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The Architects
of Professional
Fourteenth Edition

Joseph A. Demkin, AIA, Executive Editor

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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This book is printed on acid-free paper. 

Copyright 2008 by The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved. AIA and the AIA logo
are registered trademarks and service marks of The American Institute of Architects.

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Published simultaneously in Canada

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or
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Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and the author have used their best efforts
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pleteness of the contents of this book and specically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability
or tness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
The architect's handbook of professional practice / Joseph A. Demkin, executive editor.
14th ed.
p. cm.
American Institute of Architects.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-470-00957-4 (cloth/cd)
1. Architectural practiceUnited StatesHandbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Architectural services
marketingUnited StatesHandbooks, manuals, etc. I. Demkin, Joseph A. II. American
Institute of Architects.
NA1996.A726 2008
Printed in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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Foreword v 4.5 Team Building for Architects 128

4.6 Firm Peer Review 139
Preface vi 4.7 Alliances 144
Acknowledgments vii 4.8 Practicing in a Global Market 153
4.9 Ownership Transition 163
About the Handbook x
5 Marketing and Public Relations 176
5.1 Marketing Strategy and Planning 176
PA RT 1 THE PROFESSION 1 5.2 Seeking the Project 189
Proposal Development 196
1 Professional Life 2
The Project Interview 199
1.1 Ethics and Professional Conduct 2 5.3 Public Relations 201
2004 AIA Code of Ethics &
Professional Conduct 10 6 Client Relations 211
1.2 Participating in Professional 6.1 How Clients Select Architects 211
Organizations 14 6.2 Communicating with Clients 222
1.3 Public Service and Community 6.3 Building Client Relationships 232
Involvement 22
1.4 The Architect in the Political 7 Human Resources 244
7.1 Human Resources Management 244
Process 25
Architects as Employers:
1.5 Participating in Architecture
Legal Requirements 251
Education 30
7.2 Recruiting and Hiring 253
2 Legal Dimensions of Practice 36 Stafng Alternatives 263
New Employee Orientation 266
2.1 Architects and the Law 36
Copyright Law for Architects 43 7.3 Developing and Using Job
The Architect as Expert Witness 48 Descriptions 270
2.2 Regulation of Professional Practice 50 7.4 Staff Compensation and Benets 279
Mandatory Continuing Education 54 7.5 Staff Development and Retention 285
7.6 Developing Leadership Skills 293
3 Professional Development 57
7.7 Resignation, Termination, and Staff
3.1 Lifelong Learning 57 Reduction 307
3.2 Mentoring 66
8 Financial Management 312
PA RT 2 THE FIRM 81 8.1 Financial Planning 312
8.2 Financial Management Systems 322
Computerized Financial Systems 330
4 Firm Development 82
8.3 Maintaining Financial Health 332
4.1 Starting an Architecture Firm 82
4.2 Firm Legal Structure 93 8.4 Acquiring Capital 341
4.3 Strategic Planning for the Design
Firm 103
9 Risk Management 348
9.1 Risk Management Strategies 348
4.4 Firm Identity and Expertise 115 How to Use Risk Assesment Matrixes 360
Establishing a Niche Practice 126 9.2 Insurance Coverage 368
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9.3 Managing and Avoiding Disputes 385

9.4 Dispute Resolution Methods 396 13 Project Management 692
13.1 The Effective Project Manager 692
10 Firm Operations 405 13.2 Managing Architectural Projects 699
10.1 Ofce Administration 405 13.3 Project Controls 718
10.2 Computer Technology in Practice 417 Project Scheduling 731
10.3 Information Management 428 13.4 Managing Fast-Track Projects 735
10.4 Developing and Managing Multiple- 13.5 Construction Cost Management 744
Ofce Firms 434
10.5 Retaining and Archiving Records 445 14 Quality Management 760
14.1 Quality Management in Practice 760
14.2 Maintaining Design Quality 770
15 Building Codes and Regulations 782
15.1 Community Planning Controls 782
11 Project Definition 460
15.2 Building Codes and Standards 803
11.1 Dening Project Services 460
The International Building Code 817
11.2 Architectural Services and
Compensation 469
11.3 Negotiating Agreement 479 P A R T 4 CONTRACTS AND
11.4 Project Delivery Methods 491 AGREEMENTS 825
Construction Management 501
Design-Build Project Delivery 504 16 Types of Agreements 826
16.1 Agreements with Owners 826
12 Project Deliver y 507 16.2 Owner-Generated Agreements 835
12.1 Programming 507 16.3 Project Design Team Agreements 852
12.2 Design Phases 520 Joint Venture Agreements 862
12.3 Construction Documentation 531 16.4 Construction Contracts 865
The U.S. National CAD Standard 559
AIA MASTERSPEC 560 17 AIA Contract Documents 875
17.1 The AIA Documents Program 875
12.4 Bidding or Negotiation Phase 562
2007 AIA Contract Documents 885
12.5 Construction Contract
17.2 AIA Contract Documents Synopses
Administration 574
by Family 887
12.6 Project Closeouts 592
12.7 Sustainable Design 602 Appendices 907
12.8 Environmentally Preferable Product A: Allied Professional Organizations 907
Selection 616 B: State Registration Boards 914
12.9 Research Methods for Architects 628 C: Schools of Architecture 917
12.10 Digital Architectural Survey D: Sample AIA Contract Documents 923
Technologies 642 E: Glossary 983
12.11 Value Analysis 656
12.12 Life Cycle Costing 673
Index 1005
Note: Topic backgrounders are shown in italics.
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he management and operation of an architecture rm, regardless of its size, is

T more important than ever. Keeping a design practice competitive and viable
involves obtaining new commissions, nurturing client relationships, preparing
contracts, controlling project schedules and budgets, recruiting and hiring staff, and
dealing with myriad business and administrative activities.
Almost a century ago, members of our profession had the foresight to recognize
that architects need information about the business component of practice and, to meet
this need, the Institute developed and published the rst edition of the Architects Hand-
book of Professional Practice. In the years since, thirteen editions of the Handbook have
delivered an evolving and expanding body of knowledge to help guide architects
through the business terrain of practice.
In the spirit of the Institutes 150th anniversary themeCelebrating the Past,
Designing the Futurethe 14th edition of the Handbook looks both backward and
forward by weaving tried and proven material with that which is new and emerging.
Comprehensive in scope, the subject matter in this edition, with an emphasis on basics,
has been thoroughly updated and thoughtfully organized.
I highly recommend this compendium of practice knowledge for architects, build-
ing design professionals, and others aspiring to become more informed about the com-
plexities and intricacies of architecture practice. Whether looking for information about
a particular practice issue, checking on a specic point, or explaining a concept to oth-
ers, those in or associated with the building design and construction community can
rely on the Handbook for answers to the issues and challenges they confront in their
professional life and work.

Marshall E. Purnell, FAIA, President

The American Institute of Architects
March 2008

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he Architects Handbook of Professional Practice has been a denitive source of infor-

T mation about the business and administrative aspects of architecture practice since
it was rst published in 1920. Continuing this legacy, this 14th edition brings
together new and thoroughly revised material responsive to the needs of todays archi-
tects and building design professionals.
Since the release of the 13th edition in 2001, a number of signicant changes and
trends in the practice environment have prompted the need for a new edition. Some of
these changes are advances in digital technology, new and emerging approaches to proj-
ect delivery, the adoption of new building codes, and the introduction of new and
revised AIA contract documents.
We were deeply honored when the Institute asked us to serve on the Handbook
Steering Group to provide guidance and leadership for developing the 14th edition.
This challenging yet exciting assignment involved a variety of tasks, which were carried
out individually and in meetings of the Steering Group with the AIA editorial staff at
Institute headquarters.
We began our work with a review of the ndings from a survey of 8,000 Handbook
users conducted in December 2004, along with the results of several Handbook focus
groups. Armed with this important user feedback, we proceeded to carefully evaluate,
topic by topic, the entire content of the 13th edition. To better understand the Hand-
books history and development, we also reviewed earlier Handbooks, including the
rst edition.
Working closely with Handbook editorial staff, these efforts resulted in the iden-
tication of new topics, topics to be revised, and recommendations for material to be
dropped or replaced. The planning effort also included dening a framework for organ-
izing the Handbooks extensive body of information, which eventually resulted in its
nal structure and table of contents.
During the content development phase, the Steering Group provided ongoing
input, advice, and suggestions. This included identifying prospective authors and
reviewers, suggesting resources for specic practice subjects, reviewing selected mate-
rial, and participating in preliminary marketing planning for the 14th edition.
We believe the many hours spent listening, reading, researching, and advising have
produced an indispensable resource that will support the professional endeavors of both
architects and their allied professionals. We sincerely hope that your copy of this edi-
tion becomes as dog-eared over time as have our own copies of past editions. Were
condent you will reach for this volume often as you confront the many decisions
required to develop and run a successful architecture practice.

