Engineers, consultants and the environment

All engineers and consultants in New Zealand are required to take a responsible and proactive stance in sustainable management and the minimisation of non-renewable resources or generation of non-reusable wastes. 

FIDIC states it's our responsibility to protect the environment and is an opportunity to provide leadership in achieving sustainable development in New Zealand. 

The role of the consultant

The role of the consultant can encompass:

  • Evaluation - thorough assessment of the environmental benefits and adverse impacts of proposed projects

  • Conservation - moderate the use of non-renewable resources and increase the re-use of materials. Reduce waste production through improved industrial processes and recycling

  • Management - promote sound land management practices

  • Restoration - restore disturbed or damaged land, water and ecosystems

  • Education - transfer knowledge and experience of environmental management practices 

Each consulting engineer should:

  • Keep informed of global environmental trends and issues

  • Discuss environmental problems with professionals from other disciplines

  • Provide information to clients, the public, and government about environmental problems and how adverse effects can be minimised

  • Become involved in organisational activities, including assistance to governmental authorities, that promote the protection of the environment

  • Encourage and promote appropriate environmental laws and regulations

  • Actively support and participate in all forms of environmental education

  • Promote research and development relevant to protecting and improving the environment

During a project, engineers and consultants should:

  • Recommend that environmental studies be performed as part of all relevant projects

  • Evaluate the positive and negative environmental impacts of each project

  • Evaluate the basic functions and purposes behind a project. Consultants should suggest alternatives to clients if environmental risks emerge

  • Develop improved approaches to environmental studies. Environmental effects should be considered early in the planning process. Studies should evaluate the long-term consequences of environmental changes

  • Make clients aware that consultants can reduce - but not always eliminate - adverse environmental impacts. The legal and financial responsibilities of all parties should be clearly defined

  • Urge clients to prevent or minimise the adverse environmental effects of projects in all phases - initial planning, design, construction, commissioning, operating and decommissioning

  • Take appropriate action, or even decline to be associated with a project, if the client is unwilling to support adequate efforts to evaluate the environmental issues or to mitigate environmental problems