Table of contents
Analysis and Evaluation.
The National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.
Conclusion and Recommendations.
In almost every country, the construction industry holds a poor position and Australia is not an exception. There are many ethical issues in the industry in many areas including building and construction. Corruption is one major issue in the industry related to workplace practices and employment-related health and safety. Despite the regulation of ethical codes, there has been a continuous occurrence of ethical lapses in the construction industry. Ethical violations can affect society negatively. The construction industry is contributing a lot towards achieving social and economic development objectives. However, there are many ethical problems associated with the industry. The unethical behaviour of professionals in the construction industry is one major problem that produces negative effects on long term business dealings and causes issues related to quality, time, and costs. The anti-corruption bodies play an important role by not only looking after the identification of existing corruption but also in the education of the people about the cultural shifts required to abolish corruption.
The construction industry is contributing a lot towards achieving social and economic development objectives. However, there are many ethical problems associated with the industry. The unethical behaviour of professionals in the construction industry is one major problem that produces negative effects on long term business dealings and causes issues related to quality, time, and costs (Loosemore, Lim, Ling and Zeng 2018).
The report aims to identify and discuss the most ethical dilemmas prevailing in the construction industry of Australia, the description of the problems, available options of responses to the situation, and the selected actions based on the ethical code of conduct. In almost every country, the construction industry holds a poor position and Australia is not an exception. There are many ethical issues in the industry in many areas including building and construction (Chalker and Loosemore 2016). Corruption is one major issue in the industry related to workplace practices and employment-related health and safety (Lim and Loosemore 2017). The report presents different examples of unethical behaviour of people involved in dealing including clients, contractors, and subcontractors. It also highlights the role of anti-corruption bodies which not only look after the identification of existing corruption but also play a valuable role in the education of the people about the cultural shifts required to abolish corruption.
Generally, the construction industry of any country holds a poor reputation. The industry faces a lack of honesty and trust among the people that are involved in the process of construction (Navaratnam, Ngo, Gunawardena, and Henderson 2019). A similar challenge is faced by Australia where it has been observed that the construction contractors are usually involved in unethical behaviour and the major problem behind was the increasing number of disputes among the builders and landowners (Nadhim, Hon, Xia, Stewart and Fang 2016).
Several industries adopt their ethical code of conduct or a set of ethical values related to the industry. These industry-specific ethics can provide insights into the construction industry for developing its own set of ethics (Navaratnam, Ngo, Gunawardena, and Henderson 2019).
An ethical approach towards the construction activities may lead to the resolution of major problems that have been associated with the construction industry for several years and it will lead to a fairer and hence fortunate future of the industry (Owusu, Chan and Shan 2019).
There have been increasing numbers of cases of unethical behaviour as well as corruption in the construction industry (Rahmani, Maqsood, and Khalfan 2017). Importance must be given to the issues of ethics in the construction sector which will assist in the dismissal of the views which are significant like those that are less important to the construction industry. There are some claims regarding the idea that in today’s modern world, the ethical issues of professionals do not arise majorly due to insufficient knowledge. The claim is that in the unofficial conversation between the victims of unethical activity and the professional actors, there are rare chances when a solid position is taken by the accused professional saying that there is nothing as professional duties (Senaratne, Lambrousis, Mirza, Tam and Kang 2017). The duty here is complex and ethical problems that need to be taken into consideration.
Corruption is among the most common unethical issues in business and is determined as the offering of some good amount of money or an act done for a particular person to obtain a benefit or acquisition of one’s corporate project or product (Rahmani, Maqsood and Khalfan 2017).
The Construction industry is prone to Corruption. The results of people in the industry committing themselves to ethics rather than imposing codes of ethics will prove to be more beneficial. The attainment of professional ethics will not be possible without the commitment of individuals to personal ethics (Shan, Le, Chan, and Hu, 2020). The industry is broken into several parts and the operation of infrastructure services builds structural vulnerabilities which increase the chances of corruption.
The firms in the construction sector indulge themselves in bribes to obtain benefits such as:
All such instances are used by the corrupt individuals to obtain benefits by taking unethical steps.
