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Building a fence

There are planning and building Acts and Regulations that control the building and management of fences. This includes their height, construction material, and neighbour agreement; including who pays for them.

See also what happens if your property shares a boundary with Council land

You may need some of the following permissions to build or replace a fence. You can see full details in the specific fence types below.

  1. Planning Permit
    If your site has had any previous planning permit then it’s likely you will need to amend your original planning permit if changing your fence position, height or material.
  2. Building Dispensation (Report and Consent)
    You can apply for a Dispensation if you are planning a fence that does not comply with building regulation requirements.
  3. Building Permit
    You will always need a Building Permit if your fence:
    • is higher than specified in the Building Regulations
    • has been granted a Planning Permit
    • has been granted a Dispensation
    • is part of a safety barrier for a swimming pool or spa
    • is part of a children’s service outdoor play space.

Title and property boundaries

Your title boundary defines where your property ends and your neighbour’s begins, and can be found on your title. 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 your property boundaries, you should contact a licensed land surveyor to do a check survey.

Further details

Open the following to see the requirements for each type of fence, and if you need to apply for any permits or dispensations. More than one section may apply to your fence.

The Fences Act 1968  and its 2014 amendment regulate common boundary fences – that’s when you and your neighbour share a fence. It regulates items such as contributions to the cost of fences and the serving of a Notice to Fence if an agreement between parties cannot be reached.

Who pays?

Regulations concerning 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 Fences Act provides for different parties to contribute in different proportions in different circumstances.

Getting your neighbour’s agreement

See the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria website for information on what notices to send to neighbours and how to resolve disputes.

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.

Not sure who owns the neighbouring property?

Council can tell you the owner’s name and mailing address. You can apply for the owner's details online or in writing.

Apply for adjoining property owner details 

Note:

  • Council does not have ownership details for common properties. Please contact the property's owners corporation (body corporate) directly for this. Their contact details are usually found on the joint letterboxes.
  • The information provided is confidential and is intended for the use of the named applicant only. It is specifically for the purpose of obtaining your neighbour's agreement, who should be contacted by mail only .

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 neighbours' windows and secluded, private open space.

There are concessions for the construction and/or alteration of a boundary fence if it is altered as a result of Building Regulation 84. Please consult your neighbour if you intend to modify the boundary fence.

A front fence is defined as any fence at the front of your property that is within 3m of the title boundary. If your fence is more than 3m from the front boundary and more than 2m in height, you must apply for a Building Permit.

Do you need a planning permit?

If your residential site has ever had a previous planning permit (including Unit Development sites), even if a long time ago, then it’s likely you will need to amend your original planning permit if you are building or changing a fence. If you are replacing with exactly the same fence then no amendment is needed.

You can apply online to amend a Planning Permit. You will need to tell us the location and design of the fence. If you are amending an existing Planning Permit, you will not need to apply for a Building Dispensation.

Do you need a dispensation?

Building regulations do allow for some flexibility when your proposed fence does not comply with building regulations. Areas that are considered when looking at a dispensation on a proposed fence include:

  • if it is in keeping with fences in the immediate area
  • how close its height is to the building regulations.

You will need to apply for a dispensation if you want to build a fence higher than the following regulations.

Front fence height regulations

You need to know the zone of your land under the Maroondah Planning Scheme to know how high you can build you front fence.

Check VicPlan and find your Planning Scheme Zone

If your zone is one of:

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • General Residential Zone
  • Residential Growth Zone
  • Mixed Use Zone

then you can build a front fence up to 0.9m in height (or up to 1.2m high on a Declared Road) without the need for a Dispensation or Building Permit.

If you want to build a higher fence, you need to:

  1. Apply for a Dispensation
  2. Apply for a Building Permit if the dispensation is granted.

For all other Zones you can build a front fence up to 1.5m in height (or up to 2m high on a Declared Road) - without the need for a Dispensation or Building Permit.

Apply for a Dispensation

You may also need to look at:

Do you need a Building Permit?

You must apply for a Building Permit if:

  • you have been granted a Planning Permit or Dispensation as above
  • your fence is more than 3m from the front boundary and more than 2m in height
  • the fence will be brick, and higher than 1.2m.

Apply for a building permit

Do you need a Planning Permit?

If your site has ever had a previous planning permit (including Unit Development sites), even if a long time ago, then it’s likely you will need to amend your original planning permit if you are building a new fence.

If you are replacing a fence with the same type and height, then you do not need to apply for a Planning Permit.

You can apply online to amend a planning permit. You will need to tell us the location and design of the fence. If you are amending an existing Planning Permit, you will not need to apply for a Building Dispensation.

Do you need a Dispensation?

Building regulations do allow for some flexibility when your proposed fence does not comply with building regulations. Areas that are considered when looking at a dispensation on a proposed fence include:

  • if it is in keeping with fences in the immediate area
  • how close its height is to the building regulations.

You will need to apply for a dispensation if you want to build a fence higher than the following regulations.

Side or rear fence height regulations

If you want to build a side or rear fence that is higher than 2m, you need to:

  • apply for a Dispensation
  • apply for a Building Permit if the dispensation is granted.

Apply for a Dispensation

Please contact Building Services on 03 9298 4327 for any help with Dispensations.

Do you need a Building Permit?

