Professional Rules of Conduct 

 

The professional rules of conduct governing consulting engineers are laid down as follows in the order of the Austrian federal minister of economic affairs, BGBl. Nr. 726/1990:

Proper Professional Conduct :

§ 1. Those carrying on the licensed profession of proprietor of a consulting engineering office, herein-after referred to in brief as "consulting engineers", shall exercise their profession conscientiously and with due care. They shall not engage in unprofessional conduct of any sort (§ 2).

§ 2. Unprofessional conduct is any behaviour during the exercise of the profession that affects either clients or others engaged in the same profession that could detrimentally affect the image of the profession or impair the shared interests of those engaged in the profession. Any behaviour in breach of the rules of conduct specified under §§ 3 and 4 is unprofessional conduct.

§ 3. Consulting engineers are in particular obliged to observe the following rules of conduct vis-à-vis their clients in the exercise of their professions:

Consulting engineers shall act in their clients' interests and shall always protect the interests of their particular client regardless of their own interests or those of third parties.

If a consulting engineer has been empowered by a client to act on behalf of the client in matters relating to the assignment, he or she shall, regardless of the obligations on the consulting engineer as an empowered party under civil law, do everything held by the consulting engineer to be useful or necessary to further the client's interests. The consulting engineer shall proceed with economy and care and in conformity with all the pertinent legal and technical regulations when completing an assignment.

Conflicts of interest shall be avoided. If a consulting engineer has an economic interest in a patent, a company in a related field or any similar interest that could impair his or her impartiality in the completion of an assignment, the consulting engineer shall immediately inform the client thereof.

A consulting engineer may not receive any payment for professional services other than fees from clients. Consulting engineers are obliged to refuse to accept remunerations from third parties that could affect their objectivity, impartiality or independence. They shall also do everything they can to ensure that their employees do not accept remunerations from third parties if such renumerations could affect their employees' objectivity, impartiality or independence.

Consulting engineers are obliged to secrecy concerning matters revealed to them by clients in the course of carrying on their profession. The duty to maintain secrecy shall however lapse of and insofar as the client expressly releases the proprietor of a consulting engineering office from this obligation. Moreover, consulting engineers shall not be obliged to secrecy insofar as fulfillment of an obligation to secrecy could hinder the assertion of the consulting engineer's own claims against the client with respect to fees, damages, etc. or could hinder avoidance of penalties under criminal, civil or administrative law.

§ 4. In the exercise of their profession, consulting engineers are in particular obliged to observe the following rules of conduct vis-à-vis other members of the profession:

Consulting engineers must respect the principles of fairness in competition with other members of their profession. In particular, they must not improperly belittle other members of the profession or their work.

It shall not be permissible to attempt to win a specific assignment when it is known that the particular assignment has already been awarded to another consulting engineer unless the prior contract can be shown to have been cancelled.

Consulting engineers may only give professional opinions that relate to the fee guidelines issued by the Austrian Association of Consulting Engineers when commissioned to do so by the Austrian Association of Consulting Engineers or a provincial association of consulting engineers or as an expert in proceedings before an authority.

Consulting engineers may not offer or provide their services free of charge or for amounts that are inconsistent with proper commercial management of their business.