Australia has a strong foundation in law and is a mature Nation, therefore, it comes as a surprise that the Australian industry of building and construction is considered as corrupt (Shah 2016). There have been common cases of anti-competitive prices related to industrial and workplace practices. These practices include:
A study was conducted in Australia which exposed that there are several types of ethical dilemmas and unethical practices taking place in the construction industry. These may include negligence, corruption, bribery, bid-cutting, underbidding, cover pricing, front-loading, collusive tendering, bid shopping, and withdrawal of tender (Shah 2016). They also segmented these practices into four kinds of activities which can be called as conflicts of interest. These include:
It was also found that most of the dishonest conducts that were experienced by the experts included cordiality, blessings, actions, rewards, security of the earth, wellbeing along with the political and social behaviour (Shah 2016). All these issues were observed and addressed by the government and then actions were taken to control these unethical activities going on in the construction industry.
Corruption leads to impact the performance and productivity of the industry. The major impact of corruption was an increase in the costs above the decided budget of the project. The deals which are corrupted also lead to delays in time of the projects. This delay may sometimes be to the extent that even the projects get abandoned. The unethical practices and corruption also affects the quality of the project usually when the material brought for the construction purposes is of poor quality (Shan, Le, Chan, and Hu, 2020).
The undesirable conditions prevailing in the building and construction industry had been identified before the Cole Royal Commission. Therefore, the state and commonwealth governments decided to adopt a National Code of Practice for the Construction industry to establish a set of behavioural standards and principles that could be applied to all business-related dealings between clients, client representatives and other business persons of the industry (Shan, Le, Chan and Hu 2020).
In 1997, the Australian governments adopted the first version of the code which was later revised according to the Cole Royal Commission’s suggestions. Apart from this, an independent agency of commonwealth, which was the office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, was built to look at the implementation of the code (Yu, Wiedmann, Crawford, and Tait 2017).
The code enforces the regulation and practice of standard ethical measures in all activities associated with construction. Following are the principles on which the code is founded:
The prevailing corruption in the construction industry must be handled responsibly to ensure the fair functioning of the industry.
Australia is considered to be a country that is known for its unity and honesty. However, some examples indicate that corruption does exist in some areas of the construction industry of Australia. In 1997, the first version of “The National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry” was regulated which was later on upgraded in 2003 after the Royal Commission emerged into the industry. The Royal Commission has set some clear and strongly laid ground rules related to the behaviour expectations and set of standards on construction projects. This has led to an increase in the productivity of the industry as a whole by adoption and enforcement of a set of ethical measures and has resulted in a decrease in unfair practices. Along with this, the employees and workers must be given proper wages to ensure that they work effectively without indulging themselves in any unethical practices.
In other areas, the anti-corruption bodies are working dedicatedly in many states in recognizing the prevailing corruption activities and taking actions against them in the sectors such as building, construction and related industries.
Chalker, M. and Loosemore, M., 2016. Trust and productivity in Australian construction projects: a subcontractor perspective. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management.
Lim, B.T.H. and Loosemore, M., 2017. How socially responsible is a construction business in Australia and New Zealand?. Procedia Engineering, 180, pp.531-540.
Loosemore, M., Lim, B.T.H., Ling, F.Y.Y. and Zeng, H.Y., 2018. A comparison of corporate social responsibility practices in the Singapore, Australia and New Zealand construction industries. Journal of cleaner production, 190, pp.149-159.
Nadhim, E.A., Hon, C., Xia, B., Stewart, I. and Fang, D., 2016. Falls from height in the construction industry: a critical review of the scientific literature. International journal of environmental research and public health, 13(7), p.638.
Navaratnam, S., Ngo, T., Gunawardena, T. and Henderson, D., 2019. Performance review of prefabricated building systems and future research in Australia. Buildings, 9(2), p.38.
Owusu, E.K., Chan, A.P. and Shan, M., 2019. Causal factors of corruption in construction project management: An overview. Science and engineering ethics, 25(1), pp.1-31.
Rahmani, F., Maqsood, T. and Khalfan, M., 2017. An overview of construction procurement methods in Australia. Engineering, construction and architectural management.
Senaratne, S., Lambrousis, G., Mirza, O., Tam, V.W. and Kang, W.H., 2017. Recycled concrete in structural applications for sustainable construction practices in Australia. Procedia Engineering, 180, pp.751-758.
Shah, R.K., 2016. An exploration of causes for delay and cost overrun in construction projects: A case study of Australia, Malaysia & Ghana. Journal of Advanced College of Engineering and Management, 2(1), pp.41-55.
Shan, M., Le, Y., Chan, A.P. and Hu, Y., 2020. Corruption in Construction: A Global Review. In Corruption in the Public Construction Sector (pp. 9-22). Springer, Singapore.
Yu, M., Wiedmann, T., Crawford, R. and Tait, C., 2017. The carbon footprint of Australia's construction sector. Procedia Engineering, 180, pp.211-220.
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