Building and structures

Fences and retaining walls

For outdoor structures like fences and retaining walls, the main reason you may require a consent is if you're building over a certain height.

If you're building below the height limit set in the Building Act, you won't require a building consent. The Act still requires you to make sure that all work complies with the Building Code.

Even if you don't need a building consent, your structure may be affected by other rules in the district and regional plans or the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, meaning you may still need a resource consent.  

Auckland Council will continue to enforce the rules set out in the district and regional plans until the Unitary Plan becomes operative. This means there will continue to be different rules for different parts of the region, and no single measurement that you need to follow.

If you're planning outdoor building work, it's always best to contact us so we can tell you what rule applies to your property.


You will generally only need a building consent for fences over 2.5m.

However, you may still need a resource consent for some fences below this height. Contact us to check the specific height restrictions and design requirements for your local area.

Working with your neighbours

As a property owner you are entitled to build a fence on a common boundary, or upgrade an inadequate existing fence. However, your neighbour also has rights.  

If you're replacing an existing fence, you should consult with your neighbour before you get started.

If you'd like your neighbour to contribute to the cost of the new or replacement fence, you will need to discuss this with them and agree on the type of fence, its construction and the cost, before the work starts.

If you and your neighbour are in agreement, we recommend that you put the terms you've agreed on in writing and both sign.

It's normal for costs to be shared equally for a realistic proposal, but you can arrange a different option.

If you cannot reach an agreement, then you may have to progress issues under the Fencing Act 1978. Section 10 of the Act sets out how you can get your neighbour to contribute to the cost of an adequate fence.

For further information, please contact us.

Retaining walls

For a retaining wall, you may need a building consent or a resource consent, depending on:

  • the scale and nature of your proposed earthworks
  • the height and location of your proposed retaining wall.

Generally, you will need a building consent if your retaining wall is higher than 1.5m, or has a building or driveway near the top.

You may also need a resource consent if there are significant earthworks involved.

Earthworks, particularly those involving retaining walls and excavations, can result in land instability. Land instability can cause considerable damage to both your property and neighbouring properties, so ensure you plan your work carefully and contact us to see what consents are needed. 

Your feedback helps us to improve our website. If you have feedback about our services (not the website), please contact us.