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Members of the American Institute of Architects are dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and competence. The following principles are guidelines for the conduct of Members in fulfilling those obligations. They apply to all professional activities, wherever they occur. They address responsibilities to the public, which the profession serves and enriches; to the clients and users of architecture and in the building industries, who help to shape the built environment; and to the art and science of architecture, that continuum of knowledge and creation which is thev heritage and legacy of the profession.

This Code is arranged in three tiers of statements: Canons, Ethical Standards, and Rules of Conduct. The Canons are broad principles of conduct. The Ethical Standards (E.S.) are more specific goals towards which Members should aspire in professional performance and behavior. The Rules of Conduct (R) are mandatory, the violation of which is grounds for disciplinary action by the Institute. The Rules of Conduct, in some instances, implement more than one Canon or Ethical Standard.

Commentary is provided for some of the Rules of Conduct. That commentary is meant to clarify or elaborate the intent of the rule. The commentary is not part of the Code. Enforcement will turn on application of the Rules of Conduct alone; but, the commentary will assist those seeking to conform their conduct to the Code and those charged with its enforcement.

Statement in Compliance With the 1990 Consent Decree: The following practices are not, in themselves, unethical, unprofessional, or contrary to any policy of the American Institute of Architects or any of its components: (1) submitting, at anytime, competitive bids or price quotations, including, in circumstances where price is the sole or principal consideration in the selection of an architect; (2) providing discounts; or (3) providing free services. Individual architects or architecture firms, acting alone and not on behalf of the Institute or any of its components, are free to decide for themselves whether or not to engage in any of these practices. The Consent permits the Institute, its components, or Members to advocate legislative or other government policies or actions relating to these practices. Finally, architects should continue to consult with state laws or regulations governing the practice of architecture.

Canon I – General Obligations

Members should maintain and advance their knowledge of the art and science of architecture, respect the body of architectural accomplishment, and contribute to its growth. Learned and uncompromised professional judgment should take precedence over any other motive in the pursuit of the art and science of architecture.

E.S. 1.1 Knowledge and Skill: Members should strive to improve their professional knowledge and skill.

R. 1.101 In practicing architecture, Members shall demonstrate a consistent pattern of reasonable care and competence, and shall apply the technical knowledge and skill which is ordinarily applied by architects of good standing practicing in the same locality.

Commentary: By requiring a Òconsistent patternÓ of adherence to the common law standard of competence, this rule allows for discipline of a Member who more than infrequently does not achieve that standard. Isolated instances of minor lapses would not provide the basis for discipline.

R. 1.102 Members shall not undertake to provide professional services if their competence is substantially impaired by physical or mental disabilities.

E.S. 1.2 Standards of Excellence: Members should continually seek to raise the standards of aesthetic excellence, architectural education, research, training and practice.

E.S. 1.3 Public Understanding: Members should strive to improve public appreciation and understanding of architecture and the functions and responsibilities of architects.

E.S. 1.4 Allied Arts & Industries: Members should promote allied arts and contribute to the knowledge and capability of the building industries as a whole.

Canon II – Obligations to the Public

Members should embrace the spirit and letter of the law governing their professional affairs and should thoughtfully consider the social and environmental impact of their professional activities.

E.S. 2.1 Conduct: Members should uphold the law in the conduct of their professional activities.

R. 2.101 Members shall not, in the conduct or their professional practice, knowingly violate the law.

Commentary: The violation of any law, local, state or federal, occurring in the conduct of a Member’s professional practice, is made the basis for discipline by this rule. Allegations of violations of these rules must be based on an independent finding of a violation of the law by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative or regulatory body.

R. 2.102 Members shall neither offer nor make any payment or gift to a local, state or federal official with the intent of influencing the official’s judgment in connection with an existing or prospective project in which the Members are interested.

Commentary: This rule does not prohibit campaign contributions made in conformity with applicable federal and state campaign financing laws.

Commentary: This rule does not prohibit campaign contributions made in conformity with applicable federal and state campaign financing laws.

R. 2.104 Members shall not engage in conduct involving fraud or wanton disregard of the rights of others.

Commentary: Conduct which brings into serious question a Member’s qualification to assume the fiduciary duties of an architect is the basis for discipline even if that conduct did not occur in the course of practice. When an alleged violation of this rule is based on a violation of a law, then its proof must be based on an independent finding of a violation of the law by a court of competent jurisdiction or an administrative or regulatory body.

