How do I find a consultant to help prepare dam safety reports and plans?
Dams Safety NSW receives many calls from declared dam owners asking for recommendations for consultants to conduct dam-related safety work. While Dams Safety NSW is unable to provide recommendations, the information below will help you make your own decision.
We have also compiled a list of consultants involved with dam safety work who requested to be put on this list.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Dams Safety NSW will not be assessing or endorsing any consultant on this list. It is the responsibility of the declared dam owner to undertake their own due diligence and confirm that the consultant is suitable to undertake the requested work.
Ask your local council
Your local council may have a list of engineering consultants or specialists who work in your area.
Professional associations may be able to help you choose a suitable consultant by providing contact details for their members. Organisations that may be able to help include:
Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD)
Ask other dam owners
You can ask other declared dam owners, who have previously used a consultant to prepare their plans/reports, to recommend someone.
What to look for in a consultant
Depending on how complex your dam is, the person preparing your dam safety report may need a variety of skills.
You should look for a person who has previous experience working on dam safety reports or studies for a similar dam. You may need to employ a range of specialists (a specialist panel) to cover all the required areas of expertise.
The Dams Safety Regulation 2019 requires that a ‘competent person’ perform certain tasks. It is important that you ask your consultant to attest to being a ‘competent person’ for these tasks. Search for the term ‘competent person’ in the Regulation to highlight where one is needed.
When you are choosing a consultant, it is important to consider:
- Do they have experience preparing dam safety reports that meet Dams Safety NSW requirements (eg. operations and maintenance plans, emergency plans, risk reports, Consequence Category Assessments, and Safety Reviews)?
- You could ask for examples of previous reports they have prepared and ask for references or contact details of previous clients.
- What relevant qualifications or accreditation do they have?
- Do they have appropriate insurance cover?
- Do they have a professional and ethical reputation? Check if they are a member of a professional organisation and ask for references.
- Can they complete projects on budget and on schedule? Ask for references from other clients.
- For risk reports: what assumptions, and what level of precision, will the consultant be using in the analysis, so that the uncertainty of the result is understood. This is particularly useful when comparing two or more consultants’ proposals.