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ASLA Code of Professional Ethics

PREAMBLE: The profession of landscape architecture, so named in 1867, was built on the foundation of several principles: dedication to the public health, safety and welfare, and recognition and protection of the land and its resources. These principles form the foundations, as well, of the Code. The Code also contains important principles relating to duties to clients, employers, employees, and to other members of the Society.

The Code is arranged so that each Canon contains Ethical Standards - essentially goals members should strive to meet. Some of the Ethical Standards contain objective Rules. Violation of Rules might subject an ASLA member to a complaint while violation of Ethical Standards will not. Therefore, the word "should" is used in the Ethical Standards and "shall" is used in the Rules.

This Code applies to the professional activities of all Fellows, Members, and Associate Members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The "Policies" established by the Board of Trustees, relative to environmental stewardship, quality of life and professional affairs as established by the objectives and strategies of the Declaration on Environment and Development shall be a basis of action by members, implicit in the Code of Professional Conduct.

Adopted by the ASLA Board of Trustees, October 1, 1998
Amended April 1999
Amended September 1999

ES1.1 Members should understand and honestly obey laws governing their professional practice and business matters and conduct their professional duties within the art and science of landscape architecture, and the professional society, with honesty, dignity and integrity.

R1.101 Members shall deal with other members, clients, employees and the public with honesty, dignity and integrity in all actions and communications of any kind.

R1.102 Members, in the conduct of their professional practice, shall not violate the law, including any federal, state or local laws, and particularly laws and regulations in the areas of antitrust, employment, environment and land use planning, and those governing professional practice.

R1.103 Members shall not give, lend or promise anything of value to any public official, or representative of a prospective client, in order to influence the judgement or actions in the letting of contract, of that official or representative of a prospective client. Comment: However, the provision of pro bono services will not violate this rule.

R1.104 Members on fulltime government employment shall not accept private practice work with anyone doing business with their agency, or with whom the member has any government contact on matters involving applications for grants, contracts or planning and zoning actions.

R1.105 Members shall recognize the contributions of others engaged in the planning, design and construction of the physical environment, and shall give them appropriate recognition and due credit for professional work and shall not maliciously injure, or attempt to injure the reputation, prospects, practice or employment position of those persons so engaged. Credit shall be given to the design firm of record for the use of all project documents, plans, photographs, sketches, reports or other work products developed while under the management of the design firm of record. Use of other's work for any purpose shall accurately specify the role of the individual in the execution of the design firm of record's work. Comment: Members representing views opposed to another member's views shall keep the discussion on an issue-oriented professional level.

R1.106 Members shall not mislead, through advertising or other means, existing or prospective clients about the result that can be achieved through the use of the member's services, nor shall the members state that they can achieve results by means that violate this Code or the law. Comment: So long as they are not misleading, advertisements in any medium are not prohibited by this Code.

R1.107 Members shall not accept compensation for their services on a project from more than one party, unless all parties agree to the circumstances in writing.

R1.108 Members shall truthfully, without exaggerated, misleading, deceptive or false statements or claims, inform the client, employer, or public about personal qualifications, capabilities and experience. Comment: Members shall not take credit for work performed under the direction of a former employer beyond the limits of their personal involvement and shall give credit to the performing firm. Employers should give departing employees access to work that they performed, reproduced at cost, and a description of the employee's involvement in the work should be noted on each product, and signed by the employer.

R1.109 Members shall not reveal information obtained in the course of their professional activities which they have been asked to maintain in confidence, or which could affect the interests of another adversely. Unique exceptions: To stop an act which creates harm; a significant risk to the public health, safety and welfare, which cannot otherwise be prevented; to establish claims or defense on behalf of members; or in order to comply with applicable law, regulations or with this Code.

R1.110 Members shall neither copy nor reproduce the copyrighted works of other landscape architects or design professionals without prior written approval of the author.

R1.111 Members shall not seek to void awarded contracts for a specific scope of service held by another member. Comment: This shall not prohibit competition for the original or subsequent contracts nor prohibit a client from employing several members to provide the same scope of service.

R1.112 Members shall not seek to obtain contracts, awards or other financial gain relating to projects or programs for which they may be serving in an advisory or critic capacity. Comment: This does not prevent a member from seeking an award or contract for a project which the member has no influence over, or role in the selection, approval, supervision or other role which could constitute a conflict of interest.

