Do I Need a Permit to Get a Retaining Wall for My Melbourne Home?

When it comes to home improvement projects like adding a retaining wall to your Melbourne property, it can be challenging to know when it’s a DIY job you can legally handle and when you need to call in the experts.

It’s not always obvious at what point you need a permit, a professional, or insurance to achieve what you need in a retaining wall, but it’s essential to be aware of the regulations and what permits could be required.

In this article, we’ll address the very common (and sensible) question: “Do I need a permit to get a retaining wall for my Melbourne home?”

Understanding Regulations

Let’s start by explaining the importance of understanding local regulations and their potential consequences. The rules can vary based on factors such as the location, height, and type of retaining wall you want to put up. Some will need a permit. Some won’t. Annoyingly, different rules apply in different situations. Retaining walls are more than a one-size-fits-all building job!

Some landscaping work (which is what retaining walls come under) must only be undertaken by a registered building practitioner. If you are going down that route, ensure you get a VBA-registered builder (like we are!) in to contract the job. 

Retaining Walls Melbourne

The VBA website says you must engage an appropriately registered building practitioner when:

The VBA also considers landscaping work that needs a permit or registered builder to be domestic building work when it is carried out in association with:

You can plant trees, shrubs, lawns, and other vegetation, put in ornamental ponds and water features, create outdoor furniture, sculptures, garden beds, and borders, build the kids a cubby house and play equipment, or put in driveways and paving WITHOUT a registered builder as long as your contract is limited to ONLY these works.

A building permit is required for all retaining walls that are:

Small retaining walls that do not meet this definition may not require a building permit. For confirmation, seek advice from us. We build retaining walls for a living and know the regulations inside and out!
Retaining wall permits and permissions can take time and effort. Call us for a no-obligation free quote that will walk you through what you want to build and what the council and state regulations require.

Residential Zones in Melbourne

Melbourne consists of various residential zones, each with its own set of rules and requirements. We can discuss with you on your site the zone that you’re in, the way that affects you, the differences between these zones, and how they determine the need or type of permits.

Determining Wall Height

The height of your retaining wall is a crucial factor. We can guide you on measuring and doing the calculations determining whether your planned retaining wall exceeds the height limit that requires a permit.

Types of Retaining Walls

Different types of retaining walls may have other permit requirements. We’ll help you explore the distinctions between, for example, what is just a small garden wall and taller, structural retaining walls.

Walls made from timber, rock, and concrete have different structural abilities and permit requirements. It’s best to talk it over with an expert before committing to works that might not be legal.

Concrete Sleeper Retaining Walls Melbourne

The Permit Application Process

If a permit is necessary, we can explain the steps involved in the application process, including helping you prepare the documents you need to have and where to submit your application.

With Jamesco Group on your side, it will be easier than if you attempt to negotiate the portals of the building regulations alone!

Contact Jamesco Group for all your retaining walls needs across Melbourne!

Navigating the permit requirements for retaining walls in Melbourne can seem intimidating, but by working with our team here at Jamesco Group and with our clear understanding of the regulations you’ll encounter and the straightforward process we offer.

You can ensure that your home improvement project complies with the law and will proceed smoothly. Oh – and look great, too! 😉

Contact us today for all your retaining walls!