Members of the Handbook Steering Group

James B. Atkins, FAIA, Chair
Glenn W. Birx, AIA
Karen L. W. Harris, AIA
David L. Hoffman, FAIA
Peter Piven, FAIA
Jill M. Rothenberg, Assoc. AIA
Robert P. Smith, AIA
Norman Strong, FAIA, ex ofcio

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he AIA is deeply indebted to all who participated in developing the 14th edition

T of the Handbook. Particular thanks go to contributing authors who prepared new

material, along with bringing subject matter up-to-date from the 13th edition.
The Institute also extends its appreciation to those who reviewed drafts and provided
useful suggestions for improving content.
Special acknowledgments go to Handbook Steering Group members for their
expert guidance and advice throughout the Handbooks planning and development
stages. Jim Atkins, FAIA, who chaired the steering group, deserves special recognition
for his leadership and for the extraordinary amount of time he devoted to working with
AIA Handbook editorial staff throughout the project.
Notes of appreciation go to AIA staff members who assisted in a variety of ways.
The AIA Documents Program staff, including Suzanne Harness, Esq., AIA, Managing
Director; Kenneth Cobleigh, Esq., Senior Director & Associate Counsel; and Michael
Bomba, Esq., Associate Counsel, provided numerous legal insights and ongoing infor-
mation about the 2007 cycle of AIA documents, which were being developed concur-
rently with the Handbook. Reviews of manuscripts by Jay Stephens, Esq., General
Counsel; Gregory Hancks, Esq., Associate General Counsel; and Terrence Canela,
Esq., Associate General Counsel, are much appreciated, as is the ongoing support and
guidance of Richard L. Hayes, AIA, Managing Director of Knowledge Resources.
A special thank-you goes to Pamela James Blumgart, the Handbooks development
editor. Her knowledge of the Handbooks subject matter was tapped throughout the
effort and her editing skills were well applied in turning mountains of draft material into
nal manuscripts. Notes of appreciation also go to Tracye McQuirter, Jody Curtis, and
Janet Rumbarger for their assistance in editing and manuscript preparation, and also to
Jamie Shrestha for attending to detailed tasks to keep things running smoothly.
The efforts of AIAs publishing partner John Wiley & Sons, Inc., are most appre-
ciated. John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA, Wileys architecture and design acquisitions editor,
was always available to offer insight and advice on publishing matters, and editorial
assistant Raheli Millman was extremely helpful in addressing numerous administrative
details. Michael Olivo, Wiley production editor, was instrumental in keeping the book
on track during production.
On a personal note, I want to express my sincere thanks to each and every person
who contributed to the development of this edition. In addition to being a highly
rewarding experience, it was truly a privilege to work with such a distinguished and
dedicated group of colleagues.

Joseph A. Demkin, AIA

Executive Editor
The American Institute of Architects
Washington, D.C.

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Handbook Participants
Handbook Steering Group David Koren, Assoc. AIA*
James B. Atkins, FAIA, Chair Eugene Kremer, FAIA
Glenn W. Birx, AIA Peggy Lawless
Karen L. W. Harris, AIA Marsha Littell*
David L. Hoffman, FAIA Thom Lowther*
Peter Piven, FAIA Nadav Malin*
Jill M. Rothenberg, Assoc. AIA Kathleen Maurel*
Robert P. Smith, AIA Paul T. Mendelsohn*
Norman Strong, FAIA, ex ofcio Elena Marcheso Moreno
Cliff S. Moser, AIA
Contributing Authors Frank Musica, Esq., Assoc. AIA
Ava Abramowitz, Esq., Hon. AIA Robert Mutchler, FAIA
James B. Atkins, FAIA* Tawny Ryan Nelb*
Phillip G. Bernstein, FAIA* James J. OBrien, Esq.
Gordon B. Bingaman, AIA Jack D. Patton, AIA
Glenn W. Birx, AIA* Bradford Perkins, FAIA
Brien Bowen* Peter Piven, FAIA*
Christopher Bushnell, AIA* Brenda D. Richards, Hon. AIA
Ann Casso Jack Riegle
William Charvat, FAIA Tony Rinella, Assoc. AIA*
Edith Cherry, FAIA William C. Ronco
David S. Collins, FAIA William Roschen, AIA
Richard B. Cook, FAIA Patricia P. Rosenzweig
Karen Courtney, AIA* Andrea Rutledge
Kenneth C. Crocco, FAIA Aaron B. Schwartz, FAIA
Philip R. Croessmann, Esq., AIA Evan H. Shu, FAIA
Richard D. Crowell* Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA
Clark Davis, AIA* Henry Siegel, FAIA
Michael DellIsola, PE* Soren D. Simenson, AIA
William Dexter* Grant Armann Simpson, FAIA*
Laurie Dreyer-Hadley Debra L. Smith, AIA
James T. Dunn, CPA, Assoc. AIA Robert P. Smith, AIA*
Kristine K. Fallon, FAIA Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA
Debra Fiori * Steven G. M. Stein, Esq.
Ellen Flynn-Heapes Larry Strain, FAIA
Phillip H. Gerou, FAIA* Timothy R. Twomey, Esq., AIA*
Lowell V. Getz, CPA* Suzanna Wight, AIA*
Howard Goldberg, Esq.* Roger B. Williams, FAIA
Susan Greenwald, FAIA Howard L. Wolff*
David Greusel, AIA
Dennis J. Hall, FAIA*
Cara Shimkus Hall, Esq., AIA Reviewers
Gregory Hancks, Esq., AIA* Peter Aaslestad, AIA
Suzanne Harness, Esq., AIA* Harold Adams, FAIA
Douglas C. Hartman, FAIA Vicki Allums, Esq.
Hugh Hochberg Michael A. Alost, AIA
David L. Hoffman, FAIA* Lee Askew, FAIA
Mark Johnson, FAIA James Bedrick, AIA
Joseph H. Jones Jr., Esq., AIA* Douglas M. Brinkley, FAIA
David F. Kinzer, III, CPA Paul Brosnahan, AIA
Steven Kirk, FAIA Robert Burnham, AIA
John A. Burns, AIA
* Also served as a reviewer Terrence Canela, Esq.

viii Acknowledgments
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Kathleen S. Cartus Karenlee Oreo

Lee Casaccio, AIA Wendy Ornelas, FAIA
Gregory Clement, FAIA Steven L. Parshall, FAIA
Randolph Collins, AIA Neil I. Payton, AIA
Raymond R. Crawford Jr. Michael Perry, Hon. AIA
John N. Cryer, III, AIA Kathryn T. Prigmore, FAIA
Michael F. Czap, AIA Carroll Lee Pruitt, FAIA
Victoria David, AIA John Pucetas, AIA
Bruce Dicker, FAIA Stephen Quick, AIA
Ed Feiner, FAIA Michael Reilly
Hollye C. Fisk, Esq., FAIA Stephan Reinke, FAIA
Kevin J. Flynn, AIA James Robertson, AIA
Rolf Fuessler Jill M. Rothenberg, Assoc. AIA
Cynthia Gayton, Esq. Catherine Roussel, AIA
Doug Gordon, Hon. AIA Steven G. Shapiro, Esq.
Todd Gritch, FAIA Roger B. Shluntz, FAIA
Ronald P. Gronowski, AIA Christopher G. Smith, FAIA
Nancy Hadley John W. Sorce, AIA
Karen L. W. Harris, AIA Stephen R. Souter, FAIA
Steinberg Harris, FAIA Ray W. Spano, AIA
Helen Hatch, AIA Peter Steinbreuck, AIA
David J. Hatem, Esq. Jay Stephens, Esq.
John Hayes, FAIA Michael Strogoff, AIA
Clay F. Hickerson, AIA Joy Swallow, AIA
Lance Hosey, AIA Bart Trudeau, AIA
Robert W. Johnson Jean Valence
Lance Josal, AIA Steven F. Weiss, FAIA
Duane Kell, FAIA R. Craig Williams, Esq., AIA
Leevi Kiil, FAIA Dan Williams, FAIA
Peter Krajnak, AIA
Larry LeMaster, CPA AIA Project Staff
Foster Lynn, AIA Richard L. Hayes, AIA
Jud Marquardt, FAIA Joseph A. Demkin, AIA
Muscoe Martin, AIA Pamela James Blumgart
Robert F. Mattox, FAIA Jamila Shrestha
Mark C. McConnel, AIA
Thomas L. McKittrick, FAIA Wiley Project Staff
Andrew D. Mendelson, AIA John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA
Jon Miller, AIA Raheli Millman
Kurt M. Neubek, FAIA Michael Olivo
Jill Olney

