Legislation on retaining walls differs slightly from state to state but ideally the below information seems to be the basic rule of thumb to follow.
Blogger: Paul Eslick, Justin Eslick & Geoff Doidge, The Reno Kings
Under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 building a retaining wall is classed as building work and is considered development. Regulations deem that retaining walls must be structurally sound. If you’re considering building a retaining wall on your property for landscaping projects or fencing purposes you will need to ensure it meets standard regulations.
If excavation is required for building your retaining wall then an operational works approval may apply. Under the building Code of Australia a retaining wall structure is classed as a 10b (non-habitable) structure. In some instances you do not need to obtain a building approval to erect a retaining wall if it meets the following criteria:
The retaining wall total height and the height of the fill retained by the wall is no more than one metre above the natural ground surface.
The retaining wall must not be closer than 1.5 metres to any other buildings or walls.
If you do not meet the criteria, you will need to submit a building application and have it approved by a certifier before progressing. The certifier will require scaled and detailed plans that have been prepared by a draft person.
Relaxation permits can be sought from council in some instances but will need to be applied for by your certifier.
If the work is being carried out is for domestic purposes only, the wall must be no higher than 600mm above ground level, if the block of land is sloped and is stepped to accommodate the fall in the land it is no higher than 800mm above ground level at each step, sufficient drainage lines must be installed, cut or fill must not be more than 600mm above ground level.
There must be a minimum distance of 900mm from each boundary, the wall must be at minimum of 1m from a registered easement or sewer/water main.
Any fill that is transported to the property must contain only natural minerals. No building or demolition waste must be present.
If an owner decides to excavate or fill close to a boundary and it is believed that this work could affect the stability of the land, there may be a requirement to give neighbouring properties 28 days written notice advising them of the work that will be undertaken.
To be certain you are complying with legislation for your city it is strongly recommended that you contact council to find out what your rights and responsibilities are.
Next week’s edition will be the final instalment on retaining walls and will include useful information on how to build a retaining wall.
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