R. 2.105 If, in the course of their work on a project, the Members become aware of a decision taken by their employer or client, against the Members’ advice, which violates any law or regulation and which will, in the Members’ judgment, materially affect adversely the safety to the public of the finished project, the Members shall: (a) refuse to consent to the decision, and (b) report the decision to the local building inspector or other public official charged with the enforcement of the applicable laws and regulations, unless the Members are able to cause the matter to be satisfactorily resolved by other means.

Commentary: This rule extends only to violations of the building laws which threaten the public safety. E.S. 2.1 calls on an architect to oppose technical violations of the law which are not threatening to safety, in which case, discipline would not be imposed in the event that opposition is not successful. The obligation under this rule applies only to the safety of the finished project, an obligation coextensive with the usual undertaking of an architect.

R. 2.106 Members shall not counsel or assist a client in conduct that the architect knows, or reasonably should know, is fraudulent or illegal.

Commentary: This rule extends only matters which architects know are illegal, but also to matters which an architect of reasonable competence and prudence Òshould knowÓ are illegal or fraudulent.

E.S. 2.2 Natural and Cultural Heritage: Members should respect and help conserve their natural and cultural heritage while striving to improve the environment and the quality of life within it.

E.S. 2.3 Civic Responsibility: Members should be involved in civic activities, as citizens and professionals, and promote public awareness of architectural issues.

R. 2.301 Members making public statements on architectural issues shall disclose when they are being compensated for making such statements or when they have an economic interest in the issue.

E.S. 2.4 Public Interest Services: Members should render public interest professional services and encourage their employees to render such services.

E.S. 2.4 Public Interest Services: Members should render public interest professional services and encourage their employees to render such services.

E.S. 2.5 Human Rights: Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.

R. 2.501 Members shall not discriminate in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Commentary: This rule applies to all professional activities of the Member, including but not limited to, dealings with clients, colleagues and employees. It is stated with such breadth here so as to avoid repetition under the other canons. No ethical standard shall be construed as condoning inappropriate behavior or establishing special privileges for any group or Member of a group.

Canon III – Obligations to the Client

Members should serve their clients competently and in a professional manner, and should exercise unprejudiced and unbiased judgment when performing all professional services.

E.S. 3.1 Competence: Members should serve their clients in a timely and competent manner.

R. 3.101 In performing professional services, Members shall take into account applicable laws and regulations. Members may rely on the advice of other qualified persons as to the intent and meaning of such regulations.

R. 3.102 Members shall undertake to perform professional services only when they, together with those whom they may engage as consultants, are qualified by education, training, or experience in the specific technical areas involved.

Commentary: This rule is meant to ensure that Members not undertake projects which are beyond their professional capacity. Members venturing into areas which require expertise they do not possess may obtain that expertise by additional education, training or through the retention of consultants with the necessary expertise.

R. 3.103 Members shall not materially alter the scope or objects of a project without the client’s consent.

E.S. 3.2 Conflict of Interest: Members should disclose to clients, owners, or contractors, significant circumstances known to the Member that could be construed as creating a conflict of interest and should ensure that such conflict does not compromise legitimate interests of such persons or interfere with the Member’s duty to render impartial judgment of contract performance by others.

R. 3.201 Members shall not accept compensation for their services from more than one party on a project unless the circumstances are fully disclosed and agreed to by all interested parties.

R. 3.202 If Members have any business association, direct or indirect financial interest of other interest which could be substantial enough to influence their judgment in connection with the performance of professional services, the Members shall fully disclose to their clients or employers the nature of the business association, financial interest, or other interest, and if the clients or employers object to such association, financial interest, or other interest, the Members will either terminate such association or interest or give up the commission or employment.

Commentary: These rules are intended to embrace the full range of situations which may present a Member with a conflict between his interests and those of his client or employer. In some situations, a conflict is easily discerned, as when the architect owns property adjacent to property upon which he has been asked to design a structure and is faced with design options which would affect the value of his property. Other instances are not so clear, and that is more frequently the case as new systems and procedures of the construction process, such as design-build, come into the market. In every case, the architect must take adequate steps to ensure that the client is aware of any substantial interest which the architect has which might run counter to the interests of the client.

