Professionalism and Ethics:
Legislation and Codes of Conduct
Legislation exists in Australia to protect the vulnerable from unethical behaviour on the part
of business and professionals – The Trade Practices Act (Commonwealth) 1974.
• Misleading and Deceptive Conduct – such as making false statements about your
qualifications or standard of your work for example, false advertising, offering gifts or
incentives with no intention of providing them.
• Unconscionable Conduct – such as taking advantage of someone because you are in
a more powerful bargaining position.
• The Standard of Goods and Services – your services must be of a quality fit for the
purposes for which they are required.
• Manufacturer’s Warranties – normally applies to goods rather than services but you
must explain manufacturer’s warranties to your clients.
• Restrictive Trade Practices – small business can be a victim of the market power of
large corporations who can dictate market terms.
Australian Institute of Architects’ Code of Professional Conduct
(In operation from 31 January 2006, ACUMEN notes last edited 16 November 2011)
The profession of architecture is a unique discipline, combining elements of art, science,
commerce and law. The Institute and its members are dedicated to the advancement of
architecture through involved and innovative practice, with the aim of raising the quality of the
environment and, consequently, the quality of life. In this it seeks to improve standards of
health and safety for the protection and welfare of all members of the community.
Architects who are Institute members commit themselves to the attainment of high standards
in architecture, and through its practice to maintain general wellbeing by upholding
commonly agreed values of:
• ethical behaviour
• equality of opportunity
• social justice
• aspiration to excellence
• competent professional performance
They are expected to:
• serve and advance the public interest through appropriate involvement in civic activities, as
citizens and professionals
• promote environmental awareness and the appreciation of architecture and urban design
• encourage informed public debate on architectural and urban design issues
• respect, conserve, and enhance, the natural and cultural environment
• encourage and maintain responsible ecologically sustainable and energy efficient design
• strive to contribute to the development of architectural knowledge, culture and education
Principle 1: Obligations to the public
Members have obligations to the public to embrace the spirit and letter of the laws governing
their professional affairs, and should thoughtfully consider the social and environmental
impact of their professional activities.
Principle 2: Obligations to the client
Members have obligations to their clients to carry out their professional work faithfully,
conscientiously, competently and in a professional manner, and should exercise judgement
with due regard to relevant technical and professional standards when performing all
professional services. Learned and professional judgement should take precedence over any
other motive in the pursuit of the art, science and business of architecture.
Principle 3: Obligations to the profession
Members have an obligation to uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession, and must in
every circumstance conduct themselves in a manner that respects the legitimate rights and
interests of others.
Principle 4: Obligations to colleagues
Members have an obligation to respect and acknowledge the professional aspirations and
contributions of their colleagues and the contribution made to their works by others.
Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – Code of Professional
Conduct (last updated 2005)
Code of Ethics
Society and Clients
• Promote the highest standard of professional services, and conduct professional duties with
honesty and integrity.
• Support and undertake continuing professional development.
• Observe all laws and regulations related to the professional activities of landscape
• Be fair and impartial in all dealings with clients’ contractors, and at any level of arbitration
and project evaluation.
• Make full disclosure to the client or employer of any financial or other interest that is
relevant to the service or project.
• Undertake public service in local governance and environment to improve public
appreciation and understanding of the profession and environmental systems.
• Promote services truthfully, without exaggeration, or misleading or deceptive claims that
are discreditable to the profession of landscape architecture, or to the work of other
• Ensure local culture and place are recognized by working in conjunction with a local
colleague when undertaking work in a foreign country.
• Act in support of other landscape architects, colleagues and partners in their own and other
disciplines. Where another landscape architect is known to have undertaken work for which
the member is approached by a client, notify the professional colleague before accepting
• Respect the fee regulations of the profession in countries where such regulations exist.
• Participate only in planning or design competitions that are in accordance with the
approved competition principles and guidelines of the AILA.
The Landscape and Environment
• To recognize and protect the cultural and historical context and the ecosystem to which the
landscape belongs when generating design, planning and management proposals.
• Develop, use and specify materials, products and processes that exemplify the principles of
sustainable management and landscape regeneration.
• Advocate values that support human health, environmental protection and biodiversity.
There is currently no general Australian Code of Construction Ethics. The need for such a
code has been argued for – refer McCarthy, S.F. (2012) Developing an Australian Code of
Construction Ethics, Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, Vol 12,
Note: Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in UK (an body which internationally focused
Australian Construction Managers may belong to) has Rules and regulations of professional
competence and conduct. These provide a partial reference point for a future Australian
Professionalism and Ethics: