Information for engineers

The following overview describes the dam construction and approval process.

All dam and reservoir projects proceed through a similar sequence of activities during their development leading up to construction. The normal progression includes initial investigations of potential site(s); identification of the major components of the project to fit the site(s); development of conceptual plans; examination of options and final selection of site and project configuration; detailed engineering investigations and preparation of design reports; preparation of preliminary and/or intermediate level construction plans; and preparation of final construction plans and specifications.

Although it is not necessary to wait until 100% of the plans have been prepared, the next activity would include obtaining a Dam Safety construction permit. The main steps in obtaining a Dam Safety construction permit include the following: 

  • Submit a completed construction permit application, together with plans, specifications, and engineering reports. Once the permit form is submitted, the project enters the plan review process. The DSO plan review process is structured to parallel the normal progression of planning and design for a dam and reservoir project. Ideally, this minimizes delays and allows the DSO review to proceed concurrently with project formulation.
  • Upon receipt, the design reports, plans, and specifications are reviewed for conformance with accepted engineering practice and in accordance with the submittal requirements and the Dam Safety Guidelines. If deficiencies or problems are noted, specific changes or corrections are required and revisions are requested.
  • When all review comments have been addressed, the fee has been paid in full, and the construction inspection plan has been reviewed and accepted by the DSO, the plans and specification will be approved, and a construction permit will be issued which authorizes construction to begin.
  • Within 30 days following substantial completion of construction or modification of a dam, the project engineer submits a declaration to DSO planstating that the project was/was not constructed in accordance with the DSO approved plans and specifications and construction change orders.
  • Once the project engineer's declaration of acceptable construction completion has been received, the DSO will authorize the owner or the project engineer, as appropriate, to commence controlled reservoir filling, or resume normal project operation.
  • The last step consists of submitting, within 120 days following completion of construction or modification of a dam, a report to the DSO on construction activities.

The links on the left side column provide additional information useful for both the different activities involved with the design of a dam and for the Dam Safety construction permit process. If you require additional information or have any questions, please contact us.