retaining wall

Understanding the Law About Retaining Walls

Any time you have to significantly alter the level of the ground around your home, a retaining wall must be constructed. Otherwise, the ground and soil can become unstable and serious erosion can occur. Building inspections can make sure that your property is in good shape, and that its retaining walls obey all of the local ordinances. However, it helps to have an idea about such rules and regulations yourself; learn more about them below.

Who’s Responsibility Is It?

Unfortunately, retaining walls aren’t always needed on just a single property. From time to time, the situation requires that a retaining wall be built between two different properties. In such a scenario, who is responsible for having it built? This must be decided between the two parties; if an agreement can’t be reached, then the courts may need to get involved. Ideally, though, you’ll be able to work something out with your neighbour.

If a retaining wall is needed on the boundary of a property, it can sometimes be built just on one side of the boundary line. In fact, this is the ideal solution – the neighbour who actually requires the retaining wall should have it built on their side of the line. Occasionally, two neighbours may decide to go in on a retaining wall together. In that case, the most fair way to handle it is by having the retaining wall straddle both properties. In terms of costs, the neighbours should try to split them as equitably as possible.

What About Council Approval?

If your retaining wall will provide a difference in level of less than one metre, then you won’t need to seek Council approval. However, if the difference in levels exceeds that amount, then you’re going to need to get approval. Make sure that you know ahead of time what sort of level you’ll require. Otherwise, you’ll have to interrupt your work and seek Council approval in the middle of the project; if you fail to get approved, all of that work will have been for nothing.

Types of Retaining Walls

You have several options when it comes to retaining walls. Concrete sleepers and vertical steel configurations are the most popular choices, since they are inexpensive and easy to build. Soil batter can be performed in cases where very little alterations need to be made to the level of the soil. If you’d like an especially attractive look, you might consider dry stone, moss rock or modular block retaining walls. These are vastly preferable to wood, since termites can make home in it. You should still have a pest inspection company in to check your home for termites from time to time, though, to be safe.