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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Retaining walls

Retaining walls

Retaining walls need building approval, unless they meet all of the following criteria:

  • less than one (1) metre high
  • further than 1.5 metres to a building or another retaining wall
  • only supports the soil behind the wall, nothing above
  • not part of a pool fencing
  • combined wall and fence height are less than 2 metres
  • not built over a service (sewer or stormwater)
  • meets structural requirements
  • not in an easement or covenant area
  • meets earlier development conditions
  • not in a waterfront setback area.

If you are unsure of these requirements a licenced contractor, designer, engineer or building certifier may be able to assist.

Conditions from subdivision approvals may regulate retaining walls including height, location and materials. Subdivision approvals may be on earlier lots and include plans of development. These can be found using PD Online or by submitting a search request.

A side boundary setback should be a minimum of 600 millimetres to avoid maintenance or ownership issues with your neighbour.

Stormwater must be captured and piped to the kerb or stormwater system and cannot be concentrated onto your neighbour's property as a result of the work.

If your retaining wall affects your neighbour, you should speak to them before starting work; this helps avoid disputes or legal action.

To make a complaint about a retaining wall, please refer to the relevant sections within Report a problem - Development compliance.

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