If you wish to build a fence on the side or rear of your property boundary that is higher than 2m you will need to:

  1. Apply for a Dispensation.
  2. Check specific building regulation requirements, such as:
    • the setback from the boundaries (Section 90)
    • the maximum height of the fence (Section 91)
    • the proximity of your windows and those of your neighbours that face the fence (Section 94)
    • the proximity of any north-facing windows in your neighbours' house (Section 95)
    • overshadowing of your neighbour’s recreational private open space (Section 96)
  3. Apply for a Building Permit

When applying for a building permit, your construction plans for the fence must also show that you are complying with the above items.

Apply for a Building Permit

To ensure safety , traffic sight distances need to be maintained  at road corners and intersections.

Fence height regulations apply as for front fences and side fences, except there are additional restrictions for the frontage that is within 9m of the street corner. In this area, any fence are limited further in height.

You will need to know the Planning Scheme Zone for your property to work out maximum heights. Look it up at VicPlan

  • If the fence you are building is brick, please also see Brick fences
  • If the fence you are building is a pool fence, please also see Pool and spa fences

Do you need a Planning Permit?

If your site has ever had a previous planning permit (including Unit Development sites), even if a long time ago, then it’s likely you will need to amend your original planning permit if you are building or replacing a fence.

You can apply online to Amend a planning permit. You will need to tell us the location and design of the fence. If you are amending an existing Planning Permit, you will not need to apply for a Building Dispensation.

Do you need a Dispensation?

Building regulations do allow for some flexibility where a fence design does not comply with specific building regulation requirements.

If you want to build a fence that is higher than regulations on a street corner, you need to:

  1. Apply for a Dispensation
  2. apply for a Building Permit if the dispensation is granted.

Apply for a Dispensation

Do you need a Building Permit?

You will need to apply for a Building Permit if you:

Apply for a Building Permit

Corner fence height regulations

Fence height regulations apply as for front and side fences, except there are additional restrictions for the frontage that is within 9m of the street corner. In this area, any fence cannot be higher than .9m in most planning residential zones, and 1m in other zones.Corner fencing showing the Traffic Sight Triangle

Key to map

Green dashed line representing front fencing restrictions

First, check VicPlan to find your Planning Scheme Zone and also see if you live on a Declared Road.

The Traffic Sight Triangle is the triangle formed 9m along each boundary from the corner of your property.

If your zone is one of:

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • General Residential Zone
  • Residential Growth Zone
  • Mixed Use Zone

then you will need a Dispensation and Building Permit to build a front fence higher than:

In all other planning use zones you will need a:

  • Dispensation to build a front fence higher than:
  • Building Permit to build a front fence higher than:
  • 1m if within the Traffic Sight Triangle (see diagram)
  • 1.5m otherwise.
Red full line

You will need a Dispensation and Building Permit to build a front fence higher than 2m.

 

Do you  need a Planning Permit or Dispensation?

Please see Front Fences and Side and rear fences for details on planning permit and dispensation requirements.

Do you need a Building Permit?

You will need a Building Permit if you wish to build a brick fence higher than regulation. This regulation depends on your Planning Zone.

Check VicPlan and find your Planning Scheme Zone

If your zone is one of:

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • General Residential Zone
  • Residential Growth Zone
  • Mixed Use Zone

then a Building Permit is always required if a brick fence will be higher than 0.9m and not on a Declared road.

For any other planning zone, or if your fence is on a Declared Road, a Building Permit is required if a brick fence is higher than 1.2m.

Apply for a Building Permit

Fences containing barbed wire or sharp protrusions must be built at least 1.5m from the street alignment (title boundary) or public open space (such as a park).

The barbed wire or sharp protrusions must be at least 2m above the adjacent ground level. See Building Regulation 93 

Do you need a Planning Permit?

  • If the pool or spa fence is also a front fence please see Front fences.
  • If the pool or spa fence is also a side or rear fence, please see Side and rear fences.
  • Otherwise, if your site has ever had a previous Planning Permit (including Unit Development sites), even if a long time ago, then it’s likely you will need to amend your original planning permit if you are building a new fence. If you are amending an existing Planning Permit, you will not need to apply for a Building Dispensation.

Do you need a Dispensation?

A Dispensation is needed if the fence is in the front of the property.

Apply for a Dispensation

Do you need a Building Permit?

A Building Permit is always required for the construction of, or alterations to:

  • all swimming pools - in ground and above ground capable of holding water greater than 300mm deep
  • spas
  • associated safety barriers.

See further details on the specific requirements of pool fencing

This includes facilities such as kindergartens, child care centres, playgroup centres, non-government schools.

Do you need a Planning Permit?

As the children’s service would already have a Planning Permit applied to the property, you will need to apply to amend the permit.

If you are replacing a fence with the same type and height, you do not need to amend a Planning Permit or apply for a dispensation.

Do you need a Dispensation?

As you are amending an existing Planning Permit, you will not need to apply for a Building Dispensation.

Do you need a Building Permit?

A building permit is always required if the fence forms part of a children’s service outdoor play space.

Apply for a Building Permit

Further information

For further information or for clarification, contact:

  • Statutory Planning
    Phone: 1300 88 22 33  or 9298 4598
  • Building Services
    Phone: 91300 88 22 33  or 9298 4598

Email:  maroondah@maroondah.vic.gov.au

10/08/2017
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