Does the Construction Industry Have an Ethics Dilemma?

Some parts of the construction industry have an ethics dilemma. It’s not just the contractors either. Clients also contribute to this problem.

When contractors get shady reputations, it is difficult to find clients or employees. Clients have trouble finding a reputable contractor to handle projects. More importantly, innocent bystanders get hurt.

Tackling this ethics dilemma is important to improving the overall industry assignment websites.

Biggest Construction Ethical Issues

In many industries, there are just a few major types of ethics issues, but the construction industry is fraught with problems. Before trying to solve the dilemma, it’s a good idea to know what’s going on. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Charging for superior materials, but using sub-par materials
  • Padding timesheets
  • Skimping on safety, for employees and clients
  • Changing salary terms
  • Bribing inspectors and potential clients/representatives
  • Treating workers unfairly
  • Not following environmental regulations
  • False variation claims

Of course, clients also have their faults, including:

  • Trying to force reputable contractors’ rates too low
  • Refusing to deal with variation claims
  • Suing even when contract terms are followed
  • Refusing to pay on time or the correct amount
  • Trying to change the contract terms after the project

With so many possible unethical practices, it’s easy to see why there’s an ethics dilemma. Construction Journal even devoted part of an issue of their magazine to it.

When Construction Goes Wrong

Capterra put together a list of real stories of construction projects gone wrong. For instance, inspectors in New York accepted $450,000 worth of bribes to approve housing projects to ensure contractors were able to meet the Mayor de Blasio’s promise of 50,000 new affordable apartments.

Bribing inspectors just leads to safety issues for the residents. While projects are completed on time, they’re not up to the right standards. This results in major safety issues and remedying problems can be costly later on.

While padding timesheets a little sometimes happens, Hunter Roberts Construction Group charged clients for numerous hours that were never worked.

In Kenya, poor workmanship was responsible for multiple deaths when buildings collapsed. All those involved were charged with criminal negligence.

It’s never innocent when ethics are shoved to the side. In construction, lives could be at stake. At the very least, the reputation of the company is at stake.

Dealing With The Ethical Dilemma

Someone always knows what’s going on with a construction project. They may notice secret meetings or see that the wrong materials are being brought in and used. They even notice when workers are being forced to work in unsafe conditions or for less than the agreed upon wages.

Just because some are unethical, it doesn’t mean everyone in the construction industry is unethical. It’s up to those who have a strong ethical code to report anything that’s not right. Anonymous whistleblower hotlines are critical for ensuring the integrity of contractors, employees, inspectors and clients. Being able to safely and anonymously report unethical behavior could very well save lives.