Please note – This information should be used as a general guide only. It’s always best to contact your local council for advice.
Do you need a building permit to install a fence?
Building permits are required for most, but not all fences.
In some circumstances, a planning permit may also be required.
There are different regulations and requirements for all councils. Whether you need a permit is dependent on the area you live in, the location of where you want to install the fence, the height of the fence, and the type of fence.
Most councils have a maximum height requirement that you won’t need a permit. You may still be able to have a fence above the height limit but this is only permitted if you obtain Report and consent from your local Council. They will determine if the fence is going to have an impact on pedestrians, the driver’s vision, or your neighbours. The fence must not disrupt the streetscape.
All structures, including footings, must be located within the property where the works are being carried out.
- Front Fences within 3m of a VicRoads declared roads are to be no more than 2m in height and for non-declared roads they must not breach 1.5m (in most Councils). If you obtain Report and Consent from your local Council you may be able to build higher.
- If your fence is within 9m of a street intersection it must not exceed 1m in height.
Be sure to check with your council to what their requirements are for your house.
When do I need a Building Permit for a fence?
A Council consent and a building permit are required for:
- front fences are generally over 1.2 / 1.5 metres high depending on council (or 2.0 metres if facing a ‘declared road’)
- fences on the corner of 2 streets over 1 metre in height within 9 metres of the intersection of the street boundaries.
- A report and consent of the Council are required for an application for a building permit to build over an easement if you are proposing to build over or within an easement vested in Council.
The Victorian Building Authority article on when a building permit is required indicates what fences and other buildings require or are exempt from requiring a building permit.
When are Permits required?
It is always best to get a permit for any work done to your home in the future if you intend to sell your house. Any illegal works done without a permit can be ordered by the council to be demolished, so that it is deemed safe.
Most councils will require permits for any of the following:
- The fence is to be installed on a shared boundary.
- It may depend on how close the shared boundary is to the fence being installed.
- The fence is being installed near an Alleyway or public space ie. Parkland.
- If there is a body corporate or covenant for the property.
- If the property is a Heritage overlay.
- Are there any significant trees within 4m of the fence?
- If the fence is to be installed over an easement.
- If the fence is to be installed over a flood zone.
- Some councils may require a certain amount of transparency for the fence.
Council consent and report
Some provisions may vary in the Building Regulations when issued a Council Consent.
The Building Regulations 2018 contain a number of provisions where the Council can decide whether or not to allow a proposal.
- Construction over a drainage easement
- Variations in height and setback requirements
- Constructing sheds/garages on vacant allotments
- Fence heights
- Construction on unsewered land
- Construction on land is liable to flooding.
Please refer to the Building Regulations 2018 for a complete list of the matters that require Council Report and Consent.
Council Consents can be broken down into 3 separate types.
Each type of Council Consent has a different application form:
- Council Consent Non-Siting Matters
- Example: projections beyond streets, public protection, unsewered areas, land subject to flooding
- Council Consent Siting Matters
examples: setbacks, wall heights, and lengths, site coverage
- Drainage Easement
- For construction over or excavation into a drainage easement
Matters covered by this classification include:
- Building over a drainage easement
- Projections beyond street alignment
- Architectural features
- Service pipes and rainwater heads
- Sunblinds and awnings
- Windows and balconies
- Window shutters
- Buildings above or below a street, railway, bus terminal, or similar public facility
- Precautions over a street to protect the safety of the public
- Installation or alteration of a septic tank system, or construction of a building over an existing septic tank system
- Construction of buildings on land liable to flooding
- Building on designated land – Uncontrolled overland drainage.
Matters covered by this classification include:
- Maximum setback from a street boundary
- Minimum setback from a street boundary
- Building height
- Site coverage
- Impermeable surfaces covering more than 80% of an allotment area
- Car parking spaces
- Side or rear boundary setbacks – height and length
- Walls or carports on the side / rear boundary
- Building setbacks – daylight to existing habitable room window
- Building setbacks – solar access to existing north-facing windows
- Building design – overshadowing of recreational private open space
- Window or raised open space – overlooking
- Building design – daylight to habitable room window
- Private open space
- Appurtenant Class 10 buildings including garages/sheds on vacant lots
- Front fence height
- Fence setback from the side or rear boundary
- Length or height of side or rear boundary fence
- A fence within 9 metres of an intersection
- Fence setback – daylight to existing habitable room window
- Fence setback – solar access to existing north-facing windows
- Fence design – overshadowing of recreational private open space
(Side and rear boundary adjoining another property only)
In most cases, the ‘normal’ height of a boundary paling or colourbond fence is 1.6 – 1.8 metres.
Owners may need a building permit to erect a fence up to 2 metres.
For fencing over 2 metres in height, there are height/length/setback limitations. Contact your local council.
A front fence is defined as a fence that is within 3 metres of the street boundary at the front of the allotment.
Separate provisions apply to fences at intersections (corner fences) – see below.
Any front fence constructed of brick, stone, masonry, etc over 1.2 metres high requires a building permit.
A timber or steel frame front fence over 1.5 metres high requires a building permit.
Most front fences over 1.5 metres in height will also require council consent.
The only exception to this is for fences facing a ‘Declared Road’. (Declared Road – freeway or arterial road under the Road Management Act 2004). In this case, council consent is required for fences over 2 metres in height.
Height is measured above the footpath level.
A Street Occupation Permit is required where works are undertaken beyond the property boundary (for example: from a footpath or nature strip).
A Council consent and report are required for barriers beyond the street alignment for the protection of the public during construction.
Any part of a fence located within 9 metres of a point of intersection of street alignments (corner fences) can only be constructed up to 1 metre in height.
Both Council consent and a building permit are required to construct a higher fence.
Custom Built Fences will contact the council for you to ascertain the permits that are required for your job. This process can take up to 2 weeks.
Each council has its own procedure and requirement when it comes to approving permits. Depending on the council and the number of permits required, this process can take up to 5 months.
Can you guarantee that you are going to be able to get this through the council?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that council will approve your permit, as this is out of our control. Each council will have its own procedure when approving permits and we do not have any influence on this. The time frame to receive approval for a permit is determined by the council, please check with your council.
Please check with your Local Council regarding their procedure when processing permits.
Wyndham City Council
City of Melton
Hume City Council
City of Whittlesea
Nillumbik Shire Council
Yarra Ranges Council
Cardinia Shire Council
Knox City Council
City of Casey
Maroondah City Council
Manningham City Council
Banyule City Council
City of Darebin
Moreland City Council
City of Moonee Valley
Maribyrnong City Council
Hobsons Bay City Council
Brimbank City Council
Mornington Peninsula Shire
Frankston City Council
Greater Dandenong City Council
City of Kingston
Bayside City Council
Glen Eira City Council
City of Monash
City of Stonnington
City of Boroondara
City of Melbourne
City of Port Phillip
City of Yarra
Custom Built Fences specialise in a large range of custom fences in Melbourne and surrounding areas. Our service includes design permits & construction. We can provide the best design and the best price for your custom fence. Offering custom design fences as well as the popular styles, modular fences, Masonry fences, and Steel fences. We have a vast selection of infill steel fences, including scrolls, rings, and spears tops. As well as a large range of different capping to choose from and different locking options to suit your fence. We offer all custom-built fences — aluminium fences, steel fences, cast iron fences, custom weatherboard look fences, custom brick fences, custom combination fences, custom rendered fences, custom gates, as well as custom steel work for domestic or commercial use, such as shopping centres or restaurant barriers and feature work.
Contact us here today to arrange an appointment.