Acknowledgments ix
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About the Handbook

he Handbook brings together information about the development and operation

T of architecture rms, and the delivery of building design services. This edition
also addresses various facets of professional life, along with how agreements for
professional services are developed and used. Current practice issues such as lifelong
learning and mentoring, ways of staying competitive, sustainable design, building infor-
mation modeling, and the still-evolving concept of integrated practice are among those
incorporated in this edition. Where appropriate, matters of concern to small rm prac-
titioners are highlighted.


Although written primarily for practicing architects, the 14th edition also is a useful
resource for those planning to enter the architecture profession and for those allied
with it. Members of this community include the following:
Architects with at least ve years experience in traditional practice settings who are
on career paths toward management or ownership positions in their rms
Principals, associates, and experienced architects who wish to launch initiatives to
enhance some aspect of their rm (e.g., rm identity, marketing, project delivery,
leadership development, mentoring)
Recently licensed architects seeking a deeper understanding about issues that design
professionals cope with in their daily work
Architects aspiring to start their own rms
Interns and students of architecture looking to increase their understanding of the
Engineers, consultants, attorneys, contractors, and others allied with the design pro-
fession seeking information on working with architects
Building owners seeking information about architectural services


About a third of the material in the 14th edition is entirely new, including ten topics
from Handbook Update volumes 2003 through 2006. All material carried forward from
the 13th edition has been revised and thoroughly updated. In addition, all references
to AIA documents have been aligned with the 2007 versions of those documents.
Organizationally, the 14th edition has four major parts: The Profession, The
Firm, The Project, and Contracts and Agreements. This structure replaces the
parts of the 13th editionClient, Business, Delivery, and Services. In the 14th
edition, selected client-related topics and business subjects from the 13th edition are
included in Part 2: The Firm. Selected subjects from the 13th editions Delivery and
Services sections now appear in Part 3: The Project.
In addition to sample PDFs of all AIA contract documents, the CD-ROMs that accom-
pany the 14th edition contain the complete Handbook text in a searchable format.

Each section of the Handbook contains information about a component of practice:
Part 1: The Profession addresses the ethical, legal and regulatory aspects of archi-
tecture practice and discusses ways that architects can advance careers through

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lifelong learning and mentoring. It also covers how professionals can contribute to
community, public, and educational initiatives.
Part 2: The Firm includes subjects about starting, positioning, and managing archi-
tecture rms. Guidance is given on such matters as developing strategic plans and
rm identity; forming and participating in alliances; conducting a global practice;
getting work through effective marketing; building lasting client relationships;
understanding human resource intricacies of recruiting, hiring, managing, and
retaining staff; implementing and updating nancial management systems; dealing
with risk; and developing and running administrative, computer technology, and
information management functions.
Part 3: The Project focuses on issues associated with dening the scope of proj-
ect services; negotiating agreement for contracts, disputes, and related matters; and
selecting and working with various options for project delivery. Related subjects
address processes associated with the delivery of core architectural services (e.g.,
programming, design, construction documentation, construction procurement, con-
struction contract administration, closeouts, etc.), quality and cost management for
architectural projects, and building code fundamentals.
Part 4: Contracts and Agreements brings together information about developing
owner-architect and project team member agreements, understanding construction
contracts, and working effectively with owner-generated agreements. This section
also overviews the AIA documents program, describing how it operates and the
major changes embodied in the 2007 documents cycle.
Appendixes contain contact information for professional organizations associated
or allied with the design profession, state registration boards for architects, and
accredited schools of architecture. The appendix also includes reference copies of
AIA Documents A201 and B101, as well as a glossary of terms frequently encoun-
tered in practice.


The topic is the basic unit of Handbook content. Each topic addresses a specic aspect
of practice within a practice area designated by a chapter, and each chapter contains two
or more topics. For example, the chapter Firm Development contains topics on start-
ing an architecture rm, rm legal structure, and strategic planning for the design rm,
among others.
Some topics include backgrounders that elaborate on a portion or some aspect of
the topic. For example, the topic Recruiting and Hiring contains backgrounders on
stafng alternatives and new employee orientation.
Most topics conclude with a For More Information section, which lists and
describes relevant resources about the subject. These resources may include publica-
tions as well as organizations.

The Handbook has multiple entry points. Topics can be read individually and in any
order. The index, which contains key words and concepts, will help readers readily nd
specic information. In addition, margin elements on the topic pages contain both nav-
igational and informational features by
Pointing to related Handbook topics and backgrounders
Summarizing relevant ndings from the 2006 AIA rm survey
Highlighting key ideas in brief notes or comments
Reinforcing some aspect of the narrative with a quote

About the Handbook xi

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The Handbook can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Architects and design pro-
fessionals may wish to refer to information in the Handbook to
Check on a specic practice principle, concept, or technique
Explain or clarify some aspect of project services to a client
Develop an effective project proposal
Select and use appropriate AIA contract documents
Implement a marketing or public relations initiative
Create or update the rms long-range business plan
Learn about risk and professional liability issues
Verify facts about professional liability and other insurance
Train staff members as leaders and managers
Inform team members about project assignments
Enhance project management abilities and skills
Upgrade or select a new nancial management system
Develop job descriptions
Obtain guidance for starting a design rm
Understand the ethical and legal aspects of practice
Support professionals preparing for licensing exams
Set up and conduct a mentoring program
Find other sources of relevant practice information


Architects are expected to perform within the legal concept of the standard of care,
which considers what reasonably prudent architects would do in the same community
at the same time, facing the same or similar circumstances. As a result, xed or uniform
standards cannot be used to evaluate the performance of architects. Thus, the Hand-
book does not contain absolute rules and procedures. Rather, it presents concepts, prin-
ciples, techniques, and other fundamental information that together provide guidance
for the day-to-day needs of architects and other building design professionals.

xii About the Handbook

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P A R T 1

The day-to-day practice of architecture is

governed by an assortment of laws,
regulations, and ethical codes that dene
the obligations of architects to the public,
their clients, and their peers. Other aspects
of professional life include professional
development and advancement achieved
through lifelong learning, involvement in
professional organizations, participation in
public and community service, and
mentoring of emerging professionals.
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PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

C H A P T E R 1
Professional Life

1.1 Ethics and Professional Conduct

Phillip H. Gerou, FAIA

Architects are confronted daily with moral choices, competing loyalties, and ethi-
cal dilemmas. Although such situations can be ambiguous or paradoxical, basic
tenets held in common by the profession can help architects determine how to
respond to them.

he need to articulate and advocate ethical standards has never been more critical.

T Concern about professional ethics, while not a recent development, has certainly
become more conspicuous in recent years. This visibility has led to extensive
inquiries into the sources, development, interpretation, and enforcement of ethical
codes. Principles guiding professional conduct are based on the core values held by
that profession. These core values originate in legal denitions, social mores, moral
codes, and common business practices.
Legal systems are based on historical precedent and commonly accepted social
interactions between individuals or legal entities. The rights of individuals are pro-
tected by mutual acceptance of this legal structure. Contractual and other legal respon-
sibilities and their consequences are generally well dened in law and in written
agreements. But when these responsibilities and their consequences are specic to a
profession, they may prove difcult to legally enforce.
There are many social conventions, moral beliefs, and ethical dilemmas that are
not legislated or enforced by any regulatory agency. These may include widely accepted
values but are not part of our legal system because they lack consensus or represent
conicting opinions. These values are often dened by religious doctrine, corporate
policies, or societal rules. While morality describes behavior that is generally accepted

Phillip H. Gerou is a former director and vice president of the American Institute of Archi-
tects and served six years as a member and chairman of the AIA National Ethics Council.

