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How Tall Can You Go?

 19th Mar 2019   published by: Dan Wiley

Building a fence is often about getting your privacy back, whether that is being able to open curtains that are always closed, or being able to enjoy seclusion in your own backyard. The most common question that I get asked is “how tall can you go?” Assuming you would like to avoid the need for development approval, the short answer for residential fences is:

  • Australian Capital Territory: 2.3 metres
  • New South Wales: 1.8 metres

There are additional rules to consider regarding the height, location and materials of your proposed fence. Generally, fences do not need development approval (known as development exempt) if they meet the standards set out in the relevant State or Territory planning policy.

For information on neighbours’ responsibilities regarding building and maintaining shared fences, see my blog post Good Fences Make Good Neighbours.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the ACT, fences and freestanding walls can be development exempt if they meet the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. Important provisions of this regulation include:

  • the fence can be no higher than 2.3 metres
  • no part of the fence can be between the front boundary and a building line
  • fences facing the street are not allowed

For more information see the:

New South Wales (NSW)

In NSW, fences may be development exempt if they meet the relevant parts of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Important provisions of this legislation include:

  • fences must not be higher than 1.8 metres
  • fences in front of the building line must not be higher than 1.2 metres

For more information see the: