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With the transition to standard Local Environmental Plans, retaining walls are assessed in accordance with the Exempt and Complying Codes SEPP or any development consent applying to the land. This means that retaining walls require approval if over 600 mm high and closer than 1 m to a boundary (see http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/EPI/2008/572/part2/div1/subdiv15 for all requirements).
Inspections of retaining walls by the PCA must be carried out as specified on the Construction Certificate or Complying Development Certificate. Some of these inspections may be footings or an in-situ reinforced element in addition to the final.
If owners are responsible for the approval and inspection of retaining walls, and these are necessary for the siting of the house or to comply with a Development Consent, then only an interim Occupation Certificate can be issued provided the house is suitable for occupation. PCG will do what it can to inform owners about the need for inspection of the retaining wall. However if an inspection is missed and it can’t be documented that the circumstances that led to the missed inspection are unavoidable and documentary evidence such as an engineer’s certificate is provided, the owner will have to obtain a building certificate from the Council before PCG can issue a final Occupation Certificate.