You may need to apply for a building consent and or a resource consent if you are building a retaining wall or putting up a fence.
A retaining wall is designed specifically to hold soil in place. Retaining walls are often constructed on a boundary or as part of the sub-floor of a building where steep land has been excavated. Backfill and drainage of retaining walls must be constructed and compacted properly to prevent water-logging and damage to the wall, and ensure ground stability.
If you need to carry out significant earthworks to build your retaining all you may need to get a resource consent from New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) and/or Taranaki Regional Council (TRC).
For each 100sq.m of site area, up to 20cu.m of material may be filled and/or excavated in any 12 month period. A resource consent will be required where this quantity limitation is exceeded. Find out more on our resource consents pages.
If you are adding fill to the site, please phone TRC on 06 765 7127 to ensure that the fill material and quantity are within the permitted parameters. They will advise you if a resource consent is required.
A building consent is required for retaining walls more than 1.5m high. However, a retaining wall less than 1.5m high will need a building consent if the area above will be subject to additional weight from vehicles or buildings.
Ground conditions may affect the design of the retaining wall - an engineer can assess this. Ground that appears dry on the surface may be considerably wetter deeper down.
Cracks in your retaining wall?
Retaining wall bowing or tilting?
Lack of free draining material behind the wall.
If you have cracks in your retaining wall these could be caused by:
If your retaining wall bows or tilts it could be caused by:
When constructing a retaining wall or fence near the boundary of a property including the road frontage, make sure the entire structure, including the footings, are within your property (unless it is a shared structure on the boundary as covered by The Fencing Act 1978).
Fences higher than 2m are defined as “buildings” under the District Plan and specific rules apply. Check the District Plan for more information.
A building consent is required for fences greater than 2.5m in height. A fence up to 2.5m high does not require a building consent; however, all building work must still comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
If a fence forms part of a swimming pool fence, separate rules and consents apply. See swimming pools for more information.
This is commonly caused by:
Tip: Painting a timber fence when it is dry with a light coloured paint will lessen the temperature change, restricting the movement and twisting of the wood.
We receive many queries about fencing issues between neighbours. However, we do not advise on shared fencing issues as we regard these as a civil matter.
When building a fence between your property and your neighbour’s property, your respective rights and obligations are set out in The Fencing Act 1978. If you are planning to build on or near the boundary it is courteous to talk to your neighbour first.
Unresolved matters can be taken to the Disputes Tribunal or the District Court. Contact your solicitor or local Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.
Note: If no consent is needed, all building work must still comply with the Building Code.
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Page last updated: 04:59PM Wed 13 October 2021