AIA Code of Ethics Amended …

AIA Code of Ethics Amended to Require Members to Assist Emerging Professionals in Internship Documentation

Reaffirming that one of the best ways to support the profession’s future is to support those joining its ranks every day, this fall the AIA amended its Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct (AIA Code of Ethics) to require members working with aspiring architects engaged in the Intern Development Program (IDP) or on other tracks to licensure to appropriately assist in documentation of their intern’s progress and contributions. This measure was adopted by the AIA Board of Directors at its September meeting, and is currently in effect for all AIA members.

By making this amendment to the AIA Code of Ethics (the first change of any kind since 2007), the AIA underscores how important a rich and varied intern experience is to the preparation of aspiring architects, and issues a reminder to all architects working with emerging professionals of their professional obligation to be engaged mentors. In the midst of watershed demographic changes that are seeing Baby Boomer generation architects retiring everyday with fewer emerging professionals lined up to take their place, the AIA feels that the best way to support the future of the profession is to remove impediments to timely completion of progress towards licensure.

This new addition to the AIA Code of Ethics states:

Rule 5.201: Members who have agreed to work with individuals engaged in an architectural internship program or an experience requirement for licensure shall reasonably assist in proper and timely documentation in accordance with that program.

Prior to this change, emerging professionals who met with architects refusing to acknowledge work completed under their supervision had little to no recourse, especially considering the still poor design and construction economy that has been particularly difficult for young designers. This amendment to the AIA Code of Ethics was made at approximately the same time that the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) strengthened its language on IDP supervisor enforcement. Using NCARB’s online reporting system, reporting IDP credit hours is a straightforward process.

Now, interns can approach NCARB, which would be their most likely first recourse in such a scenario. In addition, the AIA’s National Ethics Council could now consider complaints under Rule 5.201, and if a violation was found, disciplinary action could be taken against architect members deemed to be in violation of the rule.

AIA volunteer leadership in the National Associates Committee brought this proposed ethics change to the AIA Board in November of last year, and shepherded it through the approval process remarkably quickly. Senior Associate Director to the AIA Board and 2010 NAC President Bill Turner, Assoc. AIA, brought the proposed amendment to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee and to National Ethics Council, where Chairperson Victoria Beach, AIA, was instrumental in shaping and advancing this important evolution of the AIA Code of Ethics. In July, the National Ethics Council approved it. It was then reviewed by the Secretary’s Advisory Committee in August, and approved by the Board the following month.

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