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as either correct or incorrect, ethical situations often present dilemmas in which equally
relevant positions compete.
Ethics is traditionally dened as the rules or standards for moral behavior. Often
the terms morality and ethics are used interchangeably, and to many there is no distinc-
tion between the two. The denition of ethics has also evolved to express a set of val-

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
ues held by a unique and nite group of individuals, such as a corporation, legislature,
industry, or profession. Ethical codes are based on common values and moral laws such
as religious doctrine, social conventions, secular beliefs, and traditional philosophies;
they may even incorporate the values of courtesy, civility, mutual respect, or equality.
Ethical standards for doctors or priests are different in their details from those of archi-
tects or engineers, although the core beliefs and the moral guidelines on which they are
founded may be nearly identical. The distinction in ethical standards depends on the
specic practices of a particular group.
Ethics also dene fairness and equity and quite often relate to issues in which two
parties may hold opposing but equally valid points of view or an individual may be torn
between two compelling positions. For example, an individual may nd that speaking the
truth could breach a condence, someones dedication to a friendship might result in
injury to others if an obligation to protect the public is ignored, or a clients goals could
be at odds with protection of the environment. In certain situations, ethical standards
may take precedence over other important standards. For example, life safety issues are
usually perceived as a primary concern in comparison to, for example, obligations to
employers. Although a solution that positively addresses each competing issue is pre-
ferred, occasionally a choice is necessary. Ethical codes address such situations, but it is
often left to an informed and impartial observer to make the nal judgment.


In the United States, there are two widely used standards of conduct for architects. In
1977 the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) issued a set
of model rules of conduct for use by its member boards. NCARB rules are guided by
certain core values as they pertain to the protection of the life, safety, and welfare of the
public, issues to which architects are legally bound by individual state licensure laws.
NCARBs rules of conduct have been adopted, with modications, by various NCARB
member boards as part of the licensing regulations that apply to individual architects.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has established a Code of Ethics and
Professional Conduct. This code addresses life safety and public welfare issues, and
also includes rules of conduct that deal with professional interactions between archi-
tects and their colleagues and their clients. Members of the AIA are also held account-
able by the code for such broad issues as seeking aesthetic excellence and respecting
the environment.
The rst AIA ethical code was established in 1909. By todays standards, some of the
original principles seem out-of-date. Under the original code, design-build was a for-
bidden practice and paid advertising by architects was not allowed. The code also pro-
hibited architects from competing on the basis of fees or entering design competitions
that were not in keeping with Institute principles. These restrictions were derived more
from the common business practices of the day than universal core values or widely
accepted moral principles.
By the late 1970s, the AIA code of ethics had been signicantly amended. Design-
build became an accepted approach to project delivery, and advertising was no longer
the anathema it had been. By 1972 the U.S. Justice Department had determined that
the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act demanded that architects be allowed to compete on the
basis of fees and that not doing so constituted an unreasonable restraint of trade. In a
1978 case involving the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Supreme Court
ruled that unfettered competition was essential to the health of a free-market econ-
omy, and the only lawful way competition could be constrained was through state or

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federal legislation. In its opinion, the court dismissed arguments stressing the possible
negative effects of fee competition on the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
In 1977, an architect sued the Institute for civil damages when his AIA membership
was suspended for violating the AIA code of ethics by supplanting another architect on
a project. Although the violation was not disputed, in 1978 a federal district court ruled
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

that enforcement of this particular rule in the code violated federal antitrust laws and
the accused architect was awarded substantial monetary damages.
In response to these rulings, in 1980 the AIA suspended its code of ethics. The fol-
lowing year a statement of ethical principles was established as a guideline for the vol-
untary conduct of members. Recognizing a need for mandatory professional guidelines,
the AIA Board of Directors subsequently appointed a task force to propose a substitute
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. In 1986 the membership adopted the new
code at the AIA National Convention. Since that time, minor revisions have been made
to keep pace with current technologies, economic realities, and changing social demands.

AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

ETHICAL CONDUCT The current AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
denes in detail the obligations of AIA members. The code
Some ethical situations are not regulated by the AIA is organized into ve canons that describe broad principles
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. For exam- of conduct: general obligations, obligations to the public,
ple, the profession of architecture as a whole may
obligations to the client, obligations to the profession, and
obligations to colleagues.
aspire to contribute to the preservation of historical
Each canon is dened by a number of ethical standards.
and cultural resources by helping to develop appropri-
These standards provide more dened goals, which mem-
ate building codes or formulating aesthetic guidelines. bers should aspire to in their professional performance and
Nonetheless, some architects are more suited to such behavior. Individual ethical standards incorporate specic
tasks than others; for instance, participation in this rules of conduct that are mandatory and enforceable. Vio-
effort may not be a reasonable requirement for an AIA lation of a rule by an AIA member may be grounds for dis-
member whose expertise lies in financial management ciplinary action by the Institute. Commentary, which is
or graphic design. Similarly, it is not a requirement offered to clarify or elaborate the intent of the rule, is pro-
vided for some of the rules of conduct.
that all AIA members provide pro bono services, as
The code applies to the professional activities of all
some may choose to support causes or organizations
AIA members regardless of their membership category
by other means. A code of ethics cannot embrace and is enforced by the AIA National Ethics Council.
every aspiration of a profession. Rather, it must exhibit Only AIA members are obligated to comply with these
restraint in defining actions to which all members may standards.
reasonably submit.
AIA National Ethics Council
The National Ethics Council (NEC) is made up of seven
AIA members selected and appointed according to specic credentials. Each of the
seven members represents a diverse constituency. They come from various regions
of the country and different types of practice and professional backgrounds, and
they are representative of the general membership based on diverse demographic
criteria. Prospective NEC members are recommended to the AIA Board of Direc-
tors, which makes the nal decision and appointment. Appointments are for a three-
year term, although members of the NEC may be, and usually are, reappointed for
a second three-year term. An NEC member may not serve more than two consec-
utive full terms.
The full ethics council meets three times per year to hear and consider complaints.
The particulars of each case, along with a recommendation for resolving it, are pre-
sented to the NEC by one of its members who serves as a hearing ofcer. This indi-
vidual is then excused while the remaining NEC members consider the report and
recommendation and ultimately decide whether to accept, reject, or modify the hear-
ing ofcers recommendation or to return the case for rehearing.

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The principal responsibility of the NEC as defined by the AIA Bylaws is

enforcement of the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. However, the
NEC also provides guidelines to the public and within the Institute on a variety of
professional topics. In addition, the NEC presents programs at the AIA National
Convention, to AIA components, and to schools of architecture throughout the

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N


Local AIA components manage ethical situations in a variety of ways. Some compo-
nents provide advice and mediation for ethical violations through experienced members
or established committees, while others simply refer local inquiries to the national
organization. The general counsels ofce at the national component is available to
answer technical questions concerning the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Con-
duct and can provide other information to members and nonmembers.
The AIA National Ethics Council has established strict rules of procedure for
considering ethics cases. If it is believed that a member has violated the code of ethics,
anyonea member or nonmember of the AIAmay initiate a formal complaint. The
process followed by the NEC is as follows.
Ethics complaints against AIA
Filing a Complaint members should be addressed to:
Chair, National Ethics Council
A formal, written complaint may be led with the AIA general counsel following a well-
The American Institute of Architects
dened procedure. Complaints must be led within one year of the date when the com-
1735 New York Avenue NW
plainant becomes aware of the alleged infraction. Once a complaint has been led, the
Washington, DC 20006
AIA general counsels ofce informs the accused AIA member of the complaint and
requests a written response.

Initial Chair Review

The complaint, any response, and any other documents provided by either party are
sent to the chair of the NEC for review. If the chair, in consultation with the AIA gen-
eral counsel, determines that the complainants allegations would sustain a violation of
the Code of Ethics if proven true, the case is assigned to a hearing ofcer. If the chair
determines that no violation of the code would exist even if all the complainants accu-
sations were veried, the chair may dismiss the case. Any case that is currently being
litigated or is under consideration by a regulatory authority will be deferred until after
resolution of the legal action.

