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retaining wall

Exempt Development

Earthworks, Retaining Walls and Structural Supports

Earthworks, retaining walls and structural supports may not need planning approval, as exempt development.

For earthworks, retaining wall and structural support developments to be exempt from planning consent, State policy requires them to:

  • not be carried out, constructed or installed on or in a heritage item or a draft heritage item.
  • be constructed or installed in the rear yard, if in a heritage conservation area and draft heritage conservation area.
  • be located at least 40 metres from a body of natural water.
  • not redirect the flow of any surface water or ground water, or cause sediment to be transported onto an adjoining property,
  • be separated from any other retaining wall on the site horizontally by at least 2 metres.

Please refer to these State Policy provisions on exempt earthworks, retaining wall and structural support developments.

Other considerations

  • Before removing or pruning any existing trees or vegetation, check with your council whether you need approval. 
  • All works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
  • Any structure on or over public land or roads must have approval specifically from the local council or Transport for NSW under the Roads Act 1993 and the Local Government Act 1993
  • Generally, exempt development cannot be carried out on:
Last updated: 20/06/2023