Definition of common terms

Dividing fence

A dividing fence separates the land of different owners along the common boundary of adjoining lands or on either side of the common boundary. It is subject to an agreement between property owners. 

Front fence

A front fence is a wall, screen or barrier that adjoins a street boundary or is located in the front and secondary street setback area. 

Retaining wall

A retaining wall is a wall or structure that is designed and constructed to support soil. It may be required where any changes in the natural ground levels are proposed. 

Swimming pool and spa safety barrier

If the proposed fence forms part of a private swimming pool or spa barrier, you will need to comply with the pool barrier safety standards. Find out about requirements for swimming pools and spas.

Responsibility for dividing fences

If you are a property owner and want to build a dividing fence, you should know your obligations and responsibilities under the Dividing Fences Act 1961 (WA) before construction.

Important note: We do not administer the Act. Please direct any dividing fences disputes to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Masonry fences exceeding 750mm above ground level require a Building Permit.

More information on fencing requirements is available in following local law.

Fencing Local Law (PDF)

Asbestos fences

If you are planning on removing or altering an asbestos fence, or a fence you think may contain asbestos, it's important you follow appropriate safety precautions. Find out more about asbestos removal and disposal.

Responsibility for retaining walls

If a person excavates below the natural ground level or fills above the natural ground level, then that person has an obligation to provide a suitable retaining wall or durable embankment, to ensure the natural ground level and any existing surcharge load at the boundary.

Retaining walls exceeding 500mm in height require a Building Permit. Please note retaining walls exceeding 500mm will require planning approval prior to submitting your building permit.

Installing a retaining wall / masonry fence

Step 1: Apply for a building permit

You will need to submit an BA2 Application for Building Permit (Uncertified) and include the following:

1.       Site plan to scale showing setbacks and location of proposed retaining wall or masonry fence

2.       Elevations and heights of the proposed retaining wall or masonry fence

3.       Structural certification of the proposed retaining wall or masonry fence.

Refer to Building Permit Fees and Calculator

Step 2: Assessment

Building permit applications either certified or uncertified are usually assessed and approved within 10 business days.

Building permits are sent to the builder via post.

Step 3: Submit a Notice of Completion

Under the Building Act 2011, the owner or builder must notify the Shire that the work is completed by submitting a BA7 Notice of Completion Form, which is attached to the building permit.

More information and contact

For more information, please contact the Shire’s Building Services on 9290 6660 or email