Professional ethics in the South African construction industry

Paul Bowen, Robert Pearl, Akintola Akintoye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Professional codes of conduct have developed to reflect the parameters of normative behaviour within which members of the professions should operate. The professional responsibilities and obligations of members toward their peers, their clients and the general public are usually delineated within these codes of conduct. An overview of business and professional ethics within construction is provided and the ethical issues facing South African construction professions are summarized. Specifically, this paper addresses ethical issues with regard to the breach of professional responsibilities and obligations to clients and the general public, as evidenced from a questionnaire survey of architects, contractors, quantity surveyors and consulting engineers. The survey findings indicate that, notwithstanding noticeable breaches, the professions take their responsibilities and obligations seriously, and regard a balance between their obligations to clients and the general public as paramount. Breaches in professional responsibilities include conflicts of interest and the divulging of confidential and proprietary information to a third party; both professionals and clients are guilty of such breaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • construction industry
  • professional ethics
  • business ethics
  • professional responsibility


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