Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the common questions we get asked. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you want any further information or have any further questions - we are always happy to help.
Do I need approvals?
All retaining walls that are within 1000mm of the boundary or over 600mm high will require an approval. Where possible, we strive to design walls that will meet Codes SEPP 2008 development standards. The advantage of this is that the approval process is usually shorter and can, in some cases, be slightly more straight forward.
Can I build on the boundary?
Yes, it is possible to build a Retaining Wall on the boundary. We would require an on-site consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.
We have experience in gaining approvals to build Retaining Walls on the boundary.
Are the approvals a money making scam by the council?
No. The council is involved to ensure that the proposed development:
a) Is safe for you, your friends and your family, as well as your neighbours
b) Does not have a negative effect on the environment
b) Is constructed according to engineer specifications to ensure safety, structural integrity as well as no encroachments on to you neighbours property.
How much are approvals and how long does it take?
The cost of obtaining Council approvals is directly proportionate to the construction cost, so once we have prepared a Quote for this, we will contact Council on your behalf to get a quote for approval related fees and include this in our overall Quote to you.
Organising engineer drawings usually takes 2 - 4 weeks
A Complying Development once lodged takes approximately 12 working days
A Development Application once lodged takes approximately 8-12 weeks
The above time frames are dependant on availability of relevant information.
How do I know to trust a tradesperson?
In NSW, a landscaping tradesperson must be licensed to do work over $5,000.
Dezigna Retaining Walls holds a Structural Landscaping licence. We are licenced under Schedule 5 of the Home Building Regulation 2004 to carry out Structural Landscaping, which includes Retaining Walls.
You can do a licence check by going to https://www.licence.nsw.gov.au/LicenceCheck/ and entering in our licence number on the Home Building Section (253186C).
Signs that should make you weary are if a tradesperson tells you there is no need to enter into a contract or for you to obtain Home Warranty Insurance (applicable if your project is valued over $20k). You should also question them if they tell you that you don't need Council approvals or Engineering Drawings.
In most cases you will need all of the above to adhere to current legislation and development control plans.
As the buck stops with you as a home owner, it is up to you to ensure you contact the relevant authorities to ensure that your development meets state legislation and local council development control plans, illegal works can leave you with an expensive headache.
Why are some companies walls cheaper than others?
The old saying of "You get what you pay for" holds true in the world of construction in particular. When receiving a quote you need to ensure that all works included, and excluded, are clearly specified. It may be that one quote is substantially lower than another, but you land up paying more in the end to complete the job to the point you expected it to be done. As you personally will not be on site 24/7, we ensure all works are inspected by an engineer and council and can provide our clients with progress photos for peace of mind.
You pay more for quality. A solid, well constructed Retaining Wall will last more than a lifetime and so the workmanship/materials is of paramount importance. We ensure that good quality blocks, wood, steel and concrete, where applicable, are used for the construction of your wall. We take time, effort and care to install your wall.
What is unseen underground is just as important as above ground, we only use concrete for our footings.
We do not compromise on quality.
I've heard so many different opinions on retaining wall approvals and legislation, who do I trust?
All the relevant information you require is State Legislation, local council development control plans do vary though. Information is available on your local council website as well as Code SEPP 2008 for Exempt and Complying developments. The Electronic Housing Commission can also be a useful tool.
Please see links below for your local Council website, the EHC, as well as current State Legislation.