Retaining walls are a fantastic way to add form and beauty to your landscaping. Moreover, they solve drainage problems, prevent soil erosion and improve the overall appearance of your yard. Plus, Autumn is a great time of year on the Coffs Coast to get out there and prepare your garden for next Spring. However, before you start digging and building your DIY retaining wall, there are some things you should know about building these structures yourself. So, let’s look at the considerations and rules you need to follow.
Before Building a Retaining Wall
Before you start, even on a DIY retaining wall, there are a few factors to consider. For example:
Soil Type. What type of soil will be supporting your wall? Soil type will determine the foundation you need to build and how much weight it can support.
Wall Height. How tall do you want your wall to be? The height of your retaining wall depends on what kind of look you’re going for and how much weight it must support.
Underground Utilities. Are any underground utilities nearby (such as electricity cables or water pipes)? If so, to avoid damage, mark them with flags before digging begins. Contact Before You Dig for underground utility plans.
DIY Retaining Wall – Can We Build It?
No, you can’t! In fact, the rules say you can only build a DIY retaining wall under 600mm high. However, now you know the limitations, here are some guidelines to help you identify the best company for your project:
- In NSW, a qualified and licensed Structural Landscaper or Builder must be used to construct a retaining wall, even though it’s not a habitable structure. To be compliant, retaining walls are considered structures, so they must be built according to code.
- In NSW, companies performing work on your property must have a current certificate of insurance. This includes workers’ compensation and compulsory public liability.
- In addition, contractors must have a license (distinct from qualifications) to undertake any residential building work valued at over $5,000, including GST for labour and materials.
- Contracts for structural landscaping may encompass specialist work as part of the overall project. Such specialist work may be subcontracted. However, it must be carried out by someone holding an endorsed contractor license or qualified supervisor certificate in that specific category.
- However, you don’t need a license or qualification for a DIY retaining wall if the project’s total cost doesn’t exceed $5,000.