Responsibilities and Failures of Civil Engineering Profession
When you become a civil engineer, you take on the responsibility to serve the public and improve the quality of life within the community. The ASCE Code of Ethics was established for civil engineers to practice ethical behavior in their profession. The ASCE Code of Ethics is comprised of eight canons. Each having a unique standard of ethical practice. “Conan 6: Uphold Professional Honor”’ states that engineers should uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the profession and shall act with zero-tolerance for bribery, fraud, and corruption. Canon 6 serves as a strong foundation for maintaining professionalism in civil engineering. In recent years, rising awareness of fraud, bribery, and corruption has led to the decline of public trust in the civil engineering profession.
Corruption has been reported to be very rampant in the field of engineering. This is due to the booming industry of construction and infrastructure development being witnessed worldwide. The rapid growth is being witnessed in developing countries which are now opening to infrastructural growth. This means that the industry is in need of construction materials, engineering design and planning and equipment to undertake projects in infrastructure development. The new opportunities opening up in developing countries will offer great potential to actions of corruption (De Jong et al, 2015). Looking at the magnitude of the construction and engineering industry, the future of potential area with a lot of activities and the funds that have been lost to corruption shows a growing scenario of corruption in the industry (De Jong et al, 2015). This cast a dark shadow on the industry and professionals in the construction and engineering sector as it is showing signs of potentially becoming worse.
The effects of bribery, fraud and corruption are being felt as the consequences start to unravel. The financial loss caused by corruption is transferred to other areas that would have benefited should the funds have been used wisely (Chan and Ewusu, 2017). Diversion of resources to cover the arrears left behind by corruption activities affect the human cost. Funds meant to cater for programs such as medicine, water, food supply and hospitals are diverted thus causing human suffering and deaths sometimes. Projects too bear the blunt of corruption as they are built with unsafe designs or the equipment, methods and materials used are of inferior qualities leading to construction of dangerous structures that pose a lot of threat to humans. The activities of corruption set up a series of harmful events that some time lead to death. It is therefore fair to say that corruption leads to death and associating these dark activities to professions such as engineers only aids in tainting the industry and the profession.
There are numerous cases of quacks who are not qualified landing some of the projects through friends who are well connected. Due to their inexperience some of the projects suffer from structural and design failures as they try to undercut the cost or inflate the budget to get more resources to continue remunerating their well-connected friends for the favors they provide (Chan and Ewusu, 2017). The effects of such actions is structures that do not meet the minimum safety and standards requirement set for buildings and constructions. The resulting actions is lawsuits to professional bodies for their negligence and lack of compliance with the regulations of the industry. People too tend to lose trust in such bodies as their safety is not considered when planning for such projects. Lack of social amenities render such structures useless since they are not convenient to the public.
Engineers should be very skeptical in entering deals that may put their reputations at risk. The allures of money are very tempting but it is not worth to sacrifice a career over a few promises of quick money. Such professions should uphold their integrity to make the industry more vibrant and promising since it is their responsibility to serve the public and improve the quality of life within the community as their ethics dictate (Henry, 2019). Betraying their ethics will only lead to dire consequences on the human population as well as the profession itself. Fraud, bribery and corruption should be discouraged to ensure their values are not compromised and the profession does not fall into the hands of quacks.
Despite the allegations of bribery, fraud and corruption rocking the engineering profession there is hope at the end of the tunnel. There have been several attempts by the members of the engineering community to enhance their service by improving and encouraging openness and transparency during decision-making processes from procurement to performance. This is a move to curb the rising cases of corruption related issues that have severely affected the industry. Having a regulatory body that will ensure all the engineers comply with the set standards will be very helpful in ensuring engineers uphold their professional honor. Disbarment from actively being engaged in any engineering activities or consultations will help in improving integrity and adherence to the industry regulations.
In conclusion, it is evident that bribery, fraud and corruption aim to taint the reputation and credibility of civil engineers. Cases of building being detected with structural failures, safety issues due to fraudulent activities during construction of the projects shows a lot of incompetence and ethics degradation. It is therefore very important to enact bodies that will enforce laws and regulations to streamline such profession marred with corruption and redeem it to ensure the public gets value for their money.
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