Construction Ethics by Peter Fewings

By Peter Fewings

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There is a perceived obligation now to widen the stakeholder ownership of urban space. In the UK, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has received government support to encourage a study of urban space and environmental impact even on quite small schemes. This includes money for training local councillors and raising public awareness. CABE (2005a)23 developed 20 ‘building for life’ criteria in an audit for developers, planners and designers. These criteria for housing cover character, roads and parking, design and construction and environment and community.

The golden rule which says ‘do unto others only as you would have done to yourself’, also has an egoist approach where you are comparing others with your own standards. This golden rule is very helpful in moderating behaviour and ‘lifting’ blind spots. It helps to think, for example, if I saw my actions printed on the front page of the newspaper, would I be ashamed? Again, it is based on our own values and may still upset others which may or may not be a problem to us. David Hume talked about the subjectivity of making a judgement of what you ought to do in the absence of a religious or other standard.

For managers to ensure that they can fulfil their ethical responsibilities, they must have a clear purpose and a good understanding of their role – who they are managing for and to whom they are accountable. Having determined their role, it is iterative and will help them to determine what a good purpose is. Professional ethics Professional ethics comes from a different angle, policed by a national or international society to ensure that there is a standard of practice threshold below which there is an assumed ethical code.

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