R. 3.203 When acting by agreement of the parties as the independent interpreter of building contract documents and the judge of contract performance, Members shall render decisions impartially, favoring neither party to the contract.

Commentary: This rule applies when the Member, though paid by the owner and owing the owner loyalty, is nonetheless required to act with impartiality in fulfilling the architect’s professional responsibilities.

E. S. 3.3 Candor and Truthfulness: Members should be candid and truthful in their professional communications.

R. 3.301 Members shall not intentionally or recklessly mislead existing or prospective clients about the results that can be achieved through the use of the Members’ services, nor shall the Members state that they can achieve results by means that violate applicable law or this Code.

Commentary: This rule is meant to preclude dishonest, reckless or illegal representations by a Member either in the course of soliciting a client or during performance. For example, it would cover the conduct of an architect who provides conceptual drawings based on an inadequate site examination or without regard for zoning laws, which lead a prospective client to believe that a design could be achieved when in fact it could not.

E.S. 3.4 Confidentiality: Members should respect the confidentiality of sensitive information obtained in the course of their professional activities.

R. 3.401 Members shall not reveal information obtained in the course of their professional activities which they have been asked to maintain in confidence, or which the reasonably prudent architect would recognize as likely, if disclosed, to affect the interests of another adversely. However, under the following exceptional circumstances, Members may reveal such information to the extent the Members reasonably believe necessary: (a) To stop an act which creates an appreciable risk of significant harm to the public health or safety or property of others and which the Members are unable to prevent in any other manner; or (b) To establish claims or defenses on behalf of the Members; or (c) To comply with applicable law or with this Code.

Commentary: This rule embodies generally accepted standards of client confidentiality, recognizing that under certain circumstances that confidentiality must yield to other interests. Because the law does not recognize an architect-client privilege, the rule permits an architect to reveal a confidence when necessary to comply with a subpoena or other legal process.

Canon IV – Obligations to the Profession

Members should uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession.

E.S. 4.1 Honesty and Fairness: Members should pursue their professional activities with honesty and fairness.

R. 4.101 Members shall comply with the registration laws and regulations governing their professional practice.

R. 4.102 Members shall not knowingly make false statements or knowingly fail to disclose a material fact requested in connection with their application for registration or their application for AIA membership.

R. 4.103 Members shall not assist the application for registration or AIA membership of a person known by the Members to be unqualified with respect to education, training, experience, or character.

R. 4.104 Members having substantial information which leads to a reasonable belief that another Member has committed a violation of this Code which raises a serious question as to that Member’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a Member, shall report such information to the body charged with enforcing this Code.

Commentary: Often, only an architect can recognize that the behavior of another architect poses a serious question as to that other’s professional integrity. In those circumstances, the duty to the professional’s calling requires that the matter be brought to the attention of the proper authorities. In most jurisdictions, such reporting, an implementation of professional standards, is protected from a libel or slander action if the report was made in good faith. If in doubt, a Member should seek counsel before reporting on another under this rule.

R. 4.105 Members shall not sign or seal drawings, specifications, reports or other professional work for which they do not have direct professional knowledge or direct supervisory control; however, in the case of those portions of such professional work prepared by the Member’s registered consultants, the Members may sign or seal said portions of the professional work if the Members have reviewed such portions, have coordinated their preparation, or intend to be responsible for their adequacy.

Commentary: The essence of this rule is that the sign or seal of a Member should not be affixed to any professional work unless the Member intends to accept professional responsibility for its adequacy. The requirements that the Member have professional knowledge or supervisory control, or have reviewed or coordinated the consultant’s work, is evidence of the intent to assume professional responsibility.

R. 4.106 Members speaking in their capacity as architects shall not knowingly make false statements of material fact.

R. 4.107 Members shall accurately represent their qualifications and the scope and nature of their responsibilities in connection with work for which they are claiming credit.

Commentary: This rule is meant to prevent Members from claiming credit for work which they did not do, misleading others, and denying other participants in a project their proper share of credit.

R. 4.108 Members shall neither copy nor reproduce the copyrighted works of other architects or design professionals.

Commentary: The copyright laws of the United States shall be used as guidelines for interpretation and enforcement of this Rule.