ES1.2 Members should seek to make full disclosure of relevant information to the clients, public and other interested parties who rely on their advice and professional work product.

R1.201 Members making public statements on landscape architectural issues shall disclose compensation other than fee, and their role and any economic interest in a project.

R1.202 Members shall make full disclosure during the solicitation and conduct of a project of the roles and professional status of all project team members and consultants, including their state licenses and professional degrees held, if any, availability of coverage of liability and errors and omissions insurance coverage, and any other material potential limitations.

R1.203 Members shall make full disclosure to the client or employer of any financial or other interest which bears upon the service or project.

R1.204 Members shall convey to their clients their capacity to produce the work, their availability during normal working hours, their insurance coverages for general liability and errors and omissions insurance, and their ability to provide other construction or supervisory services.

ES1.3 Members should endeavor to protect the interests of their clients and the public through competent performance of their work, participate in continuing education, educational research, and development and dissemination of technical information relating to planning, design construction and management of the physical environment.

R1.301 Members shall undertake to perform professional services only when education, training or experience in the specific technical areas involved qualifies them, together with those persons whom they may engage as consultants.

R1.302 Members shall not sign or seal drawings, specifications, reports, or other professional work for which they do not have direct professional knowledge or direct supervisory control.

R1.303 Members shall continually seek to raise the standards of aesthetic, ecological and cultural excellence through compliance with applicable state requirements for continuing professional education.

ES2.1 Members should understand and endeavor to practice the objectives and strategies of the Declaration on the Environment and Development.

ES2.2 Members should work to insure that they, their employees or supervisees, and other members adhere to this Code of Conduct and to the Bylaws of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

R2.201 Members having information, which leads to a reasonable belief that another member has committed a violation of this Code, shall report such information. Comment: Often a landscape architect can recognize that the behavior of another poses a serious question as to the other's professional integrity. It is the duty of the professional to bring the matter to the attention of the ASLA Ethics Committee, which action, if done in good faith, is in some jurisdictions protected from libel or slander action. If in doubt, the member reporting under this rule should seek counsel prior to making such a report.

R2.202 The official seal or logo of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) shall not be used other than as specified in the ASLA Bylaws.

R2.203 Members, associates and affiliates shall adhere to the specific applicable terms of the Bylaws regarding use of references to ASLA membership. Members are encouraged to use the appropriate ASLA designation after their names.

ES2.3 Members are encouraged to serve on elected or appointed boards, committees or commissions dealing with the arts, environment and land use issues.

R2.301 Members, who are elected or appointed to review-and-approval-type boards, committees and commissions shall seek to avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest, and shall comply with local rules and policies with regard to conflict of interest. Members serving on such boards, committees and commissions shall disqualify themselves, in accordance with rules of ethics and this Rule, and shall not be present when discussion is held relative to an action in which they have an interest. A member shall make full disclosure and request disqualification on any issue which could involve a potential conflict of interest.

Anyone directly aggrieved by the conduct of a member may file a charge with the chairperson of the Ethics Committee at ASLA headquarters along with supporting documentation. The Ethics Committee shall examine and collect information on all sides of the issue, and through discussions with all parties, attempt to mediate and bring all parties into compliance. If state licensure regulations appear to have been violated, or if there is an indication of civil violations, the issue may be referred back to the aggrieved party for recourse in those venues.

If the Committee determines that a violation has occurred, then it may, in addition to appropriate negotiation efforts:

  1. Write a confidential Letter of Admonition. This action may be appealed to the Executive Committee, who shall hear all parties and render a binding decision.
  2. Refer the issue to the Executive Committee to write a Letter of Censure. This action may be appealed to the Board of Trustees who shall hear all parties and render a binding decision.
  3. Refer the issue to the Executive Committee for review for Probationary Suspension of Membership. During the suspension the former member is prohibited from using any indication that they are a member of ASLA. This action may be appealed to the Board of Trustees, whose decision shall be binding.
  4. Refer the matter to the Executive Committee for review and possible Permanent Termination of Membership. This action may be appealed to the Board of Trustees who shall hear all sides and whose decision shall be binding.

Copyright  1995-2001 by The American Society of Landscape Architects