Regulations concerning retaining walls on common boundaries are complex. This is because retaining walls are considered structural. Consequently, they can be subject to development approval and building approval from your local council. This is undoubtedly the case for retaining walls on or near common boundaries. And also for walls over a certain height anywhere on your property. So, we’ll go briefly through the requirements and process you need to consider before beginning your retaining wall project.
Retaining Walls Near Common Boundaries
The first challenge before deciding if you need special permissions or not is to determine precisely where your property line is. After all, you can’t really rely on an old hedge or fence line because these things have a habit of changing over time. Of course, you can refer to your house plans. But even then, unless a recent survey has been done, you’ll still struggle to locate the exact boundary. Basically, in NSW, if your proposed retaining wall is closer than 900mm to a boundary line, then you will need a building permit before construction can start. For your own protection though, always check the regs with your council.
Retaining Walls on Boundaries
If you want to build a retaining wall on a boundary line with a neighbouring property, you’ll have to work with them. This is where you’ll be glad you invited next door to your last BBQ, and always chuck the stray balls back over the fence. Most likely, you’ll need to get both development approval and a building permit. These regulations are there to protect both properties from damage. Once permissions have been granted, both properties will have to share the costs of the application and the construction. This is usually split 50/50 unless the council deems one property will benefit more than the other.