If you’re considering building a fence on your property in Frankston, there are several things you need to consider. There are likely many more laws and regulations than you are aware of, which will put a damper on things if you don’t follow them when you start construction. This guide will give you the information you need to get started on building your new fence.

Specific Requirements For Fencing

Depending on the type of fencing you are installing, there are specific requirements. Whether it’s around your home or your pool, you’ll need to fulfill the regulations set forth by the Frankston City Council and the Victorian Government.

For pools specifically, there are many rules and regulations to protect young children from the dangers of falling into the water. If you have a permanent pool or spa that holds 30 cm or more of water, the Victoria Building Authority requires you to have a barrier installed around the entirety of the structure. These barriers must meet the following compliance requirements:

  • A minimum height of 1200mm
  • Openings between the ground and bottom of the barrier should be no more than 100mm
  • There is a 900mm non-climbable zone around the top of the barrier
  • There is a 300mm non-climbable zone around the interior of the barrier
  • Projections and indentations within the non-climbable zone have a depth of 10mm or less

The Frankston Building Regulations 2018 govern many characteristics of fences, including the height, type, and setback. Front fences are restricted to a maximum height of 2m when they are within 3m of the street. In any other case, they must not exceed 1.5m. 

A fence that exceeds 2m in height must be set back from the side and rear boundaries by the following distances:

  • A fence measuring between 2m and 3.6m must be set back at least 1m
  • A fence measuring between 3.6m and 6.9m must be set back no less than 1m with an additional 300mm for every metre of height measured over 3.6m
  • A fence measuring more than 6.9m must be set back no less than 2m with an additional 1m for every metre of height measured above 6.9m (this is more applicable to fences that are on the boundary of a property and a major road or highway. 

Fencing located next to a street alignment or public open space cannot contain any sharp protrusions unless the following requirements are met:

  • The fence must be a minimum of 150mm from the street alignment or public space or
  • The sharp protrusion is no less than 2m above street level

All fencing over 2m high must be set back from windows of habitable rooms in existing dwellings on adjoining allotments to allow light to the window. In addition, fencing of 2m or higher must not restrict sunlight to private recreational space on an adjoining allotment. 

Some areas in the Frankston city council area have different requirements as far as materials and style used. Wanting a merbau timber fence but notice all your neighbours have Colorbond? It is always best to check before investing money and time in a new fence by giving the local council a call and asking if there are any specific requirements you need to consider when choosing the style or material of fence. 

When Permits Are Required

According to the Victorian Building Authority, as long as your fence does not form part of the barrier for a swimming pool or spa or have a connection to an outdoor play area for a children’s service, it will be exempt from requiring a building permit. However, the fence must also meet the following criteria:

  • It must be no more than 2m tall; and
  • If it is located within 3m of a street (not an alley, right of way, footway or lane), it cannot be more than 1.5m tall or constructed from masonry, concrete or similar material; and
  • If it is located within 3m of a street (not an alley, right of way, footway or lane), it cannot be more than 1.2m tall and constructed of concrete or similar material; and
  • If it is located within 9m of a street intersection (for example, corner blocks), it cannot be more than 1m above the footpath.

Any chain wire fence constructed around a tennis court will be exempt from a building permit.

Front fences may require a permit under specific circumstances outlined by Frankston’s Planning and Building sector. If your property has any of the following conditions, you may be required to obtain a permit:

  • Affected by overlays
  • Impacted by a covenant that restricts front fences
  • Has an existing permit
  • More than one dwelling is on the land

How To Construct a Boundary Fence Between Neighbours and Handle Dispute Resolutions

The Fences Act lays out the guidelines for the correct process to construct or repair a fence between neighbouring properties. It provides all the information from the fencing notice to who pays, to the type of fence you will build. 

The first step you will take is to speak to your neighbour informally about the need to build the fence. If you can both agree on the need for the barrier, what kind you want, and splitting the cost fairly, you may not need to follow the guidelines outlined in the Fences Act. However, if your neighbour does not agree or provide consent, you must proceed with the instructions outlined in the Act.

You will need to give a fencing notice, a formal declaration that sets out your proposal for the construction or repair of a fence dividing your properties. It provides all the details about the exact location of the fence, who will give the work, the costs, and other essential information.

If your neighbour ignores your fencing notice and 30 days pass with no response, you are free to proceed with construction. Once the process is finished, you can take up action in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to obtain their contribution for the work.

When either party receives a fencing notice and has a dispute with it, the first step is to attempt to negotiate the terms of the agreement with one another. If there is a disagreement about the boundary line, the best solution is to have a surveyor investigate the property. 

Additionally, for unresolved issues, the Dispute Centre of Victoria may be able to help mediate between you and your neighbour. After 30 days have passed since the issuing of the fencing notice, a court action can be taken in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to determine if fencing construction or repairs are required.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many things to consider when it comes to building a fence in Frankston. The City Council and the Victoria Government have many rules and regulations that must be followed, whether you are building a barrier for your pool, front fencing, or privacy fencing between you and your neighbours. As long as you meet these requirements and work alongside a local Frankston fencing company, you’ll have no problems building your new fence.