Assignment of Hearing Officer

If the chair determines the case should be heard, a hearing ofcer is assigned from
among the current NEC members. Personal knowledge of the AIA member or other
party or of the case involved, geographic proximity to the case, or professional back-
ground may be grounds for recusal. Once a case has been assigned to a hearing of-
cer, the ofcer reviews the case to conrm its viability. Although it rarely happens,
the hearing ofcer may recommend dismissal if the facts of the case indicate no vio-
lation occurred or it was de minimis. Normally, however, the hearing ofcer will agree
with the ndings of the chair and will inform the general counsel that the case should

Pre-Hearing Conference
A pre-hearing conference call is arranged with the complainant and the respondent
to discuss the issues and the possibility of a resolution. If no resolution results
from this call, the hearing officer will determine the location and timing for a

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The Hearing
At the hearing, the parties may represent themselves or be represented by legal coun-
sel. The complainant will state the basis for the claim and reference specic rule infrac-
tions. The respondent is allowed to present testimony and additional factual evidence,
but may not introduce documentation not previously disclosed. Witnesses are allowed
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

to testify. The entire procedure is usually concluded in one day.

Repor t, Recommendation, and Decision

The hearing ofcer, in conjunction with the AIA general counsel, prepares ndings of fact
in the case and determines a course of action. If no violation is found, the case is dis-
missed and the parties notied. If the respondent is found to have violated the code, the
hearing ofcer recommends one of four levels of penalty: admonition (private sanction),
censure (public sanction), suspension of membership, or termination of membership. A
written and oral report is then made to the NEC at its next scheduled meeting. The NEC
then votes to uphold or amend the recommendations without the hearing ofcer pres-
ent. Extenuating circumstances, such as the respondents acknowledgment of responsi-
bility or a unique situation, may have a mitigating effect on the hearing ofcers report
or the NECs deliberations. The NECs nal written determination is sent to each party.

Penalty and Notification

The penalties available to the NEC are as follows:
Admonition (private). A letter of the ruling is sent to the parties involved and kept in
the respondents membership le.
Censure (public). A letter is sent and notication of the case and ruling is published
to the AIA membership.
Suspension of membership. The respondents membership is suspended for a period of
time, usually one or two years, and the ruling is published.
Termination of membership. The respondents membership is terminated and the rul-
ing is published.

Appeal of Decision
The respondent may appeal the NECs decision to the AIA Executive Committee,
whose subsequent ruling is nal except in cases in which termination of membership
is the penalty. Those cases are automatically appealed to the AIA Board of Directors.


Although the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct regulates a wide range of
professional activities, several issues generate the majority of complaints. These include
the following:
Attribution of credit (i.e., stating or giving proper credit for project involvement)
Accurate representation of qualications
Attainment and provision of examples of work
Basic honesty
The predominant reason these four issues continually resurface is that each has an iden-
tiable injured partyan angry colleague or an upset clientwho is intent on seeing jus-
tice served. Also, even if the alleged infraction does not have legal or contractual
consequences, it may still comprise an ethical breach. More serious issues, such as misap-
propriation of a clients or partners funds, tend to be presented to the NEC less frequently.
If a member knowingly violates the law (Rule 2.101) or displays discrimination (Rule 1.401),
for instance, other forums with more severe remedies are available to the offended party.
To offer some guidance on issues commonly presented to the NEC, the following
detailed illustrations are offered.

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Attribution of Credit
Architecture is a profession in which design capability and originality is prized. Intel-
lectual property is the most common proof of worth in terms of talent and experience.
However, the collaborative nature of contemporary practice sometimes obscures the
individual contributions of each team participant. The more complex the project and

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
the more prolonged the design and construction process, the more individuals may lay
valid claim to credit for some part of the work.
The most frequent violation of the code of ethics is improperly taking or not giv-
ing appropriate credit and recognition. The NEC recognizes that these infractions are
frequently due to an incomplete understanding of the ethical standards and rules
of conduct that direct members in this area. The following ethical standards apply to
this issue:

Ethical Standard 4.2, Dignity and Integrity: Members should strive, through
their actions, to promote the dignity and integrity of the profession, and to ensure
that their representatives and employees conform their conduct to this Code.
Ethical Standard 5.3, Professional Recognition: Members should build their pro-
fessional reputation on the merits of their own service and performance and should
recognize and give credit to others for the professional work they have performed.

The rules associated with these standards mandate the required professional conduct:

Rule 4.201: Members shall not make misleading, deceptive, or false statements or
claims about their professional qualications, experience, or performance and shall
accurately state the scope and nature of their responsibilities in connection with
work for which they are claiming credit.
Rule 5.301: Members shall recognize and respect the professional contributions of
their employees, employers, professional colleagues, and business associates.
Based on these standards and rules, the NEC has adopted guidelines to help AIA
members determine how to handle this concern, although individual cases may present
circumstances not explicitly covered. These guidelines are recommended for applica-
tion to any oral, written, or graphic representation of an architects work, whether it was
developed for use in a public or private presentation.
Following are the AIA Guidelines for the Attribution of Credit (also published
on the AIA Web site) that should be considered when making representations of an
architects work:

An architectural project, built or unbuilt, involves any of the services provided by or

under the direction of an architect.
In analyzing attribution-of-credit issues, the National Ethics Council typically views
the Architect-of-Record as the legal entity that has contracted for and completed the
work in question. [The entity] can be a corporation, partnership, or individual archi-
tect. If the Architect-of-Record takes credit for a project, there is no further need
to dene the role or state Architect-of-Record. Unless specic attribution is noted,
it is assumed the Architect-of-Record is making a representation of complete
responsibility for a project, including the design, production of construction docu-
ments, and construction observation.
A Member taking credit for a project or a specic role on a project other than as the
Architect-of-Record must clearly dene that role. In addition to the Members spe-
cic role, the Architect-of-Record must be acknowledged.
It is not necessary to present a complete or exhaustive list of all the team participants.
The acknowledgment of major team participants is recommended.
Designation of the Members role and/or the Architect-of-Record must be obvious,
plainly visible, and legible at the anticipated viewing distance. The reference text
should be no less obvious than the text used to describe the project. The description

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must be specic enough to make clear the services the Member rendered on this
project. In the instance of a mailer/postcard that shows only an image of a project on
the front, it is necessary to give the appropriate credit on the other side. The Mem-
ber shall not overstate, actually or implicitly, his/her involvement in a project.
If attribution of credit is not previously dened in a written agreement, and to avoid
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

potential conict, it is recommended that Members open a dialogue between all

concerned parties prior to making any representations.

Accurate Representation of Qualifications

It is human nature and good business practice to present professional qualications
in the best light. However, overstatement, even if well-intentioned, can lead to unre-
alistic expectations on the part of the client or other project participants and thus to
subsequent owner dissatisfaction. The architect-of-record must ultimately be respon-
sible for complying with laws and codes as well as with other commitments, such as
the project budget, a clients goals, a buildings function, or environmental standards.
Rule 1.101: In practicing architecture, Members shall demonstrate a consistent pat-
tern of reasonable care and competence, and shall apply the technical knowledge and
skill which is ordinarily applied by architects of good standing practicing in the same
Rule 3.102: Members shall undertake to perform professional services only when
they, together with those whom they may engage as consultants, are qualied by
education, training, or experience in the specic technical areas involved.
As an architecture rm evolves, its expertise may become somewhat different from
that stated in promotional materials or in a previous statement of qualications. Mem-
bers are obliged to always ensure that the expertise and resources presented match
those that are currently available.
Professionals are often compelled to make commitments regarding time, cost, or
results based more on the urgency of the moment than on rational evaluation. Too
often, architects make changes that affect the scope or budget of a project without pre-
senting viable options or possible ramications of the proposed changes. Architects
may also feel pressure to articulate results by describing the nal product of the work
in terms that naturally speak well of the process and the architects capabilities to attain
those results. Great care and restraint should be taken in clarifying expectations relat-
ing to budget, building function, quality of materials, and other anticipated results of
the design process. Project and individual responsibilities should be clearly dened
contractually and verbally. Revisiting the following statements of obligation periodically
throughout the life of a project is benecial:
Rule 3.103: Members shall not materially alter the scope or objectives of a proj-
ect without the clients consent.
Rule 3.301: Members shall not intentionally or recklessly mislead existing or
prospective clients about the results that can be achieved through the use of the
Members services, nor shall the Members state that they can achieve results by
means that violate applicable law or this Code.
Helping the client reach realistic expectations is important. The medical profession
characterizes this as informed consent, where a patient must be informed of a situation
to the level of understanding that allows an informed decision. Clients in every pro-
fession deserve the same consideration.

