Can you do your own council approval for your retaining wall?

Let’s first take a look at what is required.

The purpose of a retaining wall as the name suggests is to retain or support the soil that has not naturally been retained before. The aim of a retaining wall as I’m sure you know is to create a structure that allows us to retain the soil.

It’s irrelevant what type of retaining walls it is. Concrete sleeper, sandstone, timber, block or rock/boulder, the same applies to all types of walls. Any type of structure around the property that is built at a certain size will need approval.

And this leads to the potential for safety issues that can have serious implications down the track if not done correctly. And this is where the council needs to get involved.

Before you start your retaining wall build you’re going to need council approval. And this is something you can do yourself for sure. As a matter of fact yes we can help you with the process but we encourage you to get involved and jump in with the approval process yourself.

This allows you to be kept in the loop. To give you an idea of what’s involved you will need the following.


  • Two sets of Engineering
    • A Certificate of title from the Lands Title Office.
    • Two sets of your builders site plans highlighting wall heights and positions.
    • The provision of a building certifier to inspect the building process to ensure correct specs.
    • Council applications fee, approval for this should take around 10 weeks.
    • Different councils require additional information. Check with us or the local council first. 

At the end of the day, it’s safety that is the council’s priority. If everything is being done correctly we are all good, it’s just time consuming that’s the frustrating part. It’s just how it is.

Any other structures like garden beds or other similar areas are not a cause for concern as they are not a safety threat. Let’s take a look at a few points to consider when applying for approval for your retaining wall.

  • As a rule, now this can change from state to state. Any retaining wall over 1 metre will require council approval.
  • Some states require approval when a wall is close to another structure or wall. As a rule, use 1.5 metres as a guide.
  • Walls usually need to be built away from other easements by a minimum of at least a metre. Other structures may include piping and water mains. 
  • A golden rule whenever building a retaining wall is to make sure no water can or will run into another property.

Remember when it comes to building a structure as a retaining wall the key points to follow here is the integrity of the structure and safety.

So yes you can submit your own approval for your retaining wall. We are here to help with the process if you need it. We are just a phone call away. Any doubts you can always check and talk to an experienced Central Coast retaining wall builder. So please reach out if you have any questions.