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Notes of Engineering Professional Practice [CE 752]

Profession and Ethics



- Profession is the vocation (feeling for particular occupation) founded on the systematic knowledge acquired through specialized educational training.
- Profession is those occupation that needs special skill and training.
- Profession delivers services to the society that helps to achieve progressive social change.

Characteristics or Features of a Profession

1. A profession must need strong theoretical knowledge and skills to apply those knowledge in practice.
2. Profession have professional bodies which includes professionals and are intended to enhance status of their members and require some qualification for being member of that body.
3. Profession must have sense of together associated with the professionals of same profession.
4. Profession should register a membership for authentication of knowledge and skills for professionals.
5. Profession require extensive education period of at least 3 years in University.
6. Each profession has its own code of conduct and code of ethics to be followed.
7. Profession should focus on public service rather than self interest.
8. Profession should exclude those who have not meet the qualification requirements.
9. Profession achieve high status and rewards from the public.
10. Profession should have clear legal authority over the activities that it performs.

Engineering Profession

- Engineering profession is the occupation that is performed by the professional and licensed engineers for the positive progress in technology and society.
- The features of the engineering profession are as follows:
1. Theoretical knowledge
2. Long training period
3. Relevant to social values
4. Service oriented
5. Complete autonomy
6. High sense of community
7. Long term commitment
8. Highly developed code of ethics

Professional Institutions

- Professional institution is an independent body that regulates the practice of professional engineering and governs its members in accordance with the rules of the body and act of the country so as to serve the public interest.
- It is the organization that represents the interest of the professional practitioner.

Objectives of Professional Institutions

1. Center of learning through professional interest network
2. Provide professional status and responsibility
3. Voice of profession
4. Facilitates the best practices
5. Maintain and develop standards of knowledge and skills
6. Maintain standards of qualification and practice

Role of Engineer with Client, Contractor and Fellow Engineers

Relation with Client

1. The engineer should be faithful to client.
2. The engineer should not accept compensation from more than one party for same service.
3. The engineer should undertake only the job he/she is qualified for.
4. The engineer should not disclose any information about client and technical processes.

Relation with Contractor

1. The engineer should be faithful to the employer.
2. The engineer should perform qualified task provided by the employer on time and with quality.
3. The engineer should indicate the employer the adverse consequences if his/her judgement is overruled.
4. The engineer should not divulge any confidential findings of actions of the board in which he/she is involved in.

Relation with Fellow Engineers

1. The engineer should not take credit for the works performed by others.
2. The engineer should endeavor opportunity for professional development and advancement of fellow engineers.
3. The engineer should not injure the professional reputation and prospects of other engineers.
4. If the engineer have proof that fellow engineer is being unethical, he/she should advise to proper authority.
5. The engineer should not review the work of other engineers for the same client unless authorized.
6. The engineer should cooperate with fellow engineers for sharing information and experience to advance the engineering profession.

Ethics, Code of Ethics and Engineering Ethics


- Ethics is a moral principles that governs the behavior of a person and the way of conducting an activity.
- It involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.
- Professional ethics refers to the ethical obligation that the professional in his/her profession have to follow for their professional status.
- It indicates how the professionals ought to behave in there professional work.


- Moral is the standard behavior accepted by the culture and religion of the society.
- It is concerned with the human behavior and the established social norms.
- Non-moral refers to deviation from the moral quality of the society.

- The factors affecting the moral of a profession are as follows:
1. Salary
2. Defective norms and social values
3. Law moral of self
4. Law implementation
5. Political commitment

Code of Ethics

- Code of ethics is the guidelines for professionals which is developed by the professional associations which governs the conducts of all the members of that association.
- It ensures that the professional practice is for social progress rather than personal gain.
- The professionals must follow the code of ethics to remain registered.

Reasons for Unethical Acts

1. Lack of awareness about the code of ethics
2. Insensitivity to issues
3. Selfishness
4. Faulty reasoning
5. Pressure

Engineering Professional Ethics

- Engineering professional ethics is the field of applied ethics that examines and set standards for engineers' obligations to the public, their clients, employer and the profession.

The fundamental code of ethics for engineer are as follows:
1. Protection of life and safe guarding the people.
2. Sustainable management and care of the environment
3. Community well being
4. Professionalism, integrity and competence
5. Sustaining engineering knowledge

The professional code of conduct for engineers are as follows:
1. Discipline and honesty
2. Politeness and confidentiality
3. Non-discrimination
4. Professional work
5. No any improper activities for financial gain
6. Personal responsibility
7. Contract (name, designation and registration no)
8. No publicity that cause adverse effect

Moral Dilemma and Ethical Decision Making

Moral Dilemma

- Moral dilemma is the condition in which one must have to choose one of the two equally unpleasant things to perform.
- The feature of moral dilemma is that the agent should perform one of the action among two actions but not both actions and no matter what action is performed will be wrong in some way.
- In such cases, there is no clear right or wrong path.

Ethical Decision Making

- Ethical decision making is the process that helps people to make proper decision during ethical dilemma.
- It examines three perspectives:
1. ethic of obedience
2. ethic of care
3. ethic of reason

- To make a good ethical decisions, one need a trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision.

- The priority that must be considered while making ethical decision are as follows:
1. Society
2. Profession
3. Organization
4. Individual

Framework for Ethical Decision Making

1. Recognize an ethical issue
2. Get the facts
3. Evaluate alternative actions
4. Make a decision and test it
5. Act and reflect on the outcome

Duties of an Engineer and Architect

The major duties of an engineer and architect are as follows:
1. Planning, surveying, designing and estimating the project.
2. Supervise and control the work.
3. Constantly participate in the ongoing projects.
4. Supervise and coordinate the subordinates.
5. Take responsibility for safety precautions at the job site.
6. Have the authority to issue variation order.
7. Have the right to stop the work.
8. Familiar with work practices and customs.

Negligence, Tort and Liability


- Negligence is the lack of proper care or attention.
- It involves actions of the people which is against the standards.

- To be the compensated from the guilty of negligence, following elements should be established:
1. The defendant had a legal obligation to behave in certain way.
2. The defendant failed to fulfill this obligation by acting inappropriately.
3. The injury or loss was caused due to the defendant's legal breach of contract resulting damage.


- Tort is defined as the damage, injury or wrongful act done willfully, negligently or in circumstances involving strict liability without breach of contract.
- It involves the situation in which a person's behavior caused suffering to others.


- Liability is defined as being obligated to pay for damages or loss.
- It is the obligation to pay penalty for not fulfilling the defined duties, negligence and tort.

- Liability is of following types:
1. Liability under contract
2. Liability in tort
3. Liability under statute

Vicarious Liability

- Vicarious liability is the liability hold by one party for the actions of another.
- For eg: consider that a tort is committed by an employee in the course of his employment, then the employee is liable for the tort along with the employer is also liable for the tort committed by his/her employee. Such liability accounted for the employer is called vicarious liability.

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