Privacy screen

A privacy screen may be carried out as exempt development if it meets development standards in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).

A privacy screen is defined as:

  1. a structure that provides a screen or visual barrier between a window of a habitable room or an outdoor area on a lot and an adjoining lot that:
    • has no individual opening more than 30 millimetres wide; and
    • has a total area of all openings that is no more than 30 per cent of the surface area of the screen or barrier; or

      (b) a window, the whole of which has translucent glass and is fixed and not able to be opened.

A privacy screen  not attached to a boundary fence or retaining wall may be exempt development if it is not on land in a foreshore area.

A privacy screen must:

  • if located on the ground—be not be higher than 2.5 metres above the existing ground level
  • be not longer than five metres
  • be located at least 900 millimetres from each lot boundary
  • not be attached to a boundary fence
  • not be attached to a retaining wall
  • not be on land in a foreshore area.

Please refer to these provisions of the State Policy for a full list of development standards  a privacy screen must meet to be exempt development.

Other considerations

  • If you propose to remove or prune existing trees or vegetation, you should contact your council first to make sure you don’t need approval.
  • Works must be structurally adequate, installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
  • Any structures to 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: