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The construction industry is full of legal and ethical concerns. Although the government regulates most issues such as fair pricing, workers’ safety, and environmental concerns, professionals should rely on their ethical code to make the right decision. The ethical issue of using hazardous materials, for instance, should always be considered from various points of view. Most legal implications of one’s work are closely connected to the ethical ones, and the issues of these spheres are related to each other. Thus, prices can be negotiated in a legal setting, and various performance measurements regulate one’s safety and health.
The construction industry is susceptible to unethical practices as it features high levels of competition and focuses on low prices. Therefore, it is essential for professionals in this business to remember the connection between their ethical and legal decisions and their effect on other aspects of the industry.
The issue of ethical behaviour of a professional includes not only fair pricing but also environmental protection, sustainability, and health of other people. For instance, the ethical considerations of cost manipulation should concern every specialist, who is interested in maintaining fair prices throughout the industry. According to Murray and Dainty (2013), a reasonable and fair price is one of the key elements of every business operation. Thus, contractors should remember that pricing should not be restricted to competitive aims and depict the real state of the market.
Other ethical concerns are connected to the process of working. The assessment of risks, for example, becomes a legal matter during the process of construction as poor management of possible risks linked to the inappropriate use of equipment, hazardous materials, and untrained staff can lead to health-related problems of workers and other involved individuals (Kelleher et al. 2014). Therefore, the health aspect of this business is also a part of one’s ethical considerations. As Lingard, Wakefield, and Blismas (2013) point out, construction professionals’ work should always consider public safety. Health and safety performance of professionals is a vital part of construction management.
All issues mentioned above are regulated by the legal sphere as well (Table 3.1). Unfair pricing can be challenged in court, while various performance measures regulate the safety of workers. In this business, the ethical and legal implications are related to the same aspects of the profession. Thus, safety is a legal issue as well because it can be measured and standardised (Kibert 2016). The same can be said about the protection of the environment.
Table 3.1: Connection between Ethical and Environmental Aspects.
|Ethical Issue||Legal Implication|
|Work with hazardous materials.||Safety performance of the company.|
|Fair prices.||The regulation of price shopping and price fixing.|
|Sustainability.||Environmental checks, health regulations, use of clean materials.|
The problem of sustainably, while not as transparent as other aspects of construction, is also a subject of legal considerations. The operations of a company related to its environmental and social impact need to be transparent to become sustainable (Siew, Balatbat & Carmichael 2013). Moreover, sustainable construction is regulated by the government which strives to mitigate the negative impact of building activities on society and nature (Gan et al. 2015). Thus, construction professionals should pay attention to the outcomes of their operations not only regarding the stability and quality of their projects but also their influence on the surrounding environment.
Legal and ethical implications of construction are closely connected. The issues linked to these considerations go beyond the financial sphere of business operations and include environmental issues, sustainability, and people’s health and safety. The ethics of construction should be engrained in the work of every professional and encourage them to use strategies that do not harm the surrounding environment. Moreover, every worker should remember the scope of regulations that affect his or her work.
Gan, X, Zuo, J, Ye, K, Skitmore, M & Xiong, B 2015, ‘Why sustainable construction? Why not? An owner’s perspective’, Habitat International, vol. 47, pp. 61-68.
Kelleher Jr, TJ, Mastin, JM, Robey, RG, Smith, C & Hancock, LLP 2014, Smith, Currie and Hancock’s common sense construction law: a practical guide for the construction professional, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Kibert, CJ 2016, Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Lingard, H, Wakefield, R & Blismas, N 2013, ‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it: Measuring health and safety performance in the construction industry’, in The 19th Triennial CIB World Building Congress, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, pp. 1-12.
Murray, M & Dainty, A (eds.) 2013, Corporate social responsibility in the construction industry, Routledge, New York.
Siew, RY, Balatbat, MC & Carmichael, DG 2013, ‘The relationship between sustainability practices and financial performance of construction companies’, Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 6-27.