Attainment and Provision of Samples of Work

In light of current technologies and the variety of roles that architects perform, den-
ing an architects work is increasingly difcult. For example, should an architect who

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predominantly created or adapted computer software or developed unique technical

details be given copies of that work upon leaving a rm? How can the rights of the rm
and of the employee be protected? Ethical Standard 5.3 pertaining to professional
recognition provides a framework for guidance (see above). The specic rules that apply
to this question are these:

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
Rule 5.302: Members leaving a rm shall not, without the permission of their
employer or partner, take designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other materi-
als relating to the rms work, whether or not performed by the Member.
Rule 5.303: A Member shall not unreasonably withhold permission from a departing
employee or partner to take copies of designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other
materials relating to work performed by the employee or partner that are not con-
In addition, the code provides the following commentary: A Member may impose
reasonable conditions, such as the payment of copying costs, on the right of departing
persons to take copies of their work.
The best advice is that the question of whether and how copies of work will be
granted to an employee should be discussed before an employee decides to leave a rm
or at least during the departure process. This discussion may help mitigate an awk-
ward, emotional, or volatile termination process. A departing employee should expect
to receive reasonable examples of work; the employer is not obligated to make the entire
volume of work produced by the employee available. The
intent is to allow the employee a reasonable opportunity
to present qualications to future employers or potential
clients. It is equally important for the rm to retain pro- COMPETING VALUES
prietary or condential materials and the work products it
rightfully owns, such as renderings, photography, or pro- It seems simple enough to be honest, but even well-
prietary software. The AIA has published a Best Practices meaning professionals from time to time are presented
article titled Personal Use of Documents: A Sample Firm with competing obligations, such as family responsibili-
Policy to help rms establish policies for the ethical use of ties or religious convictions. For example, employees
documents during and after employment. may decide to work outside the ofce to build a client
base, take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate
THE FUTURE design talent, or simply make money. In doing so, they
may unwittingly expose the rm to liability and may com-
Dening professional ethics for the architecture profession
will remain the duty of the American Institute of Architects promise their own ability to perform adequately for the
and its National Ethics Council. As they have in the past, the compensation they are receiving. Or, an employee may
AIA Board of Directors and NEC will periodically reevalu- use the rm's software for personal use, believing that no
ate the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct based on harm is done by making a copy of it. Architects have
the professions core values while responding to societal pres- certainly lied, stolen, defrauded, or taken advantage of
sures, changing business practices, advancing technologies, a situation. Sometimes the individual is well-intentioned,
and lessons learned from the results of future litigation. sometimes not, but almost always he or she feels justied

For More Infor mation in his or her actions.

The AIA Web site at provides Architecture is a profession replete with competing
current information and resources. The process for ling values. Within every project are decisions to be made
a complaint is described. Also posted are the NECs previ- about quality of materials versus budget constraints,
ous decisions and advisory opinions, the rules of procedure, owner-prescribed requirements versus building codes or
the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, guide- architectural review committees, and condentiality ver-
lines for attribution of credit, and answers to frequently sus truthfulness. Resolving these conicts does not require
asked questions. Specic questions may be directed to the
decisions about right and wrong, but rather decisions to
Ofce of the General Counsel at (202) 626-7311. Mem-
resolve situations in which competing principles are
bers of the AIA National Ethics Council may be available
to offer programs, which include case studies, at AIA equally correct but may be mutually exclusive.
national and local events.

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PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N



2004 Code of Ethics Commentary is provided for some of the Rules of Conduct. That
commentary is meant to clarify or elaborate the intent of the rule.

& Professional Conduct The commentary is not part of the Code. Enforcement will be
determined by application of the Rules of Conduct alone; the
commentary will assist those seeking to conform their conduct to
the Code and those charged with its enforcement.
Members of The American Institute of Architects are dedicated to Statement in Compliance With Antitrust Law
the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and The following practices are not, in themselves, unethical,
competence. This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states unprofessional, or contrary to any policy of The American
guidelines for the conduct of Members in fulfilling those Institute of Architects or any of its components:
obligations. The Code is arranged in three tiers of statements: (1)submitting, at any time, competitive bids or price
Canons, Ethical Standards, and Rules of Conduct: quotations, including in circumstances where price is the
Canons are broad principles of conduct. sole or principal consideration in the selection of an
Ethical Standards (E.S.) are more specific goals toward
which Members should aspire in professional performance
(2)providing discounts; or
and behavior.
(3)providing free services.
Rules of Conduct (Rule) are mandatory; violation of a
Rule is grounds for disciplinary action by the Institute.
Rules of Conduct, in some instances, implement more than Individual architects or architecture firms, acting alone and not on
one Canon or Ethical Standard. behalf of the Institute or any of its components, are free to decide
for themselves whether or not to engage in any of these practices.
The Code applies to the professional activities of all classes of Antitrust law permits the Institute, its components, or Members to
Members, wherever they occur. It addresses responsibilities to the advocate legislative or other government policies or actions
relating to these practices. Finally, architects should continue to
public, which the profession serves and enriches; to the clients
and users of architecture and in the building industries, who help consult with state laws or regulations governing the practice of
to shape the built environment; and to the art and science of architecture.
architecture, that continuum of knowledge and creation which is
the heritage and legacy of the profession.

CANON I consistent pattern of reasonable education, research, training, and

care and competence, and shall practice.
General Obligations apply the technical knowledge E.S. 1.3 Natural and Cultural Heritage:
and skill which is ordinarily Members should respect and help
Members should maintain and advance applied by architects of good conserve their natural and cultural
their knowledge of the art and science of standing practicing in the same heritage while striving to improve
architecture, respect the body of locality. the environment and the quality
architectural accomplishment, contribute Commentary: By requiring a "consistent of life within it.
to its growth, thoughtfully consider the pattern" of adherence to the common law E.S. 1.4 Human Rights: Members should
social and environmental impact of their standard of competence, this rule allows uphold human rights in all their
professional activities, and exercise for discipline of a Member who more than professional endeavors.
learned and uncompromised professional
infrequently does not achieve that
standard. Isolated instances of minor Rule Members shall not discriminate in
lapses would not provide the basis for 1.401 their professional activities on the
E.S. 1.1 Knowledge and Skill: Members
discipline. basis of race, religion, gender,
should strive to improve their
professional knowledge and skill. national origin, age, disability, or
E.S. 1.2 Standards of Excellence: sexual orientation.
Members should continually seek
Rule In practicing architecture,
1.101 Members shall demonstrate a to raise the standards of aesthetic
excellence, architectural

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E.S. 1.5 Allied Arts & Industries: alleged violation of this rule is based on a Rule Members making public
Members should promote allied violation of a law, or of fraud, then its 2.301 statements on architectural issues
arts and contribute to the proof must be based on an independent shall disclose when they are

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
knowledge and capability of the finding of a violation of the law or a being compensated for making
building industries as a whole. finding of fraud by a court of competent such statements or when they
jurisdiction or an administrative or have an economic interest in the
CANON II regulatory body. issue.

