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Do You Need Council Approval For a Glass Fence?

Depending on the type of glass fence you wish to install and where you intend to place it, you may need approval from the local council.

Different states and territories and local council regions have different requirements, even if they are minor, as to the type of criteria you have to meet in order to get council approval. These criteria can range from height and width restrictions to the type of material, proximity to boundary lines and roads, and more.

By far, the best way to find out if you need council approval to build your new glass fence, is to book a free appointment with a glass fencing supplier.

A reputable glass fencing supplier will be familiar with the local council requirements and building regulations as they apply to your local area. They can also advise you on what steps you need to take in order to get council approval, from arranging site surveys to completing paperwork and documentation and more.

By taking this approach, you will have the support and information you need to get your project off on the right foot, and make sure that it complies with all relevant local council and building requirements.

Unsure if you need council approval for a glass fence? Talk to the experts at Assured Glass Fencing today for advice you can trust.

Considerations when building a glass fence

Just like any fencing project, you need to take into account the various aspects that define your project.

You need to ask yourself questions like: Where you do intend to build your glass fence? Will your glass fence form part or all of a safety pool barrier? Will your glass fence be located near a public walkway or even a road? How tall and wide do you need your glass fence to be?

These are just some of the many questions you will need to ask yourself to determine whether you need approval from the local council.

Why? Because, regardless of what local council you belong to, each one has very specific regulations when it comes to determining whether you need to apply for a permit. It is also your responsibility to find out if your fence project needs council approval. If you fail to do so and go ahead with your project, you may be forced later to take it down and rebuild in accordance with council regulations – a costly mistake.

General requirements for all fences as exempt development

Under certain circumstances, there are situations where you are not required to apply for council approval.

These kinds of projects are referred to as ‘exempt development.’ They are typically very low impact development projects done for certain residential, commercial, and local council applications.

Below is a list of the following criteria your glass fence must meet in order to be classified as an exempt development:

  • Gates must not open outwards
  • On bushfire prone land, fences must be constructed of non-combustible materials or hardwood
  • Any metal parts must be low reflective, factory pre-coloured materials
  • They must not be electrical fencing or barbed wire in residential zones – except in zone R5 or business or industrial zones
  • If the fence is located in a koala habitat area or movement corridor additional controls may be set by your council[1]

Exempt development for residential zones

If you plan to build a fence in a residential zone, there are certain criteria you must meet in order for the project to be considered an exempt development.

They are as follow:

  • Side and rear boundary fences must not be higher than 1.8 metres, or 1.2 metres if the fence is built from masonry
  • Fences along a boundary of, or in the setback area of, a primary or secondary road must not be taller than 1.2 metres (this includes the front of the site and any side boundary on corner sites)
  • Fences along the boundary with, or within, the setback area to a secondary road must:
    • be at least 20 per cent transparent, above 400 millimetres
    • not have solid piers or posts wider than 350 millimetres.

Keep in mind, even if your project can go ahead without planning or building approval, your glass fence must still be built in a manner that complies with all relevant state/territory, local council, and national building guidelines.

For a full breakdown of the different residential, rural, business, and industrial zone criteria you must meet to be eligible for an exempt development, click here.

Glass fencing for pool safety barriers

If you plan on building a glass fence to be part of or form an entire pool safety barrier, then it is very likely you will need to obtain a permit.

Again, the best way to determine if you need council approval for your fencing project is to book an appointment with a glass fencing supplier, or contact your local council directly.

When building a glass fence for your pool safety barrier, there are certain requirements and regulations the structure must meet. While there are some variations between different local council areas, they are typically as follows:

  • Australian Standard AS 1926.1 stipulates that a pool fence shall be not less than 1.2m high all the way around.
  • Australian Standard AS 1926.1 stipulates that a fence must have a Non Climbable Zone (NCZ) of 900mm on the outside of the pool fence all the way around.
  • Australian Standard 1926.1 stipulates that when a Boundary Fence (min 1.8m) is used as part of the chid-resistant barrier then the Non Climbable Zone (NCZ) of 900mm will be measured from the inside (pool side) of the fence.
  • Australian Standard AS 1926.1 stipulates that gaps between vertical members of the fence shall not be greater than 100mm
  • Australian Standard AS 1926.1 stipulates that the Gap at the bottom of the fence must be a maximum of 100mm.

These are just some of the many regulations that your glass fence pool safety barrier must meet in NSW.

Any questions?

Based on this information, if you have determined that you need a permit to build your glass fence or you are still unsure, contact Assured Glass Fencing today.

Our friendly and knowledgeable glass fencing suppliers will be happy to discuss your project requirements and help you apply for council approval.

Call us now on 0412 414 845 or complete the online form.


[1] https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/development-assessment/exempt-development/fences

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