Dam Safety2019-08-20T01:55:48+00:00

Dam Safety Engineering

Austin Engineering is synonymous with dam safety engineering and is viewed as the leading expert in Western Canada with a successful track record of project delivery covering a range of requirements from diking projects to high-to-extreme consequence dams.

The Austin team has extensive experience working in dam construction, dam safety, hydraulics, hydrology, and hydropower.

Principal Engineer Roger Austin has specialised in dam safety engineering for over 20 years and has assembled a core team of experts with supporting working practices unique to the company offer.  The team applies innovative technology to streamline processes and rigorously test and understand all aspects of dam safety to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements and safe operation.

From offices in Trail, Austin Engineering uses in-house technology and proven processes to complete dam safety reviews and seismic analysis, according to Canadian Dam Association guidelines. The team is dedicated to going the extra mile, developing emergency response plans, dam emergency plans or operation, maintenance and surveillance manuals to ensure dams across the world achieve utmost safety.

The firm is committed to leading Canada in the use of 3D printed dam models for hydraulic and seismic testing using in-house shake tables at both their hydraulics lab and their research partner’s lab at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan campus. From an educational standpoint, this collaborative research heralds a new era of dam safety – one started in a small town by a dedicated team of engineers that are committed to excellence,

innovation, and client success. Their findings are not only crucial to the safety of dams worldwide but also to those who live and work downstream. Austin Engineering was recognized for their advancements in dam safety, winning the Clean Energy BC Operational Excellence Award in 2017 and 2018 for their 3D modeling and seismic testing on one of FortisBC’s extreme consequence dams.

The company is situated downstream from some of B.C.’s largest hydroelectric generating stations, where the majority of the province’s electricity is produced. Having that physical and local connection to the Columbia River and other renewable energy waterways gives Austin Engineering a superior understanding of hydropower and dam safety that is proudly ingrained in its principles.

Austin Engineering is a leader in dam safety and hydropower and advises on all aspects of hydroelectric dam projects

Seismic Analysis

Austin Engineering provides seismic analysis and retrofits for dams of all sizes, from smaller reservoirs to extreme consequence.

Our team provides dam owners with critical information on specific locations for retrofit and also vital analysis for structural upgrade projects. We advance our seismic analysis by collaborating with the Applied Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Structures (ALAMS) at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, where shake table tests are conducted on 3D printed and digitally fabricated gravity dams to determine potential damage during seismic events.

  • Seismic reviews in accordance with CDA guidelines
  • Seismic analysis and retrofit designs
  • Seismic shake table testing
  • Civil/structural upgrades
  • Reservoirs to extreme consequence dams
  • Concrete gravity and saddle dams
  • Earthfill and rockfill dams
  • Concrete-face rockfill dams
  • Roller-compacted concrete dams

Regulatory Compliance

Austin Engineering uses in-house technology and proven processes to complete dam safety reviews and seismic analysis according to Canadian Dam Association guidelines. The team is dedicated to going the extra mile, developing emergency response plans, dam emergency plans, or operation, maintenance, and surveillance manuals to ensure dams across the world achieve utmost safety. Our reports are critically crafted by our engineers and concisely written by our technical writers, meeting project requirements as well as applicable regulations for the following:

  • Dam safety reviews
  • Seismic reviews in accordance with CDA guidelines
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Emergency response plans
  • Emergency planning guides
  • Operation, maintenance, and surveillance manuals

Innovation

Austin Engineering is leading Canada in the use of 3D printed dam models for hydraulic and seismic testing. Using in-house shake tables at both our hydraulics lab and our research partner’s lab at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan (UBCO) campus, we’ve divulged findings that are not only crucial to the safety of dams worldwide but also to those who live and work downstream. This technology provides options that save clients time and money, support capital planning, mitigate risk, improve environmental outcomes, and provide enhanced stakeholder engagement. 3D printed modeling also provides clients with multiple design options that are tailored to their specific project goals; it’s technology that’s extremely useful, not only for new designs but also for analysis and retrofitting of existing dams.

Austin Engineering and our partners were recognized for our advancements in dam safety in 2017 and 2018, winning the Clean Energy BC ‘Operational Excellence’ Award in both years for our 3D modeling and seismic testing on one of FortisBC’s extreme consequence dams.

  • Dedicated hydraulics lab
  • 3D printed models
  • Multiple design options
  • Hydraulic structure/control modeling
  • Flood mapping and IDF studies
  • Flood hazard assessment
  • Spillway outflow models
  • Dam discharge facilities

Condition Assessment

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The life cycle of a dam consists of several phases, including normal operation and the necessary maintenance, repairs, and upgrades required for a dam to continue to serve its intended function. Dam safety is an Austin Engineering specialty; our team takes a thorough approach, performing hazard classification evaluations, completing safety inspections, evaluating a dam’s spillway capacity and structural stability, and also evaluating the outlet works (reservoir drain) capacity. Again, we do this using advanced technology – including 3D printing and modeling – to assess dam conditions at the most critical level. A review of each dam’s emergency action plan is also an important step in concluding whether a dam is in conformance with current regulations and safety guidelines.

We are dam engineers through and through and are committed to every project undertaken; we’re also devoted to the research and development necessary to ensure the longevity of a dam.

  • Condition assessments
  • Aerial inspections
  • Inspections and repair detailing
  • Capital planning and project coordination
  • Design review of steel, concrete and timber structures
  • Fatigue and failure analysis
  • All types of dams
  • Substations and generating stations
  • Powerhouses
  • Superstructures
  • Spillway, intake and head gates