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 guides members’ conduct in fulfilling those obligations. The Code applies to the professional activities of all AIA members, regardless of their membership category.

The Code is arranged in three tiers: Canons (broad principles of conduct); Ethical standards (more specific goals toward which each should aspire); Rules of conduct (mandatory requirements).

Read the AIA Code of Ethics.

National Ethics Council

The National Ethics Council (NEC) is appointed by the AIA Board of Directors to enforce the Code. The NEC also: proposes revisions to the Code; proposes revisions to the NEC's Rules of Procedure, which govern the process for handling a complaint; and educates the public and AIA members on ethical issues in architecture.

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 a process 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 Board may approve the NEC’s decision or, in certain cases, dismiss the complaint. Although violations and penalties in certain cases are published in the AIA’s electronic newsletter, proceedings in these matters are otherwise confidential.

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

  • Justin Crane, AIA, 2022 Chair
  • Motunrayo Badru, AIA
  • Daniel Bankhead, AIA
  • Joe Herzog, AIA
  • Josh Kehrwald, AIA
  • Mary McClenaghan, AIA
  • Kevin Montgomery, FAIA
  • Jenelle Smagala, AIA
  • Gary Wang, AIA
  • Elise Woodward, AIA Emeritus

NEC decisions and Advisory Opinions

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

View the NEC's decisions.

View Advisory Opinions.

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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