What is a dividing fence?
A dividing fence separates the residential land of different owners whether the fence is on the common boundary of adjoining lands or on a line other than the common boundary. A dividing fence does not include a retaining wall.
For fencing requirements between lots other than residential lots, please contact the City's Statutory Planning Services on 9411 3444.
Owners looking to construct a dividing fence are strongly advised to find out their obligations and responsibilities as defined in the Dividing Fences Act 1961 prior to the construction of a fence.
An online booklet "Dividing Fences - A Guide" can be downloaded from the Department of Commerce - Building Commission website at:
It should be noted in some instances a dividing fence may also be a Front Fence. As such it must comply with the requirements for front fences. Please see the "Front Fences" information sheet available on the Building Services webpage for more information.
Please note that some lots and subdivisions within the City of Cockburn may also be subject to covenants and/or Detailed Area Plans that control fencing. The land developer or a title search (including covenants) with Landgate (Ph: 9273 7373 / Email: email@example.com) may be able to clarify this.
Further information on Detailed Area Plans may be obtained from the City's Planning Services if required.
The City of Cockburn accepts the installation of 1.8m high proprietary type dividing fences such as fibre cement sheet, steel powder coated and timber lap fences, subject to compliance with all relevant legislation, Australian Standards and the City of Cockburn Fencing Local Laws.
Other types of fencing materials may be acceptable. However, it is strongly recommended to contact the City's Building Services prior to construction to discuss the type of fencing and the necessary approvals required.
As a reminder, if ground levels at or near a boundary may be altered to facilitate the installation of a dividing fence, the person altering the ground level either by filling above or cutting below natural ground level has an obligation to provide a suitable retaining wall/embankment.
Depending on the extent of the cutting or filling, owners of both adjacent properties may have to share the cost of the retaining wall/embankment works. In some instances, the extent of earthworks and retaining may require a Building Permit and/or Planning Approval.
To find out more, please contact Building Services on 9411 3444.
NOTE: The City of Cockburn does not administer the Dividing Fences Act 1961. Any dividing fences disputes should be directed to the Building Commission (Ph: 1300 489 099).