AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Ethics and integrity are essential to our work

AIA members are dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence. The AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (Code) guides members’ conduct in fulfilling those obligations. The Code applies to the professional activities of all AIA members, regardless of their membership category.

Read the AIA Code of Ethics.

National Ethics Council

AIA Architect members are appointed to the National Ethics Council (NEC) by the AIA Board of Directors. The AIA Bylaws delegate to the NEC the authority to interpret and enforce the Code. Complaints submitted to the NEC are handled according to the NEC’s Rules of Procedure.

NEC decisions that result in a Code violation and discipline may be appealed to AIA’s Board of Directors. In cases where termination is the recommended penalty, decisions are automatically appealed to the Board.

Filing a Complaint

A complaint may be filed with the NEC by an AIA member, component, or anyone directly aggrieved by the conduct of a member. The NEC has the primary authority to determine whether a violation of the Code has occurred and, if so, what penalty (including potential termination of membership) should be imposed. In doing so, it follows the process stated in the Rules of Procedure, which are designed to protect the rights of both the complaining party and the member who is the subject of the complaint. If the NEC finds that a violation has occurred, its decision may be appealed to the AIA’s Board of Directors.

The NEC does not independently investigate or prosecute cases against AIA members. It is the sole responsibility of the Complainant and Respondent to submit evidence, call upon and produce witnesses, and present their respective cases. The NEC’s deliberations and decisions are based solely on what the Complainant and Respondent present and submit as part of the case record.

Please note: Ethics complaint filings cannot be filed anonymously. The Complainant's identity and all submissions will be forwarded to the Respondent in order for Respondent to submit a Response.


NEC members

  • Motunrayo Badru, AIA, 2023 Chair
  • Daniel Bankhead, AIA
  • Joe Herzog, AIA
  • Lynne Deninger, AIA​
  • Josh Kehrwald, AIA
  • Mary McClenaghan, AIA
  • Jenelle Smagala, AIA
  • Gary Wang, AIA
  • Andrew Watkins, AIA

Redacted NEC decisions and Advisory Opinions

The NEC publishes redacted versions of its decisions as well as Advisory Opinions, for informational purposes only, which illustrate how the AIA Code of Ethics applies to a particular situation.

Recent Disciplinary Actions Taken

Under Rule 8.32: Publication of Penalty the AIA is required to publish decisions in which violation(s) have been found in an AIA publication. The following have been published in the weekly e-newsletter periodical, AIA Architect.

Case No. 2020-05

Case No. 2020-02

Attribution of credit

One of the most common violations handled by the NEC relates to the attribution of credit. The NEC’s Guidelines for the Attribution of Credit can help parties decide on and structure attribution.

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