Professionalism and ethics in construction
The construction industry has a poor ethical image in most countries, suffering from corruption, malpractice and mismanagement on projects, predatory business practices and poor responsibility towards the well-being of its own workforce and stakeholders. It is estimated that up to one-third of governments' investments in construction is lost through corruption and mismanagement.
Society expects the construction professions to deliver the much needed buildings and infrastructure, with a focus on the well-being of the community.
From 21-22 November 2018, we hosted a debate on the state of professionalism and ethics in the construction industry around the world.
This conference was organised by CIB Task Group 95 on Professionalism and Ethics and LSBU, and co-organised by Applied Science University, Bahrain; Federal University of Technology, Nigeria; and CoST, the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative.
The conference chairpersons were London South Bank University's Professor Charles Egbu and Professor George Ofori.
The conference included four plenary sessions (two on each day); technical sessions for academics and practitioners; dialogue sessions on professionalism and ethics; and a debate on a contemporary topic.
Aims and objectives
- Review construction professions in different countries and their implications
- Consider the importance of ethics in construction and the current state of adherence to ethics globallly
- Discuss what can be done to develop construction professions and practitioners to enhance the levels of professionalism, ethics and the industry’s social image, and improve performance
- Professor of Construction Management at UCL, Jacqui Glass, is interested mainly in the principles and practice of sustainability and ethics, and has a track record in responsible and ethical sourcing, which relates to material and product supply chains. Having founded the Action Programme for Responsible and Ethical Sourcing (APRES) in 2010, much of her research has focused on the implementation of responsible sourcing.
She has published over 150 papers, secured over £4m of funding (from research councils and industry) and supervised more than 20 doctoral students to completion. Her leadership in research and enterprise is extensive, having previously been a Director of an EPSRC CDT (the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering), and an Associate Dean for Enterprise. She was nominated as one of the top 25 Built Environment Influencers, Ecobuild 2015 and top 100 against Corporate Modern Slavery, BRE 2018.
- Chris Blythe is the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building (COIB). After becoming a Management Accountant, Chris worked in a number of financial roles, which included Dunlop, Birmid Qualcast, Mitel, W Canning, Corgi Toys and GKN. In 1991, he joined the North & Mid Cheshire Training and Enterprise Council, based in Warrington. He became Chief Executive in 1994.
For more than 25 years Chris has been involved in vocational education and training together with business development. Chris has been Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building since January 2000. In the Queen's 2017 New Year’s Honours list Chris received an awarded of Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the 'Construction Industry and Government.'
- Neill Stansbury is Co-founder and Director of the Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC). He is a construction lawyer who has worked for over 30 years in the international infrastructure sector. He is Past Chairman of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Anti-Bribery Project Committee, Past Chairman of British Standards Institution Anti-Bribery Working Group, and Vice Chairman of the World Federation of Engineering Organisation’s Anti-corruption Standing Committee. He was independent anti-corruption compliance monitor of Balfour Beatty, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Mabey Bridge.
Neill is co-author of various anti-corruption tools including the GIACC Resource Centre and has given anti-corruption presentations and workshops in over 25 countries. He received an award as one of the “Top 25 Newsmakers for 2007” from the “Engineering News-Record” for his work in preventing corruption in the international construction industry. In 2008, Neill was named “International Fellow of the Year” by the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers for his anti-corruption work. In 2010, he was invited to become a Fellow of the UK Institution of Civil Engineers and received a Leadership Award from the British Standards Institution for his work in leading the development of the anti-bribery standards, BS 10500 and ISO 37001.
- Professor Ghassan Aouad has been the President of Applied Science University since November 2014. He spent five years in the Department of Civil and Building Engineering of Loughborough University, where he obtained his MSc in Construction (1987) and his PhD entitled Integrated Planning Systems for the Construction Industry (1991). In 1992, Professor Aouad joined the University of Salford as a Research Fellow and progressed through to the role of Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Dean of the College of Science & Technology, before leaving in December 2011.
During this time, he has authored 3 major research books and co-authored one book, generated more than £10M in research funding as Principal Investigator and £8M as Co-Investigator, published 92 papers in top rated refereed journals, delivered more than 50 keynote speeches, and presented his work in more than 42 countries.
In January 2012, he became President of the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) and in May 2013, he became Vice President for Academic Affairs at Gulf University for Science & Technology (GUST) based in Kuwait. Furthermore, Prof Aouad was appointed as Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in March 2010 and became President in June 2014 for a year. In July 2016, Professor Aouad received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from Loughborough University in the UK.
- Wim Bakens graduated in 1975 as Architectural Engineer from the University of Technology in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where he in 1992 also successfully finalized his Ph.D. study with a dissertation on "The future of Construction". After having been employed for about 7 years at the Dutch Ministry for Housing, Construction and Physical Planning, were he was responsible for building and construction related research and regulatory systems, he became first a senior consultants and later a partner with one of the biggest Dutch Management Consultancies. There he was responsible for a group of consultants that focused on research and consultancy in the construction industry.
During that time he also was Coordinator of the CIB Working Commission W082 - Future Studies in Construction - and in that position he was the main author of the CIB Publication entitled "Future Organization of the Building Process". Since 1994, he has been the Secretary General of CIB - The International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction and in 2010 was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster in London.