Fences

Fences may not need planning approval (known as exempt development) if the proposal meets the relevant development standards set out in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

General requirements for all fences as exempt development

Generally, fences must comply with the following requirements to be exempt development: 

  • Gates must not open outwards.
  • On bushfire prone land, fences must be constructed of non-combustible materials or hardwood.
  • Any metal parts must be low reflective, factory pre-coloured materials.
  • They must not be electrical fencing or barbed wire in residential zones – except in zone R5 or business or industrial zones.
  • If the fence is located in a koala habitat area or movement corridor additional controls may be set by your council.

In addition to the above, additional requirements apply to exempt fences in different land uses zones.

Fences as exempt development in residential zones – Zone R1, R2, R3 R4 or R5

To be considered exempt development:

  • Side and rear boundary fences must not be higher than 1.8 metres, or 1.2 metres if the fence is built from masonry.
  • Fences along a boundary of, or in the setback area of, a primary or secondary road must not be taller than 1.2 metres (this includes the front of the site and any side boundary on corner sites).
  • Fences along the boundary with, or within, the setback area to a secondary road must:
    • be at least 20 per cent transparent, above 400 millimetres
    • not have solid piers or posts wider than 350 millimetres.

 

For a full list of development standards that apply to fences in residential zones as exempt development, please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.

The standards that fences must meet to be built without planning or building approval in residential zones are illustrated in the examples below.

Examples

Fences as exempt development

Fences in the setback area of primary or secondary roads

Fences in the setback area of primary or secondary roads

Fences as exempt development in rural and environmental protection zones and zone R5

To be considered exempt development:

  • Fences must not be higher than 1.8 metres.
  • Fences must be constructed using post and wire or post and rail.
  • Masonry materials can be used within three metres either side of the entrance to the property from the primary road.
  • When used, electric fencing must be constructed in accordance with AS/NZS 3014:2003.

For a full list of development standards that apply to fences in rural and environmental protection zones and zone R5 as exempt development, please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.  

Fences as exempt development in business and industrial zones

To be considered exempt development:

  • Fences must not be higher than three metres, or 1.2 metres if the fence is built from masonry.
  • When the lot is adjacent to a residential zone, at least 75 per cent of the part of the fence that is above 1.8 metres in height, must be transparent.
  • When the fence is along the boundary with or in the setback area of a road, at least 75 per cent of the part of the fence that is above 1.2 metres in height must be transparent.

For a full list of development standards that apply to fences in business and industrial zones as exempt development, please refer to these provisions of the State Policy.

Other considerations

  • All works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. If you propose to remove or prune any existing trees or vegetation, you should contact your council first to make sure you don’t need approval for this.
  • Works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
  • Any structures that would be located on public land, or on or over a public road (including temporary structures), must have separate approval from the relevant council, or Roads and Maritime Services under the Roads Act 1993 and the Local Government Act 1993.
  • Generally, exempt development cannot be carried out on: