Implementation timeframes

Last updated: 31 January 2024

Dam safety complying

These timeframes apply to dam owners whose dams are classifiable, ie dams that are big enough to be impacted by the regulations.

The timeframes vary depending on a dam's potential impact classification (PIC). Dams must be classified as either low, medium, or high potential impact, depending on the impact of the dam’s failure.

Owners of dams with a low PIC have fewer regulatory responsibilities than dams with a medium or high PIC.

The following table provides a high-level summary of the required actions dam owners need to take if their dams are classifiable, and the implications of low, medium, and high potential classifications.

Download an infographic summary of the provided dam safety guidance information [PDF 5.2MB].

Find out more information about each of the activities listed in the table in the Dam Safety Guidance [PDF 5MB].

Activity  Low potential impact dams Medium potential impact dams High potential impact dams 
Regulations made. 12 May 2022
Regulations commence. 13 May 2024
Submit a potential impact classification (PIC) to regional authority. Up to 3 months after regulations commence or the dam is commissioned (whatever is later).
Submit a dam safety assurance programme (DSAP) to regional authority (see Note below table) Not required Up to 2 years after the regional authority approves the PIC. Up to 12 months after the regional authority approves the PIC.
Carry out an intermediate dam safety review Not required Within 12 months of the regional authority approving the DSAP. Within 12 months of the regional authority approving the DSAP.
Carry out a comprehensive dam safety review Not required Within 5 years of the regional authority approving the DSAP Within 5 years of the regional authority approving the DSAP.
Submit an annual compliance certificate Not required On the anniversary of the regional authority approving the DSAP.
Review the dam's PIC Within 5 years of the regional authority approving the classification, and then not more than every 5 years.
Review the DSAP Not required Within 10 years after the date which the regional authority approves the DSAP, and then after the first review, at intervals of not more than 7 years. Within 5 years of the date which the regional authority approves the DSAP, and then after the first review, at intervals of not more than 5 years.

Note: There are 7 DSAP elements, but only intermediate dam safety reviews and comprehensive dam safety reviews have timeframes within which they must be completed as specified in the regulations.

Non-compliance with the regulations

Under the Building Act 2004 and the Building (Dam Safety) Regulations 2022 (the regulations), the dam owner is the person who legally owns the physical dam itself.

The owner of a dam is responsible for ensuring that their dam is managed appropriately, proportionate to the potential impact it poses. If a dam owner fails to meet their responsibilities under the Building Act 2004 or regulations, then they may be liable for a fine.

Learn more about non-compliance in the Dam Safety Guidance [PDF 5MB]

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: