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Case Study - detailed plans save hassle down the line.

Updated: Apr 27

Faster turnarounds for Class 1a/ Class 10 projects

We're hearing from many clients about the advantages of homeowners arranging an early site survey. This saves time and provides required detail, from the beginning stages of residential, landscaping and pool projects in Brisbane and surrounding regions.

Information from site surveys can help

- create a detailed site plan

- determine if any siting variations (relaxations)/ Build over Asset (BOA) facilitation may be required

To get started with the Building Approvals (BA) process and associated council facilitation, professionally drawn plans should show

- location of existing structures and main infrastructure

- elevation / heights

- details of fences/ boundaries on site

- accurate dimensions of all outbuildings / sheds, including site coverage and distances to outermost projection (OMP)

- details of the natural Ground Levels (and reduced levels/ RLs) a well as the materials proposed.

Case Study: combined heights for fences/ retaining walls, triggering siting variations (relaxations)


For a retaining wall, approval is required

- where the wall exceeds 1m total height

- building work is within 1.5m of a structure

- if the footing for the retaining wall will impose a surcharge loading to any nearby infrastructure/footings.

Refer to Building Regulations 2021 Schedule 1 for more detail (link).

Under Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Building Regulations 2021 if the combined height of fence and retaining wall is more than 2m above natural ground level (or is part of a pool fence) it is non prescribed work so would trigger a building approval.

The QDC MP 1.2 specifies the same - so once over 2m, a building approval and a relaxation is required.

When approached by Council regarding concerns that walls/ fences at a new dwelling had not been included in a siting variation application, the certifier was able to check back on the project. We provided a timely response back to Council, to allay any concerns.

This positive outcome for stakeholders on the project (no extra application/ cost/ time was required) was due to the detailed plans provided by the professional building designer.

Because of this, the combined fence/ retaining wall in question had already been included in the siting variation.

Our team was reminded of the importance of including a full site plan including details of fences/ boundaries for a streamlined approvals process.

Learn more

What engineering is required for retaining walls?

The RPEQ engineer provides the design, and corresponding F15 (stating compliance with Australian Standards and Building Regulations). The project would require a site inspection by the engineer. Learn more

To get started with your retaining wall building approval, we'll need

  • Engineering plans

  • Form 15

  • Site plans

  • QBCC insurance details (if applicable).

We partner with experienced professionals in this field. If we can pass on their details, please let us know

BCC siting variation process and certification infographic

More from BCC here - Rules for Boundary Setback


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