Fences and retaining walls

If you plan to build or replace a fence or retaining wall, there are several things you will need to consider. 


You firstly need to determine if you will require a building or planning permit and discuss the proposed fence with any neighbours who share the same boundary.

Building permits are required for most, but not all fences. There are different regulations and requirements dependent on the location and type of fence.

The Victorian Building Authority article on when a building permit is required indicates what fences and other buildings require or are exempt from requiring a building permit.

A front fence is defined as a fence that is within three metres of the front boundary at the front of the allotment.

Note: separate provisions apply to fences at intersections (or corners).

Any front fence constructed of brick, stone, masonry etc over 1.2 metres high requires a building permit. A timber or steel frame front fence over 1.5 metres high requires a building permit.

Most front fences over 1.5 metres in height will also require a council report and consent.

The only exception to this is for fences facing a Declared Road. A Declared Road is a freeway or arterial road under the Road Management Act 2004. In this case, council consent is required for fences over two metres in height.

Height is measured above the natural ground level.

Barbed wire must be at least 150 millimetres back from the street alignment, or at least two metres above the street level.

A Street Occupation Permit is required where works are undertaken beyond the property boundary (for example: using the footpath or nature strip to store materials, using scaffolding or temporary fencing).  A Council Report and Consent is required where precautions project beyond the street alignment, as determined by the relevant Building Surveyor.

Any part of a fence located within nine metres of a point of intersection of street alignments (corner fences) can only be constructed up to one metre in height. 

Both Council consent and a building permit are required to construct a higher fence.

In most cases the ‘normal’ height’ of a boundary paling or colourbond fence is 1.6 to 1.8 meters. Owners are able to erect a fence up to two meters in height without a building permit.  For fences over two meters in height, there are height, length and setback limitations.

If you would like to replace an existing fence along a shared boundary, you should discuss the matter with your neighbour, or write them a letter. There are regulations about the sharing of costs for boundary fences. These are controlled by the Fences Act 1968.  Getting involved in boundary fence negotiations is outside the jurisdiction of Council.

For more information visit the State Government's Fencing law in Victoria page.

If you do not know who owns the adjoining property then you can complete a property ownership enquiry for each property where you need to know the details.  The report will provide a contact name and postal address - it does not include email or phone numbers.

We will contribute half of the cost of erecting a new fence or repair/replacement of an existing fence when it abuts a City-owned carpark or community facility (community buildings – halls, libraries, etc). 

We will contribute half of the cost of a standard paling fence to a height of 1.65 meters. This height may increase to 1.8 meters with a maximum of 1.95 meters with our approval. 

We will also contribute half of the cost of demolition and removal of the existing fence.

Fencing that abuts a road, open drain, laneway, right of way, public park and reservices remain the responsibility of the property owner.

If you have a fencing dispute with your neighbours, you can find information about how to resolve it from the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria.  

Council does not have any involvement in shared fences or any costs related to shared fences. 

We cannot help if you are having a fencing dispute with your neighbour.

A building permit is always required and all fencing must:

  • be a minimum height of 1.2 metres
  • meet specific construction requirements - refer Building Code of Australia Volume 2, Australian Standard 1926.1-2012

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Retaining walls

A retaining wall is designed to hold back filling soil or to support excavation work. You may need a Planning Permit, Building Permit or both to build a retaining wall.

A building permit is required for all retaining walls that are:

  • constructed on or near side boundaries where there is risk of damage to the adjoining property, and / or
  • one metre or more in height and/or
  • are associated with other building work.

For some properties there may be specific restrictions, agreements or covenants – these will be included on your property title and could affect if you require a permit.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 9 April 2024