Sooner or later in their daily working practice, engineers come in contact with issues of professional ethics. Codes of professional conduct are well developed and popular in a number of countries all over the world. Also in Germany, codes of professional conduct were developed for various professions such like medicine, civil and structural engineering as well as architecture over the past decades. As a planner, consultant or specialized expert, civil and structural engineers are obligated to obey the rules of proven professional conduct and modern professional ethics. Their professional practice requires the observation of secured technical knowledge and the obligation for ongoing professional development. The paper provides an overview about professional ethics and engineers’ professional law. Furthermore, it is dealing with the aspects of professional ethics in the civil and structural engineers’ daily working practice and it discusses the question, if rules of professional conduct help to establish clients’ trust in the competence and the moral attitude of civil and structural engineers. The author explains why it is necessary to implement ethical education in universities’ civil and structural engineering programs and to continue the education in the courses for ongoing professional development. Finally, the paper mentions relevant case law. The conclusion is: Codes of ethics may not have the same importance in all countries all over the world. But they can be inspirational and motivating as well as instructive. Codes of conduct help structural engineers to take decisions and are guiding principles in their daily working practice. Therefore, it is necessary to distribute knowledge of professional ethics and to enforce codes of professional conduct.
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