New Dam Safety Regulations

The new regulations on dam safety (Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022) were announced on 13 May 2022 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE). The regulations have been made to protect people, property, and the environment from the potential impacts of dam failures, and they set a minimum requirement for dam safety in New Zealand. The new regulations will commence in May 2024.

The New Zealand Society on Large Dams (NZSOLD) strongly supports the post-construction dam safety regulations. The regulations will create a stronger, consistent regulatory framework for the active management, inspection, and maintenance of dams that will help ensure their ongoing safety. NZSOLD has worked in collaboration with MBIE and Engineering New Zealand to provide input to the new regulations. NZSOLD would like to acknowledge all the organisations and individuals who have contributed their time and expertise to the new regulations.

Further information and resources to support dam owners, technical practitioners, and regional authorities with their responsibilities under the new regulations, are available on MBIE’s website. This includes an online learning module and also a guidance document prepared by MBIE, which are excellent starting points to become familiar with the new dam safety regulations.

MBIE will provide further resources in the future to continue to assist the industry to prepare for the commencement of the regulations in 2024. These resources will be developed in collaboration with Engineering New Zealand and NZSOLD. Further resources will be made available on the MBIE website, as they are developed.

An important part of the new dam safety regulations is the role of ‘Recognised Engineer’. Two types of Recognised Engineers will be required to audit and certify:

• potential impact classifications (PIC)
• dam safety assurance programmes (DSAP)

NZSOLD, in collaboration with Engineering New Zealand and MBIE, is actively developing a programme for assessing and registering Recognised Engineers to support compliance with the new dam safety regulations. This includes the development of a framework for assessing the required qualifications and competencies for the roles.

Engineers will be registered as Recognised Engineers of one or both types. Recognised Engineers must also be Chartered Professional Engineers (CPEng). The Recognised Engineers can be found by searching the online register for Recognised Engineers in the Find an Engineer page on the Engineering New Zealand Te Ao Rangahau website.

The first Recognised Engineers to be certified as part of the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022 were registered by Engineering New Zealand Te Ao Rangahau on 13 April. This was completed as part of the development of the new Recognised Engineer qualification by Engineering New Zealand Te Ao Rangahau, as the Registration Authority for Chartered Professional Engineers.

Engineers can now apply to be assessed and registered as Recognised Engineers. Further information about Recognised Engineers and how to apply can be found on the Engineering New Zealand website (