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Fence Fact Sheet
Building or repairing your fence
- front fences
- fences abutting the intersection of two streets
- fences greater than 2.0 metres in height
- fences with barbed wire when adjacent to the street
- fences used as swimming pool or spa safety barriers
- fences forming part of a children’s service outdoor play space.
Common boundary fences
A common boundary fence is one that lies between two adjoining properties.
Council does not administer the Fences Act. If you have a dispute with your neighbour over the construction of a new fence or the maintenance of an existing fence we suggest that you contact a community legal centre or a solicitor.
A common boundary fence should not be used to support any structure such as a verandah.
Regulations concerning the issue of who pays for a common boundary fence are subject to many conditions, but a general rule of thumb is that a private owner of land adjoining yours is obliged to contribute to the cost of the fence dividing your properties.
Generally your neighbour would be expected to share the cost equally with you. However, the Act provides for occupiers to contribute in different proportions in different circumstances.
It’s best to obtain a written quotation from a fencing contractor (or preferably two) and approach your neighbour to see if you can reach agreement.
Any agreement reached with your neighbour should be put in writing. The simplest way to do this is for each party to sign a copy of the quotation and to write on it the proportion each agrees to pay. Make sure the quotation is appropriately detailed.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you can serve your neighbour with a Notice to Fence.
If you are building a front fence, side street fence or a common boundary fence and you are in any doubt of the location of title boundaries, please contact a licensed land surveyor to do a check survey.
When a building permit is not required
Timber common boundary fences can be constructed without a building permit if:
- the fence does not exceed a maximum height of 2.0 metres
- the fence is not used as a swimming pool or spa safety barrier
- the fence does not form part of a children’s service outdoor play space, such as a day care centre play area
Fence height restrictions
The definition of a fence’s ‘height’ is the vertical distance between natural ground level at the base of the fence and the top of the fence.
The Maroondah Planning Scheme incorporates a Schedule to the Residential 1 zone that overrides specific heights of front fences in the building regulations.
Note: The Residential 1 zone is the primary planning scheme zone for residential development within Maroondah.
Table 1 - Height of front and side fences that don’t require a building permit.
|R1 Zone||R1 Zone - declared road*||Other zones||Other zones - declared road|
|Maximum height of front fence (within 3.0 metres of the street alignment)||0.9m**||1.2 m**||1.5m**|| 2.0m**
|Maximum height of side and rear boundary fences||2.0m**||2.0m**||2.0m**|| 2.0m**
|Maximum height of brick fence (any location)||0.9m||1.2||1.2||1.2|
|Maximum height of fences within 9.0m of the intersection of two street alignments||See Fences on corner allotments|
* A declared road is a freeway or an arterial road as in the Road Management Act 2004. The height of fences on these roads is generally higher. See a list of declared roads.
** Fences exceeding these heights require a Building Permit and a Report and Consent (commonly referred to as a Siting Dispensation) from Council.
When a Building Permit is required
You will need a Building Permit if:
- the proposed fence height exceeds the heights listed in Table 1 above
- the fence forms part of a safety barrier for a swimming pool or spa
- the fence forms part of a children’s service outdoor play space
- a brick fence is greater than 0.9 metres in a Residential R1 zone and 1.2 metres high in any other zone.
The construction of fences may also require a planning permit under the Maroondah Planning Scheme. Although a Building Permit may not be required, it is always advisable to contact Planning Services on 9298 4287 before starting any works.
- Bayswater Road
- Canterbury Road
- Croydon Road
- Dorset Road
- Hull Road
- Maroondah Highway
- Mt Dandenong Road
- Plymouth Road
- Ringwood Bypass
- Wantirna Road
- Warrandyte Road
- Warranwood Road
- Wicklow Avenue
- Wonga Road (between Warranwood Road and Croydon Road)
- Yarra Road
Fences containing barbed wire or sharp protrusions
Fences containing barbed wire or sharp protrusions must be constructed a minimum of 150mm from the street alignment (title boundary) or public open space (such as a park).
The barbed wire or sharp protrusions must be a minimum of 2.0 metres above the adjacent ground level. Please refer to Building Regulation 427(2)
Fences greater than 2.0 metres high
If you wish to build a fence higher than 2.0 metres adjacent to a side or rear boundary (including a boundary that is a side or rear street alignment) you will need to check specific building regulation requirements such as:
- the setback from the boundaries (Building Regulations 425 and Building Regulation 426)
- the maximum height of the fence (Building Regulations 425 and Building Regulation 426)
- the maximum length of the fence (Building Regulation 426)
- the proximity of your windows and those of your neighbours that face the fence (Building Regulation 428)
- the proximity of any north facing windows in your neighbours house (Building Regulation 429)
- overshadowing of your neighbours recreational private open space (Building Regulation 430).
In applying for a Building Permit, the construction plans for the fence must also show that you are complying with the above items.
Building regulations do allow for some flexibility where a fence design does not comply with specific building regulation requirements. In these cases an application may be made to Council for a Siting Dispensation.
Considerations for your neighbour’s privacy
Building Permit applications for the construction of a new house or alterations/additions to a house, including the construction of a deck, require consideration regarding overlooking of neighbour’s windows and secluded, private open space.
Notwithstanding the requirements of the previous sections, there are concessions for the construction and/or alteration of a boundary fence if it is altered as a result of Building Regulation 419. Please consult your neighbour if you intend to modify the boundary fence.
There are additional restrictions for fences on corner allotments; particularly within 9.0 metres of the intersection of the street alignments (Building Regulation 427). Table 2 (below) and the following diagram shows the height of fences allowed on corner allotments.
Table 2 - Height of front and side fences on corner sites
A dispensation and a Building Permit is required for any front or side street fence exceeding the following heights.
900mm in Residential 1 Zone
1.0 metre in any other Zone
1.2 metre for Declared Road
900mm for Non-Declared Road
For further information about this Information Sheet, please contact Maroondah City Council Building Services on 9298 4327 or email: email@example.com
For clarification on whether planning regulations affect your fence, contact Council’s Statutory Planning on (03) 9298 4287.