The Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2006 stipulate the requirements for the construction of fencing on a property. Additional controls are also in place throughout some of the areas of the shire under the Wellington Planning Scheme.
Fences on Common Boundaries
Timber fences between adjoining properties may be constructed to a maximum height of 2m without the need for a building permit, however owners are advised to consult their neighbours and the Fences Act 1968 prior to construction. All other fencing requires a building permit for which you will need to contact a private building surveyor.
When constructing a fence that exceeds 2m in height, consideration must be given to windows that face the fence (both yours and your neighbours). You will be required to provide a clear area, called a light court, between habitable room windows and the fence. The light court must have a minimum dimension of 1m and a minimum area of 3m2.
Further restrictions apply if; the fence is opposite a north facing window and that window is within 3m of the boundary, exceeds a height of 3m and is adjacent to an existing adjoining window or overshadows recreational private open space (Building Regulation 429).
Council will contribute to the shared costs of fencing on boundaries of occupied land where Council is the owner or has vested control in accordance with Council Fencing Policy. You may view the Council Fencing Policy under the Build Environment section of the Council Policy Manual (5MB).
Notice to Fence Notice
When constructing a fence between two adjoining properties, the Fences Act 1968 outlines the sharing of costs and what is required to serve a Notice to Fence Notice (46KB) to an adjoining property owner.
It is to be noted that fencing issues or disputes are not a Council matter, but rather a civil one between you and your neighbour. These issues can only be resolved by negotiation, by referring the matter to the Magistrates Court or by contacting the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV).
This is a free service that is able to provide some guidance in relation to matters covered by the Fences Amendment Act (2014) Vic and their website also features simple tips and advice for resolving neighbourhood disputes without having to resort to legal action.
If you are building a fence along the front title boundary of your property it is important to check that your boundary is correct. A licensed land surveyor can determine the boundary locations.
As a general rule the maximum front fence height for most properties under Building Regulation 424 will be 1.5m within 3m of the front title boundary. If the heights are exceeded or the fence is constructed of masonry you will need a building permit for which you must contact a Private Building Surveyor.
Fences on Corner Properties
Restrictions apply to fences on corner sites within 9m of the intersection of the title boundaries. A maximum fence height of 1m is enforced in order for motorists to obtain a clear view of an intersection. Applications to Council for report and consent to allow a greater fence height may be granted in exceptional circumstances only.
Swimming Pool/Spa Barriers
Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government regulations and standards in regards to barriers. Please view the Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Barriers (1MB) document issued by the Building Commission for further information.
New regulations by the Victorian Government will be coming into force under a regimes of new safety measures to ensure existing and new pool and spa barriers are maintained.
These measures will be introduced in an effort to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents among children aged five and under in private pools and spas.
If the barriers do not comply, the Council officer undertaking the inspection must issue a non-compliance certificate.
The new regulations will come into effect on 1 December 2019, but won’t be enforced until April 2020, so that pool and spa owners have enough time to adjust to the changes. Further information will be available via our website as it becomes available from the Victorian Government.