plated post with exposed bolts

Standards are important in life.

In the world of fencing, standards cover all aspects of construction.

Fencing standards are particularly high in single and multifamily districts. They aim to protect children playing outside and to keep the districts looking good.  As with a lot of rules, most of them come from common sense and many years of fine-tuning.

When erecting a fence in single and multifamily districts always be aware of:

  • Fence Height
  • Construction Material
  • Different Zones Have Different Standards
  • Zones Where Your Fence Abuts A Main Thoroughfare
  • Areas Where You May Not Build A Fence

Let’s take a closer look at each point to see how the standards apply.

Fence Height

You may think you can build a fence to any height on your property.

Not so fast. There are standards to obey, especially when it comes to how high you go.

A fence which is too high can block the view of drivers coming down the block. One over four-foot on a street corner may stop the kids looking to see if cars are coming until it is too late.

There is also the consideration of a neighbor’s light and airflow to their yard.

The height permitted for a fence may differ from state to state and even across counties.

Always check with the authorities before doing any fencing work.

Construction Material

Many authorities will have rigorous standards with regards to the quality of the fencing material.

Pine is often not allowed, as it can deteriorate and break easily over time. Cedar or spruce are usually the choices for picket fences.

Regulations encourage steel and concrete fences, as they need little maintenance, though often the local authority will require the planting of greenery around the fence for decorative purposes.

You may only build chain-link fences where the fence has a purpose other than screening. The use of barbed wire in family districts is prohibited, unless on the top of a fence over six-foot.

Standards always differ so check with your local building office.


Different Zones Have Different Standards

You need to be sure of the zone in which your property lies when you are planning to erect a fence.

Standards for a fence may be different if your home is adjacent to a zone which is different from your one.

If your property is adjacent to a designated open area zone, one where kids play, for example, there may be strict standards on height, construction material and even the opaqueness of the fence.

Check with the local building regulations office before you put any plan into action.

Zones Where Your Property Abuts A Major Thoroughfare

While one man’s, or woman’s, idea of what constitutes a major thoroughfare may differ from another’s, you can be sure the local building office has a strict definition.

Regulations require a landowner in a single or multifamily district to build a fence when their yard abuts a major thoroughfare.

A property which faces the terminus of a cul-de-sac may have particular fencing standards.

Standards differ but height and material rules are strict and if you erect the wrong fence, it may need to come down later.

Areas Where You May Not Build A Fence

Strict standards govern areas of historical, or scientific interest.

A single or multi-family district may not be in such a zone, but your property may abut one, so be careful with that fence in the backyard.

Fences too must allow access to the rear of properties, in case of an emergency and so common ground must be left free.

There is also a setback area on street corners and strict height regulations on busy thoroughfares, to allow clear visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

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