Earthworks (excavation/cut and fill) and structural supports (including retaining walls and other forms of structural support) are types of development that can be undertaken as exempt development, or complying development under a relevant part of the policy.
Earthworks and structural supports must be structurally adequate and installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
Additional approval from the council may be required if trees or other vegetation are pruned or removed.
Earthworks and structural supports must:
In addition the following requirements specify how earthworks and structural supports are to be constructed:
Earthworks and structural supports that exceed 600mm above or below existing ground level may be approved by a private certifier as complying development. Standards for complying development ensure that any earthworks or structural supports:
must not be located over a registered easement.
Earthworks and structural supports have the potential to cause damage to properties and additional standards will apply when undertaking works which exceed the exempt development restrictions.
In residential areas, retaining walls and other forms of structural support may also require certification by a professional engineer if:
If works are within 40m of a natural water body, the maximum depth of excavation is limited to 1m.
Excavation of certain depths must have a separation distance from a boundary in accordance with the following:
Fill is limited to a maximum height of 1m above existing ground level.
Adding fill around a dwelling house is a practical measure that may be in the form of a level platform or podium to provide a suitable transition to the backyard or other outdoor areas. This fill is limited to, and must be contained by either:
Additional standards for earthworks and structural supports are also required for commercial and industrial development, are that the works must:
If the development is either for a new, or additions to an existing commercial or industrial building that has a boundary adjoining a rail corridor, all works must be setback at least 3m from that boundary.
All development must comply with the prescribed conditions contained in the EP&A Regulation 2000, and the standard conditions located in Schedule 7 of the policy. All works must also comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia.
For more information visit the Exempt and Complying Development Policy website www.planning.nsw.gov.au/exemptandcomplying or contact the Department’s Exempt and Complying Development Team on 1300 305 695 or by email email@example.com
The Electronic Housing Code website helps applicants determine whether the proposed development qualifies as exempt or complying development and the standards that must be met.
Applications for complying development can also be lodged and tracked online for those council areas which are using the Electronic Housing Code. Visit the Electronic Housing Code website www.electronichousingcode.com.au to find out if it is used by your local council or for more details.
Normally the owners of neighbouring properties must equally share the cost of building a sufficient dividing fence. Under the Dividing Fences Act, a retaining wall is part of a 'dividing fence' if it is necessary for the support and maintenance of the fence.
Visit NSW Government Justice Law Access for information on: