The amount of choices that surround the decision to build a fence around your home or business can be overwhelming – from materials and design of gates and entrances, to legal obligations and the initial planning and budget stages.
Whether your focus is on security, convenience or appearance there are many ways to add value to your home, and fencing can provide your property with endless amounts of benefits. But, before you can commence installing your new fences and gates, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account.
Before determining the design and materials for your fencing, it is important to think about the practical purpose it will serve. Once this has been decided, the design steps will fall easily into place. Your reason for constructing fencing could be to protect your garden from animals or keep your dog in the yard (requiring panel fencing), fence in a pool area for privacy or to protect your kids (requiring glass or slat fencing), or simply to prevent intruders from gaining access to your home or business (requiring steel or aluminium fencing). All these factors are important and will influence the style and durability needed in the design of your fence to suit the purpose, and also act as a decorative element to your home’s exterior.
2. Legal Requirements
It’s important to be aware that any solid structures, including fences, within 3m of a road edge and a height over 1.8m require planning permission from your local planning authority before work can commence. Homeowners are responsible for obtaining this permission themselves and should check all building requirements and regulations for the allowable distance of the fence from the kerb, and to be certain in understanding of the boundaries.
Certificate of Title should also be checked with Landgate to determine any covenants that relate to erecting a fence or dividing fence on your property. There are also strata titles to be considered, so it’s vital you give notice to the required departments and understand your guidelines.
In WA, legislations surrounding the fencing requirements for swimming pools also need to be abided by, which is covered in our blog article on the topic. All pool fencing installed by Fencemakers is guaranteed to pass the pool regulations, this is just another way we are trying to make fencing easy for you. Fencemakers can also assist with the pool fencing section of the building license for a pool.
Anyone looking to install slat or smartwood fencing should also be aware that there are stringent rules which dictate the allowable gap between each slat at the front of a property. The planning legislation dictating allowable gaps between slats is different form council to council, so all homeowners looking to install slat or smartwood fencing at the front of a property should consult with the local planning officer to find out what is allowed in each case. Fencemakers experienced sales consultants are happy to guide you through your legislative responsibilities for installing slat fencing at the front of your property.
3. Be a Good Neighbour
Being upfront and open with your neighbours is always best when considering any form of renovations to your property. According to the Building Commission in WA, if you want to erect a dividing fence, a written notice must be provided to the neighbouring owner which sets out the boundary to be fenced, a proposal for fencing and the kind of fence proposed to be constructed.
Before repairing or constructing a fence, make sure you inform your neighbour of what you’re doing, obtain any agreement and let them know you or the installer may need to go onto their land to erect or repair the fence.
In some instances, the payment of a fence can be split between owners whether – it’s erecting a new fence or making repairs – so all this needs to be negotiated and looked into in the very early stages of planning.
4. Design and Materials
Fences come in a huge range of materials from steel and aluminium, to wood fencing, picket fencing and slats, and can also be custom made to suit individual styles and uniquely situated premises.
Once the material and overall design has been decided upon and your fence is in place, there is still more room to get your creative juices flowing by customising it with decorative posts or contemporary COLORBOND paint colours. Planting flowers or small trees in front can also create a warm and welcoming façade.
5. Creating Entrances
Planning entrances to your fencing is not just about how great it can look, but also about the safety and convenience they create. Depending on where your fence is going and its purpose, it’s good to plan at least two paths into a fenced area. The positioning of the entrance area – whether it’s leading onto a busy street or into a sloping driveway – will determine whether a swing gate, sliding gate or automated gate will work best, while features such as pergolas, stepping stones and other elements can help to indicate the location of gates in large commercial premises such as parks or shopping centres.
The function of your fence can also determine the need or convenience of electric gates as part of your entrance design. Especially for fences around your property and driveway, electric gates can be a convenient choice in opening and closing from the comfort of your vehicle.
If you’re unsure about how your entrances should be set up, ask for advice based on the location and purpose of your fence.
by Matthew Suter, Managing Director, Fencemakers.