Limits of Environmental Impact Assessment
Designers should understand and integrate information from environmental impact assessments (EIA) into the design process. Designers have a responsibility to examine the planning and design implications of EIAs and, if appropriate, alert clients or their consultants to any inadequacies of the report. EIA processes vary, so a representative or generic government process is used to illustrate common criticisms and possible solutions. The choice of materials, layout, processes and components can make a big difference in the adverse impacts of a type of industry, building or other land use. The EIA process may result in conditions being placed on the development approval; for example, more energy-efficient design, cleaner technology, or even a better location for the project. Designers should encourage a cumulative impact assessment to be undertaken, where major new projects are assessed as part of a revised land use plan for the region.