A fence defines property boundaries; keeps pets in and pests and intruders out; and minimises wind or noise. Some fencing, such as pool fencing, is subject to strict safety standards especially to ensure the safety of children around water.
Licensing of Fencing
In Australia, many National Codes of Practice and Australian Standards cover fencing installations. Trade licensing requirements also differ from state to state. Local councils also stipulate certain requirements and regulations for building fences, and you may need your neighbours approval before building.
Read the state-by-state licensing requirements below to understand fencing licensing where you live.
In New South Wales, any contractor who carries out work above $1000 in value must have a correct and current licence to work. The licence is issued by the Office of Fair Trading.
To qualify for a contractor licence, fence builders must satisfy the qualification requirements. These are:
The installer should also have experience installing similar fencing and be able to provide proof upon request. They should also have relevant insurances to protect people and property while they work.
There are also specific pool fencing laws in New South Wales. For instance, pools built before 1 August 1990 have different laws to pools built after 1 July 2010. Pools must now have a fence at least 1.2 metres off the ground, no more than a 10cm gap under the fence or between vertical bars, and any climbable bars must be at least 90cm apart. For this reason, you should contact your local council to ensure you comply with the latest safety standards and fencing laws.
In Victoria, fence builders do not need a specific licence. However, building contractors must be licenced as a registered building practitioner. The Victorian Building Authority sets out the requirements for this licence.
Builders also need to obtain a Construction Induction Card (CIC), issued by WorkSafe Victoria, following safety training. They also must be registered with the Victorian Building Authority.
You should check with the Building Authority or your local council to find out if there are any requirements specific to fence builders in your area.
Bear in mind that the Fences Act 1968 in Victoria makes neighbours jointly responsible for the construction and maintenance of fences. So you must speak with your neighbour before planning to build a new fence.
In Queensland, the building of fences is regulated by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act).
The QBCC stipulates that a person must have a licence to build a fence. The only exceptions are if the fence will cost less than $3300 on non-agricultural or non-pastoral land (as well as several other exclusions). This means the fence builder may not need a licence to build a fence around your residential property.
There are many different licence classes for fence building. This includes Bricklaying, Concreting, Glass, Glazing and Aluminium, and Builder Restricted to Swimming Pool Construction.
If you are unsure, you should check with QBCC or your local council or ask your fence builder.
While a fence builder in South Australia does not need a licence, they will need to have or work with someone who has a current building contractors licence. This licence is issued by Consumer and Business Services.
The builder will also need to have a Construction Induction Card (CIC) after safety training.
As with other states, there are no minimum qualifications needed to be a fence builder. Many will have undertaken a construction course, making them skilled in several trades including fencing. Part of such training may have been competency standard AHCINF303A Plan and construct conventional fencing though it is not required for residential installations.
You should ensure your fence builder is experienced and skilled in fence installations. Also check their insurances, so that your property is covered while they work.
Lastly, you should make sure the builder follows current fencing laws. This includes safe and appropriate fencing around swimming pools currently at least 1.2 metres high.
In Western Australia, any person or business that constructs projects valued at $20,000 or more must be registered as a building contractor. While your fence build may cost less than that, chances are your fence builder is already registered. The Building Commission provides a wealth of information about registration.
As in other states, it is important to check that the fence builder has relevant insurances. This can include public liability and professional indemnity. They should also be able to guarantee their workmanship.
You can also ask the builder for references, and copies of any certification, qualification and business information such as their ABN and contact details.
In Tasmania, fence installers do not need a specific licence. However, building contractors who carry out work valued above $5000 must have a building accreditation issued by Workplace Standards. They may also need a Construction Induction Card (CIC) following safety training.
The Boundary Fences Act 1908 sets out the requirements for erecting a fence between neighbouring properties.
When choosing a fence builder, check that they have relevant insurances. They should also be able to guarantee the quality of their work, and provide references and examples of past projects if asked.
In the ACT, a specific fence builder licence is not required. However, the Environment and Sustainable Development Department does specify some other things to consider.
For instance, you may not need development approval to build a fence, if it meets the Planning and Development Regulation 2008. However, if your fence is shared with a neighbour, you must allow your neighbour the chance to discuss replacing the fence.
It is a good idea to contact your local council for fencing rules and regulations specific to your area.
Beyond that, check that your builder has the necessary insurances to carry out work safely. They should also have experience erecting fences of a similar size and style.
Generally, there is no specific fence building licence in the Northern Territory. You also do not need to hire a registered builder for erecting a fence.
However, you may need building approval before constructing a fence. The only exemptions are if the fence is under 1 metre high and does not offer wind loading resistance. Contact your local authority to find out the specifics for your area.