“Ethics and integrity are essential to our work.” – American Institute of Architects

Americans are lately paying close attention to the ethics of our Government, our institutions, and our industries. Too often, what we observe is disappointing.

We have seen the same disintegration in the demeaning way some public and private entities deal with architects. It is too easy to call this the “commodification” of design services; the problem is far deeper.

In my opinion, design professionals have the obligation to act ethically – that is, responsibly and respectfully – in their work and in their community.

In fact, the American Institute of Architects states that it “lead[s] the way through the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence.” My conduct is bound and measured by the AIA’s Code of Ethics, because – beyond being the founder and sole owner of Helpern Architects – I am a long-standing member of AIA and its select College of Fellows. By extension, all who work in the Helpern office are similarly obligated. [The health, safety, and welfare demands of licensure are a different, legal requirement.]

Here is language from the preamble to AIA’s Code about this obligation: “The Code … addresses responsibilities to the public, which the profession serves and enriches; to the clients and users of architecture and in the building industries, who help to shape the built environment; and to the art and science of architecture, that continuum of knowledge and creation which is the heritage and legacy of the profession …”

Here is where you will find on line the entire AIA Code of Ethics and commentary, or you can access it by copying and inserting this code into your browser: http://content.aia.org/sites/default/files/2018-09/2018_Code_of_Ethics_0.pdf

Helpern Architects says, in every proposal, interview, and project that we always tell the truth, and that we always deal with sensitive issues or problems immediately. We expect and require that everyone involved in our work in whatever way to conduct themselves with the same level of integrity.

Much as I’d like to be remembered for the projects we’ve designed and relationships we’ve forged, I also want the firm and me, personally, to be known for the ethical way we have conducted ourselves for almost a half-century. You have my handshake on that.

David Paul Helpern, FAIA