Obligations to the Public Rule If, in the course of their work CANON III
2.105 on a project, the Members
Members should embrace the spirit and become aware of a decision taken
letter of the law governing their Obligations to the Client
by their employer or client which
professional affairs and should promote violates any law or regulation and
and serve the public interest in their Members should serve their clients
which will, in the Members
personal and professional activities. competently and in a professional manner,
judgment, materially affect
and should exercise unprejudiced and
adversely the safety to the public unbiased judgment when performing all
E.S. 2.1 Conduct: Members should of the finished project, the
uphold the law in the conduct of professional services.
Members shall:
their professional activities. (a) advise their employer or client E.S. 3.1 Competence: Members should
against the decision, serve their clients in a timely and
Rule Members shall not, in the conduct (b) refuse to consent to the
2.101 of their professional practice, competent manner.
decision, and
knowingly violate the law.
(c) report the decision to the local Rule In performing professional
Commentary: The violation of any law,
building inspector or other public 3.101 services, Members shall take into
local, state or federal, occurring in the
official charged with the account applicable laws and
conduct of a Member's professional
enforcement of the applicable regulations. Members may rely
practice, is made the basis for discipline
laws and regulations, unless the on the advice of other qualified
by this rule. This includes the federal
Members are able to cause the persons as to the intent and
Copyright Act, which prohibits copying
matter to be satisfactorily meaning of such regulations.
architectural works without the permission
resolved by other means.
of the copyright owner: Allegations of
Commentary: This rule extends only to Rule Members shall undertake to
violations of this rule must be based on an
violations of the building laws that 3.102 perform professional services
independent finding of a violation of the
threaten the public sa fety. The obligation only when they, together with
law by a court of competent jurisdiction or
under this rule applies only to the safety of those whom they may engage as
an administrative or regulatory body.
the finished project, an obligation consultants, are qualified by
coextensive with the usual undertaking of education, training, or experience
Rule Members shall neither offer nor
an architect. in the specific technical areas
2.102 make any payment or gift to a
public official with the intent of involved.
Rule Members shall not counsel or Commentary: This rule is meant to ensure
influencing the official's
2.106 assist a client in conduct that the that Members not undertake projects that
judgment in connection with an
architect knows, or reasonably are beyond their professional capacity.
existing or prospective project in
should know, is fraudulent or Members venturing into areas that require
which the Members are
illegal. expertise they do not possess may obtain
Commentary: This rule does not prohibit that expertise by additional education,
E.S. 2.2 Public Interest Services: training, or through the retention of
campaign contributions made in
Members should render public consultants with the necessary expertise.
conformity with applicable campaign
interest professional services and
financing laws.
encourage their employees to Rule Members shall not materially
render such services. 3.103 alter the scope or objectives of a
Rule Members serving in a public
E.S. 2.3 Civic Responsibility: project without the client's
2.103 capacity shall not accept
payments or gifts which are Members should be involved in consent.
intended to influence their civic activities as citizens and
judgment. professionals, and should strive to E.S. 3.2 Conflict of Interest: Members
improve public appreciation and should avoid conflicts of interest
Rule Members shall not engage in understanding of architecture and in their professional practices and
2.104 conduct involving fraud or the functions and responsibilities fully disclose all unavoidable
wanton disregard of the rights of of architects. conflicts as they arise.
Commentary: This rule addresses serious
misconduct whether or not related to a
Member's professional practice. When an


1.1 Ethics and Professional Conduct 11

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Rule A Member shall not render Rule Members shall not knowingly Commentary: Responsible control means
3.201 professional services if the 3.401 disclose information that would the degree of knowledge and supervision
Members professional judgment adversely affect their client or ordinarily required by the professional
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

could be affected by that they have been asked to standard of care. With respect to the work
responsibilities to another project maintain in confidence, except as of licensed consultants, Members may sign
or person, or by the Members other wise allowed or required by or seal such work if they have reviewed it,
own interests, unless all those coordinated its preparation, or intend to
this Code or applicable law.
who rely on the Members be responsible for its adequacy.
Commentary: To encourage the full and
judgment consent after full
open exchange of information necessary
disclosure. Rule Members speaking in their
for a successful professional relation-
Commentary: This rule is intended to 4.103 professional capacity shall not
ship, Members must recognize and respect
embrace the full range of situations that knowingly make false statements
the sensitive nature of confidential client
may present a Member with a conflict of material fact.
communications. Because the law does not
between his interests or responsibilities Commentary: This rule applies to
recognize an architect -client privilege,
and the interest of others. Those who are statements in all professional contexts,
however, the rule permits a Member to
entitled to disclosure may include a client, including applications for licensure and
reveal a confidence when a failure to do
owner, employer, contractor, or others AIA membership.
so would be unlawful or contrary to
who rely on or are affected by the
another ethical duty imposed by this Code.
Members professional decisions. A
E.S. 4.2 Dignity and Integrity:
Member who cannot appropriately
CANON IV Members should strive, through
communicate about a conflict directly with
their actions, to promote the
an affected person must take steps to
dignity and integrity of the
ensure that disclosure is made by other Obligations to the Profession
profession, and to ensure that
their representatives and
Members should uphold the integrity and employees conform their conduct
Rule When acting by agreement of the dignity of the profession.
3.202 parties as the independent to this Code.
interpreter of building contract
E.S. 4.1 Honesty and Fairness: Rule Members shall not make
documents and the judge of
Members should pursue their 4.201 misleading, deceptive, or false
contract performance, Members
professional activities with statements or claims about their
shall render decisions impartially. professional qualifications,
Commentary: This rule applies when the honesty and fairness.
experience, or performance and
Member, though paid by the owner and shall accurately state the scope
owing the owner loyalty, is nonetheless Rule Members having substantial
and nature of their responsibilities
required to act w ith impartiality in 4.101 information which leads to
in connection with work for
fulfilling the architects professional a reasonable belief that another
which they are claiming credit.
responsibilities. Member has committed a Commentary: This rule is meant to prevent
violation of this Code which Members from claiming or implying credit
E.S. 3.3 Candor and Truthfulness: raises a serious question as to that for work which they did not do, misleading
Members should be candid and Members honesty, others, and denying other participants in a
truthful in their professional trustworthiness, or fitness as a project their proper share of credit.
communications and keep their Member, shall file a complaint
clients reasonably informed about with the National Ethics Council. Rule Members shall make reasonable
the clients projects. Commentary: Often, only an architect can 4.202 efforts to ensure that those over
recognize that the behavior of another whom they have supervisory
Rule Members shall not intentionally architect poses a serious question as to authority conform their conduct
3.301 or recklessly mislead existing or that others professional integrity. In those to this Code.
prospective clients about the circumstances, the duty to the Commentary: What constitutes
results that can be achieved professionals calling requires that a reasonable efforts under this rule is a
through the use of the Members complaint be filed. In most jurisdictions, a common sense matter. As it makes sense to
services, nor shall the Members complaint that invokes professional ensure that those over whom the architect
state that they can achieve results standards is protected from a libel or exercises supervision be made generally
by means that violate applicable slander action if the complaint was made aware of the Code, it can also mak e sense
in good faith. If in doubt, a Member to bring a particular provision to the
law or this Code.
Commentary: This rule is meant to should seek counsel before reporting on attention of a particular employee when a
preclude dishonest, reckless, or illega l another under this rule. situation is present which might give rise
representations by a Member either in the to violation.
course of soliciting a client or during Rule Members shall not sign or seal
performance. 4.102 drawings, specifications, reports,
or other professional work for
which they do not have
E.S. 3.4 Confidentiality: Members should
responsible control.
safeguard the trust placed in them
by their clients.

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2 0 0 4 C O D E O F E T H I C S A N D P R O F E S S I O NA L C O N D U C T

CANON V Commentary: A Member may impose *2004 Edition. This copy of the Code of
reasonable conditions, such as the payment Ethics is current as of September 2004.
of copying costs, on the right of departing Contact the General Counsels Office for

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
Obligations to Colleagues
persons to take copies of their work. further information at (202) 626-7311.
Members should respect the rights and ac-
knowledge the professional aspirations and RULES OF APPLICATION,
contributions of their colleagues.
E.S. 5.1 Professional Environment: AMENDMENT
Members should provide their
associates and emp loyees with a Application
suitable working environment, The Code of Ethics and Professional
compensate them fairly, and Conduct applies to the professional
facilitate their professional activities of all members of the AIA.
E.S. 5.2 Intern and Professional Enforcement
Development: Members should The Bylaws of the Institute state
recognize and fulfill their procedures for the enforcement of the Code
obligation to nurture fellow of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Such
professionals as they progress procedures provide that:
through all stages of their career,
beginning with professional (1) Enforcement of the Code is
education in the academy, administered through a National Ethics
progressing through internship Council, appointed by the AIA Board of
and continuing throughout their Directors.
E.S. 5.3 Professional Recognition: (2) Formal charges are filed directly with
Members should build their the National Ethics Council by Members,
professional reputation on the components, or anyone directly aggrieved
merits of their own service and by the conduct of the Members.
performance and should recognize
and give credit to others for the (3) Penalties that may be imposed by the
professional work they have National Ethics Council are:
performed. (a) Admonition
(b) Censure
Rule Members shall recognize and (c) Suspension of membership for a
5.301 respect the professional period of time
contributions of their employees, (d) Termination of membership
employers, professional
colleagues, and business (4) Appeal procedures are available.
(5) All proceedings are confidential, as is
Rule Members leaving a firm shall not, the imposition of an admonishment;
5.302 without the permission of their however, all other penalties shall be made
employer or partner, take designs, public.
drawings, data, reports, notes, or
other materials relating to the Enforcement of Rules 4.101 and 4.202 refer
firms work, whether or not to and support enforcement of other Rules.
performed by the Member. A violation of Rules 4.101 or 4.202 cannot
be established without proof of a pertinent
Rule A Member shall not unreasonably violation of at least one other Rule.
5.303 withhold permission from a
departing employee or partner to Amendment
take copies of designs, drawings, The Code of Ethics and Professional
data, reports, notes, or other Conduct may be amended by the
materials relating to work convention of the Institute under the same
performed by the employee or procedures as are necessary to amend the
partner that are not confidential. Institutes Bylaws. The Code may also be
amended by the AIA Board of Directors
upon a two-thirds vote of the entire Board.

