Do I need a permit?
Before building any fence, it's best to check if you need any permits.
There are different regulations and requirements, depending on the location and type of your fence. You need a building permit for most, but not all fences, and you may need a planning permit in some circumstances.
If you need information on whether your fence needs a building permit, download the Victorian Building Authority's practice note, When is a building permit required (PDF).
This information only refers to side and rear boundaries adjoining another property.
In most cases the normal height of a boundary paling or steel fence is between 1.6 and 1.8 metres.
You can build a timber or steel boundary fence without a building permit if it's:
- up to 1.5 metres from the first three metres from the street alignment, and
- two metres in height past the first three metres from the street alignment .
If your fence is more than two 2 metres high, there are height/length/setback limitations.
To find out you need a building permit, please email a rough sketch of what you're proposing to build to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Building Compliance Department can then advise if you need a building permit.
A front fence is defined as a fence that's within three metres of the street boundary at the front of the allotment. Separate provisions apply to fences at intersections, known as corner fences (see below).
You need a building permit if your front fence is:
- made of brick, stone, masonry, etc. and is more than 1.2 metres high.
- made of timber or steel frame and is more than 1.5 metres high.
Most fences that are more than 1.5 metres high also require our consent. The only exemption to this is if your fence faces a ‘Declared Road,’ in which case you need our consent for fences more than two metres high. Declared roads are freeways or arterial road under the Road Management Act 2004. You can contact us to check if your property is on a Declared Road.
Please note: we measure the height of a fence starting at footpath level.
A corner fence is a fence that's located within nine metres of a point of intersection of a street alignment. Corner fences can only be up to one metre high. Anything over this height requires our consent and a building permit.
Swimming pool and spa fences
You always need a building permit for swimming pool fences or alterations. All fencing must also:
- be a minimum height of 1.2 metres.
- meet the specific requirements of the Australian Standard 1926.1-2012 and National Construction Code, Volume 2.
For more information, visit our Swimming pool fences page.
Other things to remember
- Gates, screens and roller doors are included in the fencing provisions
- Please ensure that you fence and guard any excavations during construction
I’ve had a fencing dispute
The Fences Act 1968 states that people sharing a boundary should share the cost of building and maintaining fencing.
One exception to this is if one party wants a special fence – such as a higher fence, for instance – for which they must pay the extra amount.
You should speak to the owner of your neighbouring property before you start building. If you don’t have their contact details and you want to serve them with a Fencing Notice, please apply online for adjoining owners details or complete, sign and date a request for adjoining owners details form (PDF, 301KB).
If you and your neighbour can’t agree on the cost of your new fence, contact the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. You can also get information on the Centre’s fencing page.
If you have a dispute 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.
For enquiries and advice on boundary fences and disputes, visit the Victorian Department of Justice Dispute Settlement Centre website.