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Having an improving web presence is not only helping potential clients find us it is also helping unhappy clients present a complaint.  Our Executive Director is preparing a program to encourage unhappy consumers to resolve the problem directly with our member prior to completing a complaint form.  NABIE President William Coulbourne has appointed an Ethics Committee.
Applicable By-Laws include the following:
Any ACADEMY member may be reprimanded, suspended or expelled and any member of any committee may be removed from office by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Board at a special meeting of the Board called for the purpose of considering such action.
(1) Charges of unethical conduct may be filed with the Ethics Committee by anyone. Such charges must be written, specific, detailed and include reasonable supporting evidence.
(2) The person charged shall be notified of the substance of the charges and shall be given opportunity to present a defense, including, personal appearance, with legal counsel if desired at his or her own expense, and to present pertinent witnesses and/or documents. The hearing shall be closed unless the person charged requests otherwise.
(3) Resignation by a member under charge shall not cause these proceedings to be terminated.
(4) The Ethics Committee may dismiss the charges when it finds them unwarranted and shall notify the Board, the person charged and the person who filed the charges of such action.
(5) If the Ethics Committee finds that the member violated ethics of building inspection engineering practice, membership requirements, or otherwise acted so as to reflect discredit upon the ACADEMY, the Committee shall recommend to the Board such penalty as it considers appropriate which may be expulsion from the ACADEMY, suspension of membership for a stated period or time, or reprimand.
(6) Upon final disposition of a case the ACADEMY may, with approval of the Board, publish a summary report of the case in a publication of the ACADEMY.
NABIE is an affinity group of NSPE and thus subject to the Code of Ethics for Engineers. The fundamental canons are included herein for your review.
I. Fundamental Canons
Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:
1. Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
2. Perform services only in areas of their competence.
3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees.
5. Avoid deceptive acts.
6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.
We hope every effort will be made by our members to resolve disputes with clients prior to the client taking action against a member.  Building inspection work, especially at the visual level, can create a level of expectation by the consumer greater than that achievable by anyone. Law suits, complaints to licensing boards, and complaints to professional societies are avenues open to all consumers. As our Ethics Committee deals with issues presented hopefully we can provide some lessons learned to our membership. This is difficult work perhaps best described: There, but for the grace of God go I. With compassion for our member, pride of our profession, and belief in holding paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, your Ethics Committee has taken on this role.
*This article had been posted in the Spring-Summer 2013 edition of The Examiner.