"Long lasting beauty and durable hard finish retaining wall build in San Diego for our commercial store at the most affordable price ever!"
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City Permits for Building a Retaining Wall

When Is a City Permit Required for Building a Retaining Wall?

According to the City of San Diego standards, there are essentially two cases in which a retaining wall permit is required:

  1. The retaining wall is higher than three feet, measured from the top of the footing to the top of the wall.
  2. The retaining wall is supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids (such surcharges include: driveways, walkways, structure footings, etc.)

Retaining wall permit requirements are specifically designed for each type of retaining wall.

How Can You Obtain the Permit from the City?

To be issued a retaining wall permit in San Diego, you need to complete the appropriate forms and of course, pay the permit fees accordingly.

Retaining Wall Permit forms:

  • Plot Plan. Beside the items listed on the typical plot plan, retaining wall plot plans must include the location of the wall on the property, dimensions including height and length and distance from the wall to all adjacent structures, embankments and property lines.
  • Retaining Wall Plan.
  • General Application
  • Parcel Information Checklist

All proposed retaining walls must comply with the Land Development Code of the City of San Diego. At the time of your appointment, you will be advised on any zoning requirements.

Retaining Wall Permit fees:

  • Plan Check Fees. These are paid at the initial plan check.
  • Permit Fees. These fees are to be paid at the time of issuance.

When the permit is issued, you will receive one set of the plans, with all approval stamps on it and an Inspection Record Card. The required city inspection is specific to each type of retaining wall. You will need to call inspectors at all important stages of construction.

Retaining Wall Engineering Design

Despite often looking like a light stack of stone, a retaining wall requires careful engineering so that it can become an efficient system to fight gravity and moisture. Proper retaining wall engineering and non-reinforced wall engineering takes into account any surcharge the wall might need to support, the effects of hydrostatic water pressure and the need for proper drainage able to help avoid frost-heave failure. The actual retaining wall engineering design is based on the initial tests done by experts and includes all details such as materials needed, dimensions (height, depth, length) and specific building techniques, should they be needed.

Gallery of Retaining Walls in


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