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Australian Fencing Standards and Laws

Last Updated Nov 16, 2016 · Written by

Fencing

When renovating or building new, you’ll most likely need to erect a fence either for security, safety, privacy or to create a boundary around your home. But how high should the fence be? What should it be made from? And what about pool safety, since the rules seem to change every summer? This article explores Australian standards for fencing to help take the guesswork out of your fence installation.

What are Australian Standards?


Standards are documents that provide a recommendation for ensuring products are safe and work properly. Standards Australia is the non-government organisation charged with setting and reviewing standards, based on extensive research.

While standards aren’t legal documents, governments can choose to incorporate standards when creating legislation. 

 

Pool Fencing Facts


Perhaps the most important fence to get right is the pool fence. That’s because poorly erected pool fencing has been attributed to an increase in child drowning rates.

Australian Standards AS2820, AS2818 and AS1926 specify the following:

 

 

  • Pool gates should be mounted, so they swing out or away from the pool zone. They should also be self-closing, so the gate closes and latches after being opened.

 

  • Pool gate latches should be at least 1.5 metres off the ground, or enclosed if below 1.5 metres.
  • The height of pool fences and gates should be at least 1.2 metres.
  • The gap between vertical pickets shouldn’t be more than 100 millimetres.

Many governments have incorporated these standards into their pool fencing laws. Note, however, that pool fencing legislation differs between states and territories, so it’s wise to contact your local state government or building authority to ensure your fence meets current laws.

Dividing Fences


A dividing fence is a structure that separates your house from your neighbour’s. Most state governments have laws to regulate the building and maintenance of dividing fences.

For example, in WA the Dividing Fences Act 1961 outlines the process for sharing the costs with your neighbours and how to handle disputes. In Queensland, the Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 deals with similar issues, while in Victoria it’s the Fences Act 1968.

 

Standards for Fencing Materials


Standards also exist for certain fencing materials, such as COLORBOND® and timber. For instance, AS1397 and AS2728 relate to coated mass and paint film thickness on zinc and zinc alloyed fences.

For timber, AS1604 outlines how timber, plywood and wood-based products should be treated. If the fence you choose adheres to these standards, you can be sure that the material is well-made and will withstand the elements.

 

 

Fence Height Facts


Another confusing area for many homeowners is fencing height. Generally, a front fence can’t exceed 1.5 metres. If the property faces a main road, a fence height of 2 metres is generally allowed. Corner blocks and heritage-listed properties have a different set of rules, as do side and back fences.

It’s best to check with your local council before you begin building your fence, to ensure it complies with their rules and regulations. In fact, some councils won’t let you build unless you have permission.

 

 

Making Sense of Fencing Standards and Laws


As you can see, fencing standards and laws are complex and vary according to your location and the type of fence you’re building.

Your fencing professional can advise you on the relevant regulations and laws that apply in your area. Many will also help you gain council approval, taking the stress out of having a fence installed.

Ready to get started? With our free Get Quotes service, you can send a job brief to three fencing professionals, who will get back to you with their quote estimates.

Looking for inspiration? Browse our photo section for fence design ideas.

 

Image courtesy of Modular Wall Systems.

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