 6.4).
  • Climate change: members should incorporate adaptation strategies with their clients to anticipate extreme weather events and minimize adverse effects on the environment, economy and public health (Ethical Standard 6.5).
  • Members shall consider with their clients the environmental effects of their project decisions (Rule 6.501).