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Regulations for Perimeter Fencing

Perimeter fences are used for a wide variety of reasons. They can make attractive borders for yards, and they're great for privacy from neighbours. Fences also protect children from busy streets.

But fences also cause a lot of neighbourhood disputes that are mostly about the rules and regulations of where a fence can be installed, what it can be made of and how tall it can be. These vary slightly from region to region, but there are some general rules that are consistent across the U.S.

Fence Height

In general, residential fencing can be no taller the 6 feet from ground level. If the landscape changes dramatically in height, the fence must follow the landscape.

Some areas allow fence heights to reach 10 feet if they fall into the category of protecting personal property. These fences are not allowed to have barbed wire or electricity as a material or component of the fencing.

Lot Line Regulations

Almost all fences now require a permit to build and need to be inspected by the municipality you live in to make sure that the fence conforms to local codes and regulations. A survey is taken to define the property lines. A uniform drawing must be submitted of the area the fence will cover prior to installing the fence.

No fire hydrants or public electrical or water access can be enclosed by a fence. Your fence must be positioned so that emergency personnel can access such fixtures and have the room they need to do their work.

In general, the rule of thumb is that the fence needs to be at least 2 feet onto the fence owner's property from the property line the fence is bordering.

Fence Building Regulations

A perimeter fence can be made of wood, composite, or chain link material. Most jurisdictions will not allow a stone fence as it falls into the definition of a wall and requires different building code applications.

Perimeter fences must be supported a minimum of every 6 feet by a post. Posts must be a minimum of 3 feet into the ground and anchored with concrete in the hole surrounding the buried portion of the post.

The finished side of the fence (the side that does not show the brackets or posts) must face the neighbours.

All repairs, maintenance and subsequent replacement of fencing portions or the fence in its entirety are the responsibility of the fence owner.