ASCE Code of Ethics (1961)


American Society of Civil Engineers


CSEP Library

Date Approved: 

July 20, 1961

Other Versions: 

Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics

As Amended to July 20, 1961


ARTICLE 1: "'It shall be considered unprofessional... To act for his client or for his employer otherwise than as a faithful agent or trustee

(1) He shall not undertake any assignment which would create a potential conflict of interest between the engineer and his client or his employer.

(2) He shall not disclose information concerning the business affairs or technical processes of his clients or employer without their consent.

(3) He shall not use information coming to him confidentially in the course of his assignment as a means of making personal profit if such action is adverse to the interests of his client, his employer, or the public.

(4) He shall not divulge any confidential findings of studies or actions of an engineering commission or board of which he is a member, without official consent.

(5) He shall not give professional advice which does not fully reflect his best professional judgment.

(6) He shall not misrepresent his qualifications to a client, to an employer, or to the profession.

(7) He shall not accept an assignment the results of which he will later act upon as a member of a public or quasi-public board.

(8) He shall act with fairness and justice to all parties when administering a construction or other contract.

(9) He shall engage, or advise engaging, experts and specialists, when in his judgment such services are to his client's or employer's best interests.

ARTICLE 2: "It shall be considered unprofessional to accept remuneration for services rendered other than from his client or his employer."

(1) He shall not accept compensation from more than one interested party for the same service, or for services pertaining to the same work under circumstances where there may be a conflict of interest without the consent of all interested parties.

(2) He shall not accept any royalty or commission on any article or process used on the work for which he is responsible, without the consent of his client or employer.

ARTICLE 3: "It shall be considered unprofessional..... To invite or submit priced proposals under conditions that constitute price competition for professional services."

(1) He may, where price competition is clearly not involved, discuss with the prospective client the scope and cost of engineering services.

(2) He may reply to x request for a proposal, "herein price competition may be involved, by advocating the procedure for selecting an engineer suggested in the current ASCE Manual on Private Practice of Civil Engineering.

When requested, prior to negotiations for services and "herein price competition may or may not be involved, he may advise a prospective client in regard to:

(a) Qualification and availability.

(b) Scope and probable cost of engineering work by reference to published schedules of fees shown in the current ASCE Manual on Private Practice of Civil Engineering. or by reference to comparable work of similar scope.

(4) He shall not submit a priced proposal, written or verbal, which includes a stated fee or estimated range of fees in any form in response to:

(a) A public advertisement for bids.

(b) Any invitation if there is reason to believe that multiple invitations have been issued.

(5) He shall not be a party to requesting two or more priced proposals for comparative purposes.

(6) He shall not solicit an engineering engagement by reducing charges after being informed of proposals of others.

(7) He shall not submit a proposal for an engineering engagement unless he is invited to do so.

ARTICLE 4: "It shall be considered unprofessional..... To attempt to supplant another engineer in a particular engagement after definite steps have been taken toward his employment."

(1) He shall not continue to seek employment on a specific engagement after being advised that another engineer has been selected subject to approval of detailed arrangements.

(2) He shall not solicit or accept employment from a client who already has an engineer under contract for the same work not yet completed or paid for.

(3) He shall not, in the event that another engineer has made a study and report on a specific project, approach the prospective client regarding subsequent phases of the project, unless such contact is initiated by the client.

ARTICLE 5: "It shall be considered unprofessional..... To attempt to injure, falsely or maliciously, the professional reputation, business, or employment position of another engineer."

This does not remove the moral obligation to expose unethical conduct before the proper authorities. Neither does it preclude a frank, but private appraisal of employees or of engineers being considered for employment.

ARTICLE 6: "It shall be considered unprofessional..... To review the work of another engineer for the same client, except with the knowledge of such engineer, unless such engineer's engagement on the work which are subject to review bas been terminated."

This article as stated is believed to bc sufficiently explicit. However, even though the first engineer's services have been terminated, it is a matter of common courtesy to let him know that his work is being reviewed.

ARTICLE 7: "it shall be considered unprofessional . . . To advertise engineering services in self-laudatory language, or in any other manner derogatory to the dignity of the profession."

(1) The following are considered to be permissible:

(a) Professional cards and other factual representations in recognized, dignified publications, and listings in rosters or directories published by responsible organizations, provided that the cards or listings are consistent in size and content, and are in a section of the publication regularly devoted to such professional cards, Information given must be factual, dignified, and free from ostentatious, complimentary, or laudatory implications.

(b) Brochures and other factual representations of experience, facilities, personnel and capacity to render service, providing they are not misleading with respect to the engineer's direct participation in projects described.

(c) A statement of his name or the name of his firm and statement of his type of service posted on projects for which he renders services.

(d) Preparation or authorization of descriptive articles for the lay or technical press, which are factual, dignified and free from ostentatious or laudatory implications. Such articles shall not imply anything more than his direct participation in work described.

(e) Permission by an engineer for his name to be used in commercial advertisements, such as may be published by contractors, material suppliers, etc., only by means of a modest dignified notation acknowledging the engineer's participation in the project described.

ARTICLE 8: "It shall be considered unprofessional..... To use the advantages of a salaried position -to compete unfairly with other engineers.'

(1) He shall not engage in outside engineering work, to an extent prejudicial to his salaried position or detrimental to established engineering services, or which would result in a conflict of interest.

(2) He shall not compete unfairly by charging fees below those customary for engineers practicing in the same field and in the same area.

(3) If permitted by his employer, his outside activities should preferably be confined to consultation on phases of engineering for which he has special qualifications not inherently available in usual engineering practice. Also, he would not ordinarily establish an office for the purpose of conducting such outside activities.

(4) He shall not use the influence of a salaried position to direct clients to an engineering office in which he has financial interest.

ARTICLE 9: "It shall bc considered unprofessional..... To exert undue influence or to offer, solicit or accept compensation for the purpose of affecting negotiations for an engineering engagement."

(1) He shall not make political contributions for the purpose of influencing the selection of engineers on future engagements.

(2) He shall not give or receive any payments for the purpose of influencing the selection of an engineer for an engineering engagement.

(3) He shall not create obligation on prospective clients or employers through extravagant entertainment, gifts, or similar expenditures.

(4) He shall not engage in "fee splitting" or other distribution of fees for other than services performed and in proportion to the value of such services.

(5) He shall not solicit or accept an engineering engagement, or submit a proposal or contract covering engineering services when payment for such services is contingent upon results supporting a predetermined conclusion or upon a favorable finding with respect to economic feasibility.

(6) He shall not request, propose or accept an engineering engagement on a contingent fee basis if the contingent basis or the contingent services performed influence the selection of the engineer.

ARTICLE 10: "It shall be considered unprofessional . . . To act in any manner derogatory to the honor, integrity or dignity of the engineering profession."

(1) He shall not be associated in responsibility for work with engineers who do not conform to ethical practices.

(2) He shall express an opinion only when it is founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction while he is serving as a witness before a court, commission, or other tribunal.

(3) He shall not issue statements, criticisms, or arguments on matters connected with public policy which are inspired or paid for by private interests, unless he indicates on whose behalf he is making the statement.

(4) He shall refrain from expressing publicly an opinion on an engineering subject unless he is informed as to the facts relating thereto.

(5) He shall exercise due restraint in criticizing another engineer's work.

(6) This article appropriately may be considered as a summation of the entire Code. It requires that a member of the Society shall act in accord with high standards of moral conduct under any and all circumstances.



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