Ethics in Construction
Ethics are a part of our decisions in both everyday life and business — and that includes the construction industry. What we often consider “best practices” or business integrity are likely examples of good ethics in this sector, but how do you actually define ethics in construction? And how can you encourage an ethical construction-company code of conduct?
Ethics in construction need to come from the top to be effective. Management should be promoting good ethics and practices. Workplace culture has a huge role to play here too, as it is not simply a box-ticking exercise, but rather a holistic approach. Companies need to work at improving ethics in construction, and to do that, managers must acknowledge that there may be weak spots in the way they currently do things.
In an industry with a reputation for unethical conduct, construction companies that commit to promoting good ethics in their practices will stand out against competitors. Education can go a long way in raising awareness of what is considered corrupt or unethical behaviour.
Whilst construction companies will benefit from the same ground-level ethics that any business would, there are also wider ethics in construction to consider for the industry. Promoting good ethics in the workplace is commendable, but there is a stage before this in the ethics of planning.
A construction-company code of conduct is an indication that the company is prioritising good practice and values in the workplace. As it isn’t a legal requirement, companies that take these steps should be considered to be going above and beyond what is required of them in order to promote ethical business practices.
Ethical business practices also affect the relationships that a construction company will have with buyers and suppliers. A difference in values can see a breakdown in supply-chain relationships, so a company with a reputation for practising good ethics will be more likely to benefit in future relationships.
Ethics in construction goes hand in hand with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and while this isn’t currently a legal requirement for construction companies, it is good business practice and a great way to demonstrate good ethics. Consider that, just because something can be built, does that mean it should be? CSR has a large role to play in this, and construction companies can only be truly ethical if they critically consider the ethics of some of the early decisions required for a construction project.
Unethical Behaviour significantly increases the cost of doing business