What is classified as a ‘fence’?
In the building regulations, a fence includes 'a screen or a structure similar to a screen'. This means that regulations also apply to privacy screens, a trellis and trellis extensions to an existing fence.
Do I need a permit for my fence?
In some cases, a building permit will be required, this is generally when the fence has the potential to impact the general public or block essential lines of sight. For example, if the fence runs along a front, side or rear street and is
- higher than average
- contains barbed wire
- may impact vision at an intersection
- or is more than 2m high.
Even if you don’t need a permit, there are regulations that apply including:
- Maximum front, side and rear fence heights
- Fence lengths and setbacks
- Fences near intersections
- Fences opposite neighbours’ windows, in particular north-facing windows
- Fences near neighbours’ outdoor recreational space
Our information sheet on fences outlines the detailed regulations that apply and when a building permit is required.
Fence information sheet (PDF, 155.97KB)
If you want to build a fence that does not fall within the regulations you can apply for a variation through the report and consent process.
Negotiating boundary fences with neighbours
Talking to your neighbours about boundary fencing is essential, however, sometimes it can be challenging if you have different opinions. Fencing disputes with neighbours are a civil matter. Unless the fence is in breach of building regulations, it is not a matter we can help with.
If you are having trouble talking with your neighbours, we recommend the following approach:
- Write, explaining the issues
- If that is unsuccessful, ask your fencing contractor to issue a ‘fencing notice’ – a legal document that requires a response within 30 days
Other options include:
- Mediation via The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
- Magistrate’s court (this is costly and should be a last resort)