1.1 Ethics and Professional Conduct 13

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1.2 Participating in Professional

Andrea S. Rutledge, SDA, CAE
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

Participating in professional organizations can help architects enrich their

careers and contribute to the advancement of the profession.

t seems as though there is an association for everything. Nearly every profession,

I vocation, avocation, or trade has a society or association organized to meet the

specic needs of its members, and the United States has the most fully developed
association sector in the world. Even Garrison Keillor spoofed our national proclivity
for forming associations, inventing the American Duct Tape Council as a ctitious
sponsor of his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion.
The most basic function of associations is to distinguish their members from oth-
ers in similar professions or types of commerce or to bring together individuals with
common vocational interests (e.g., the American Industrial Hygiene Association) or
avocational interests (e.g., the Road Runners Club of America). Such organizations
are most often formed to provide information to the public; to set standards for a
profession, system, or service; to represent their members interests before legisla-
tures or regulatory bodies; or to provide services or products that enable their mem-
bers to succeed.

Groups of people associated by the business they engage in have been around for a
long time. The most recognizable precursors of todays professional associations are
the guilds of Western Europe. The guild system, with its formalized apprenticeships
and protective regulations, has its origins in Roman culture. Guilds established stan-
dards for production, set prices, monitored sales, oversaw wages and hours, and main-
tained training and apprentice programs. Membership was not voluntary, and the
competition with similar guilds from other cities could be erce. In many cities, guilds
came to wield substantial political power and were able to inuence civic decisions as
well as some of those made by the church. For example, in 1418, the Wool Guild in Flo-
rence was involved in design and construction of the famous cathedral dome. And in
London, the annual election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London was heavily
inuenced by the guilds.
The guilds lost power and influence as the modern market economy and dem-
ocratic principles began to spread. Instead of guilds designed to control trade for
their members in a specific commodity or trade within a specific city or town,
organizations of merchants and other artisans formed to encourage and support
common commercial interests. For example, the first chamber of commerce was
formed in New York State in 1768, and the New York Stock Exchange was estab-
lished in 1792.
During the nineteenth century Industrial Revolution, new trade associations and
professional societies began forming in the United States, particularly among busi-
ness owners. By 1890 many of these were well established and were lobbying Con-
gress, holding regular meetings, and maintaining ofces. The American Institute of

Andrea Rutledge is executive director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board in

Washington, D.C.

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Architects falls into this category. Founded in 1857, the AIA celebrated its thirty-
third anniversary in 1890 and had just elected its third president. Other familiar
organizations were founded later: the American Bar Association (1878), the
National Society of Professional Engineers (1905), the Associated General Con-
tractors of America (1918), and the American Council of Engineering Companies

PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N
In the twentieth century, associations and professional societies became more
organized, hiring staff trained to support activities of the group, codifying rules and
procedures for boards, establishing criteria for membership, and developing an
expanding range of services for their members. These groups have coalesced into
several distinctive types. The following denitions come from The Association Law
Professional societies are composed of individuals or members who have
acquired knowledge and experience that qualifies them as specialists in perform-
ing particular services. These groups can be horizontal, servicing one functional
level of an industry or profession; alternatively they can be vertical, serving all
functional levels. Professional societies related to design and construction include
the International Facility Management Association, the Building Owners and
Managers Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Society
for Design Administration (SDA), and the American Institute of Architects, among
Trade associations are composed of individuals or firms concerned with a single
product or service or those concerned with a number of related products or serv-
ices. A number of trade associations represent participants in the design and con-
struction industry, including the Associated General Contractors of America
(AGC), the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Manufactur-
ers Association.
Charitable institutions are composed of members with interests in whatever kind of
science, educational area, or charity is represented by the association. Included in this
category are the American Architectural Foundation, the Corcoran Museum of Art,
and the Smithsonian Institution.


People often decide to join professional associations because of an invitation from
another professional in their eld. Members renew their membership over time because
they value specic services the association provides. The services commonly provided
by professional societies are described in this section.

Bringing People Together to Effect Change

In his 2001 book Principles of Association Management, Henry L. Erstthal, CAE, sug-
gests the uniqueness of associations rests in their members strong feelings of own-
ership and involvement in decision making. Members believe they can make
themselves heard and effect change within and through their associations. This is a
central reason many cite for joining a professional society or trade association. In a
2006 survey of AIA members needs, 64 percent of respondents indicated they joined
the Institute to show my commitment to the profession. These individuals clearly
believe that collectively, under the aegis of a professional society, they have greater
control over the elements that shape and inuence their work. In addition to con-
tributing to their professions, many join associations to develop professional net-
works and contacts. Many experienced professionals remark on the value of spending
time in the company of other professionals talking about the things that matter, devel-
oping lifelong networks and relationships, and learning from one another in informal

1.2 Participating in Professional Organizations 15

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Providing Resources to Members

Another reason people join professional societies is to gain access to knowledge and
services that will help them address particular problems. These resources take many
forms depending on the association. The AIA, for instance, has for many years pub-
lished contract documents for use in the design and construction industry, as well as
PA R T 1 : T H E P R O F E S S I O N

a monthly economic report (Work-on-the-Boards), which analyzes the economic

trends that affect design and construction. The Society for Design Administration
has developed a software program for tracking the continuing education require-
ments of a rms licensed professionals. Most professional associations today provide
members-only Web sites with much information valuable to the everyday life of
their members.
It is against the law for associations to deny nonmembers access to products and
services they provide to their members if, as cited in the Association Law Handbook,
those products or services may be considered to confer important competitive or eco-
nomic benet. However, it is considered lawful to charge nonmembers a higher fee
for products and services as long as the difference between the member fee and the
nonmember fee is not so high it compels membership. In other words, the mem-
ber/nonmember price difference for the 2006 AIA Firm Survey cannot be the same as
the current dues rate.

Promoting the Value of Professional Members

Most professional associations aggressively promote their members as better pre-
pared, more knowledgeable, and more likely to serve the public than nonmembers.
For example, many associations, through public relations and marketing campaigns,
promote their members as providers of the highest degree of professional service to
the client.

Connecting Groups of Allied Professionals

In his 1997 book Professional Practices in Association Management, John B. Cox, CAE,
says, The fundamental proposition undergirding all coalitions is simple: People who
share a common purpose and perspective can accomplish more when they collabo-
rate than when they pursue narrower interests on their own. And while associations
are themselves coalitions, they often work institutionally with other, related organi-
zations to achieve common goals. Sometimes associations form coalitions for spe-
cic purposes; for example, in 2006 the American Society of Association Executives
(ASAE) led a broad-based coalition of associations to lobby for passage of federal leg-
islation that would enable associations to form groups for the purpose of providing
health insurance for their members small businesses (e.g., sole practitioners). Other
coalitions are formed for more general purposes, as the AIA/AGC Joint Committee,
which has met twice each year for more than fty years to discuss issues of mutual
interest and concern.

Offering Continuing Education Programs

Licensing of professionals, especially those whose business may affect the health,
safety, and welfare of the public, is a state responsibility. Consequently, each state has
established requirements for receiving and maintaining a professional license. In
many cases, maintaining a license includes a requirement for continuing education.
This is especially true in architecture and the law. Professional societies are often the
primary provider of continuing education for their members, and because profes-
sional societies are precluded by law from excluding nonmembers from the programs
they offer, the societies become the primary provider of continuing education for the
entire profession.

16 Professional Life