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.

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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).

Wellington Shire Council will contribute to the shared costs of fencing where requested by adjoining landowners, on boundaries land where Council is the owner or has vested control.

Council will not contribute to the cost of:

  • Roadways, right of ways
  • Rural Fencing
  • Gates onto Council land
  • Waterways or drainage reserves
  • Fencing resulting from new subdivisions
  • Pedestrian access ways

Council will fund the 50% of the cost with the landowner of the cheapest quotation for a standard 1.8m hardwood paling fence, with concrete posts and plinths. This standard fence has been specified as it is the most resilient to damage, and most cost effective to maintain.

If a landowner requests to build a non-standard fence, Council may contribute on the condition that the landowner accept responsibility for the future maintenance of the fence.

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 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.

Front Fences

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 Wellington Shire Council to allow a greater fence height will be granted in exceptional circumstances only.

Swimming Pool and Spa Barriers

Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government regulations and standards regarding safety barriers.

New regulations by the Victorian Government have into force under a regime for safety measures/inspections to ensure existing and new pool and spa barriers are maintained.

These measures were 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 barriers do not comply, the Council Officer undertaking the inspection must issue a non-compliance certificate.

The new regulations came into effect in 1 December 2019. All swimming pools and spas must be registered, with further information available from our Pool and Spa Safety page.

Additional information, including current guidelines and checklists, is available from the Victorian Building Authority Pool Safety Barriers page.

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