An interesting press release came to my in-box recently and elicited mixed feelings. The release, “AGC Applauds New Construction Ethics Association,” announces the formation of the Construction Industry Ethics and Compliance Initiative, proudly noting that all 13 of the CIECI’s founding members belong to the AGC.

The AGC is the Associated General Contractors of America, and after 20 years of having interviewed custom woodworkers who do business with that group, I have to say that GCs definitely can use some cleaning up of their image. They seem to be right down there with the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. I would almost bet money that there is not a custom woodworker around who does not have a negative experience to share about working with a GC somewhere during his career.

So reading that some members of this group “came together to form this non-profit association for the sole purpose of promoting ethical behavior and full compliance with the law” brings interesting reactions. In the big picture, it makes me somewhat disheartened to think that our overall business world has slipped so far that we actually need special groups whose sole mission is to be ethical in order to achieve what should be SOP, to my mind.

With regard to the new CIECI specifically, I think it’s interesting that GCs themselves have enough recognition about their own lousy image that they are taking action. One can view this in a positive light, recognizing that they want to make things better. Or one can be cynical, noting that the AGC represents 33,000 firms and, for now at least, only 13 are CIECI members.

I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts in my CWB editorial in the May issue, which will be posted online shortly. The entire AGC press release can be viewed here.

What is your reaction? Comments can be posted below.

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