We are responsible for issuing building consents for large dams, as well as ensuring large dams are well constructed, regularly monitored and that the potential risks to people and property are minimised.

Environment Canterbury is a Building Consent Authority (BCA) accredited with International Accreditation New Zealand and is also registered with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment(external link).

What is a large dam?

A large dam is defined in the Building Act 2004(external link) as a dam that has a height of four or more metres and holds 20,000 or more cubic metres of water. If a landowner is building a large dam or carrying out work to an existing large dam, they must make a building consent application.

A landowner proposing to build a dam must determine whether it is a ‘large dam’ for the purposes of the Building Act 2004. A building consent is required for all structures that meet the definition of a large dam, including flood control dams, significantly modified natural features and canals, as well as structures that form part of large dams, such as appurtenant structures.

Resource consent

Before commencing work on the construction of a dam, a landowner must consider whether a resource consent is required. A consent may be required under the Resource Management Act 1991 where taking, using, damming, and diverting water is anticipated.

Works associated with dam construction may also trigger the requirement for a resource consent, for example carrying out earthworks.

Engaging an engineer

The landowner needs to ensure the engineer they engage is competent and has the necessary experience and qualifications relating to dam engineering and safety assurance. The Engineering New Zealand(external link) or the Association for Consulting and Engineering Professionals NZ(external link) can help you find the right engineer.