Dividing fences

Council does not become involved with dividing fence issues between adjoining neighbours.

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 defines the law relating to constructing and repairing fences that divide adjoining land, and neighbours responsibilities for trees.

Exempt from Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011

Local, State and Commonwealth governments are exempt from the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011. You won't be able to claim half of the cost of this section of the fence if your land adjoins land owned by government and/or is a park, reserve, railway line etc. An exception may apply if Crown land is leased to other parties. Legislation also does not apply to trees within a public park.

The Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 specifically excludes a retaining wall. Retaining walls serve a different purpose than fences. They are engineered to support build up or excavated earth. Retaining walls are not normally a matter of joint responsibility for neighbours because a retaining wall is usually of more benefit to one neighbour.

The responsibility of the wall lies with the land owner that the retaining wall is in favour of and is site specific, (i.e. if they had their block cut to have a level building pad the retaining wall was put there for that purpose and the responsibility lies with the owner of the lower block, the reverse can be true if the block is filled). The matter may become civil in regards to responsibility of maintenance/drainage. The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) may or may not be able to assist.

Design & siting relaxation

Building approval

All fences constructed more than 2m in height above natural ground level require building approval from a private building certifier. This includes if a retaining wall of 1m has been constructed, and a fence over 1m in height is being constructed on top of the retaining wall.

Retaining walls will also require a building approval if:

  1. there is a surcharge loading over the zone of influence of the wall; or
  2. the total height of the wall and of the fill or cut retained by the wall is more than 1m above the wall's natural ground surface; or
  3. the wall is closer than 1.5m to a building or another retaining wall; or
  4. Within the clearance requirements of a sewer manholes or easement.

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