Council’s fences page has useful information regarding NSW planning legislation that applies to fences. It also provides a links to the NSW State’s Dividing Fences Act 1991.
Please note that Council does not assist in resolving fencing disputes. The Community Justice Centre and NSW LawAssist may assist with resolving fencing disputes.
For properties which are not heritage listed and are not located within a heritage conservation area (HCA), boundary fences (along the side and rear boundaries) can often be undertaken as exempt development (without development consent) under the Codes SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008). If the property is a heritage item or within a HCA, please see our Heritage page for relevant information. It is likely that a Development Application (DA) will be required for a new fence.
For properties which are not heritage affected, the type of boundary fencing you may construct without development consent depends on the zoning of your property. Please refer to our zoning page or Online Map Viewer. Generally speaking, you will find fencing which may be constructed without consent to be more restrictive on land that is zoned C4 Environmental Living. A Development Application (DA) will be required for fencing on these properties if your proposed fence does not meet the requirements for exempt development.
The specific requirements for fences, as exempt development, are outlined here. The general requirements for exempt development can be found here. Please note that development, which requires the removal or pruning of a tree or other vegetation that requires a permit, approval or development consent is not exempt development, unless the removal or pruning is carried out in accordance with a tree permit, approval or development (DA) consent.
If the proposed fence meets all the provisions for ‘exempt development’ then it does not require development consent. Please be aware that the Codes SEPP is a state policy for self-assessment and Council is removed from the process. Should you require assistance with interpretation of or other enquiries regarding this legislation, please contact NSW Department of Planning and Environment on 1300 305 695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may wish to speak to a town planning consultant or similar expert who has experience on this area.
Complying development certificate (CDC)
If your proposed fence does not satisfy the requirements for exempt development, it may qualify as complying development under the Codes SEPP. Please view the development standards for fences as well the general requirements for complying development. As with exempt development, there is certain land on which Complying Development may not be undertaken; that land is detailed here.
If you wish to discuss whether your development qualifies as complying development, it is recommended that you engage an appropriately qualified Certifier to assist with your enquiry. Council also provides a Pre-CDC consultation service if you wish to seek advice about your proposal.
Development Application (DA)
If you are required to lodge a DA for your fence, please go to Council’s Development Application page and read Steps to prepare a DA.
The key controls applying to fences with Ku-ring-gai Development Control Plan (DCP) are outlined within the following parts:
- Part 4C.8 Fences.
- Part 19 Heritage Items and Heritage Conservation Areas.
A consultant town planner, architect or expert in a related field can help with preparing the required documentation and drawings for lodging a DA for your proposed fence. You should also engage a surveyor to locate the legal boundaries of your property. Please note that the proposed fence must be located wholly within the confines of your property, unless consent from the owner of any adjoining property is provided with the DA.