The Importance of Ethics in Engineering
Engineers have an ethical responsibility to the public, the profession, and the world at large. Engineers’ work shapes our urban environment and, in turn, the way people see, interact with, and operate the world around them.
In this guide, we’re exploring the importance of ethics in engineering—why it’s so critical that engineers act in accordance with the profession’s defining principles.
Prioritizing the Public’s Best Interests
Ethical standards demand that engineers always hold paramount the best interests of the public. By doing so, engineers protect:
What does this look like in real-time?
Perhaps an engineer is presented with an ethical dilemma—a client wishes to cut costs by using materials that haven’t performed well in recent case studies. The lower-cost materials could deteriorate more quickly, potentially creating public safety hazards.
In this scenario, the ethical engineer should strongly encourage the client to choose the product that will prevent public safety risks, facilitate a more successful project, and protect the people who will interact with the building.
Bolstering the Profession
By acting in accordance with established ethical guidelines, engineers protect the profession and its defining standards as a whole.
Ethical efforts to achieve this goal include:
Providing services within the scope of their licensure and competency only
Disclosing and appropriately responding to conflicts of interest
Presenting unethical or illegal engineering practices to the authorities
Giving credit for innovations, designs, and ideas where credit is due
When engineers prioritize ethical practices, they uphold the legitimacy of the profession, secure a future for up-and-coming engineers, and maintain the field’s high-quality standards.
Promoting Equity and Sustainability
The engineers’ code of ethics demands that professionals do their best to promote equity in the field and sustainability efforts in the building trade.
Ethically, engineers are obligated to issue public statements, arguments, criticisms, or opinions that:
Only address technical matters
Don’t create conflicts of interest
By speaking in the best interest of the profession and the public—instead of for their sole gain or for the benefit of parties that stand to profit from their statements—engineers maintain a field that values equal opportunities and professional transparency.
In addition, engineers have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations by promoting and adhering to standards of sustainable development. Engineers might accomplish this task by:
Only accepting contracts for sustainable projects
Meeting personal or firm-wide sustainability objectives on every project
Promoting sustainable changes to design standards or building codes
Engaging with sustainable education and professional development materials
MFS Engineering: Experience, Ethics, and Expertise
Engineers have a responsibility to act ethically. When they prioritize ethics, engineers protect the public, sustain and improve the profession, and guarantee a brighter future for the field and the built environment at large.
At MFS Engineering, we strive to provide real-world solutions to the world’s most complex problems, and our ethics only help us achieve this goal.
We’re a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, and we promote excellence and ethics in everything we do—from structural engineering to surveying, geotechnical services, civil engineering, and so much more.
If you need engineers who can innovate long-lasting solutions, we’re just a phone call away. Contact us today to start designing your next project.