Ethics in Civil Engineering
Ethics is defined as the rules of behavior based on the ideas of what is morally good and bad, or the belief that something is very important. In every job, there is the idea of practicing ethics. For example, my chosen field is civil engineering with an emphasis in water resources and structure. There are numerous of responsibilities and ethical behaviors that civil engineers must consider. Some of the many ethical issues a civil engineer must undertake are safety, giving honest service, developing professionally, respecting nature, and being fair.
One of the most obvious ethical responsibilities of a civil engineer is safety. There are laws and regulations that an engineer must follow for the safety of others. Civil engineers must be confident and accurate in the work they do because people trust they are making sure everything is safe. It is ethical that civil engineers put their time and effort in the every project. Also, it is important to follow safety rules because with any error comes great consequences. Many lives can be compromised if civil engineers overlook a calculation or structure. Safety should always be in a civil engineer’s mind; from the planning, to the building, and even after the final result of the project.
Another ethical issue in civil engineering is giving honest service. For example, when there is a new project that clients present, it may be tempting to say that it can get done in a certain amount of time. It is good to be optimistic, however, civil engineers must be realistic and reasonable with the time given to them and not put others in danger to meet deadlines. Civil engineers must be honest with the experience and knowledge they possess when dealing with difficult projects. This means that engineers should avoid conflicts of interest. For example, when an engineer is not competent enough to get a certain job done and simply accepts an offer for money or any other reason, they put others in danger. Again, civil engineers should be committed with any work they do. It is also ethical to express all professional opinions and concerns regarding a project. This means that if an engineer has a doubt or a better idea of doing something, then they should present it to others. Lastly, civil engineers should be loyal and confidential to any partners they are collaborating with. Sometimes a client may not want an idea to be presented to others and so engineers should respect that.
The third ethical issue that a civil engineer may practice is professional development. Civil engineers should strive to improve their knowledge every time, to better their skills. This is important because resources can be used more wisely, time may be reduced, and less money may be spent. It is not only beneficial for companies or any other employer, but in this way, engineers can also move up in position. It is ethical that civil engineers keep learning to better the world that we live in.
One of the most important ethical issues in civil engineer is the idea of preserving wildlife or helping the environment instead of destroying ecosystems. I think that every project that undergoes should consider the natural areas and the negative impact a project can bring. For example, civil engineers should consider ways in which resources could be recycled and this way, not affect the environment as much.
Lastly, an ethical issue could be treating colleagues with fairness. It may be tempting to have favorite co-workers in the environment we work in, but everyone deserves a chance to receive the same feedback and attention. I think that those that have more experience have a responsibility to teach others with less skills so that later, they can take initiative in projects. I think it is a duty to teach others with clarity as well because a misunderstanding can lead to disasters. We should embrace the responsibility and privilege engineers have to teach future engineers.
All these ethical issues should be considered to try to avoid damage to society and instead help society. There are many cases in the past where civil engineers have failed in a project, however, on the bright side, those mistakes have taught us new approaches to a better work ethic. An example of a failed project is the Quebec City Bridge which collapsed in August 29, 1907. One of the problems with this construction was incorrect calculations for how much weight the bridge was able to support. Unfortunately 75 people died that day the bridge collapsed. Another reason why this construction failed, was because the cost of the project was placed above the safety of individuals. The head of the project ignored people when they suggested him to go and inspect the field and process of the construction. The ethic of putting safety above deadlines shows the type of damage that could be saved. Overall, this shows that civil engineers have a great responsibility and should take every aspect of the work ethically.