Questions & Answers

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Q: Does my brush fence need council approval if it is going to be repaired?

A: No, repair work of brush fences is not recognized under the Development Act as development. However if the brush fence is being replaced with a new fence it will require a development application and will need to comply with the new provisions. Please note that a development application is required regardless of the height of the new brush fence. 

Q: Can new brush fences be constructed  within 3 meters of a dwelling?

A. Yes, but you new dwelling or exisiting needs to comply to comply with the Protection of buildings exposed to brush fences – Minister’s Specification SA 76C  

 

Note: The intent of these questions and answers is to provide additional information and interpretation of the provisions included in Minister’s Specification SA 76C. Options are provided for those who wish to retain an existing brush fence or erect a new brush fence located within 3 metres of a dwelling. The information is based on the cost of fire rating that part of the dwelling exposed to the brush fence compared to the cost of a new fence of an acceptable material.  

 

Q: Will the new provisions affect existing brush fences if I am not making any changes to my home or the fence? 

A: No, if you have an existing brush fence and are not proposing any new development the new provisions for protection of buildings exposed to brush fences is not applicable. 


Q: What am I required to do if I am building a new dwelling adjacent to an existing brush fence? 

A: If the brush fence is to be retained, the proposed dwelling must be a distance of 3m or greater from the existing brush fence. If the distance is less than 3m the external wall will need to be fire resisting in accordance with clause 6.1 and 6.3 of Minister’s Specification SA 76C. The fire resistance level will need to be a minimum of 60/60/60 (1 hour of fire resistance). The fire resisting construction includes all construction elements of the external wall, including windows and doors. The eaves and roof must also be constructed of a non-combustible material. For further information please refer to Minister’s Specification SA 76C, Figure 6.3(c). 


Q: Where do I measure the 3m distance from to the boundary? i.e. from the eaves, or external wall to the fence

A: The prescribed 3m is measured from any point on the brush fence in a straight line to the face of the external wall of the dwelling. Refer to Minister’s Specification SA 76C, Figure 6.3(a) & 6.3 (b). 


Q: Do the provisions apply to all types of residential dwellings? A: The provisions apply to Class 1 (detached houses) and Class 2 dwellings (flats and apartments) which are also not permitted to share a common roof space with a garage or carport if the garage or carport is closer than 3m to a brush fence. 


Q: Who owns the fence? 

A: The fence between two properties is recognised by the Fences Act as being jointly owned. You will need to negotiate with the adjoining owner for a new fence. Please refer to the Fences Act for further detail on the legislative requirements. This Act sets out the obligations for advising adjacent owners and the process for resolving disputes, including allocation of costs. 


Q: I have a site that has a dwelling on it and a pergola. The pergola is less than 3m from the location of proposed a brush fence. Can we build the brush fence

A: The brush fence can be built adjacent to the pergola (as the pergola is not defined as development work). As long as the distance from the dwelling, and any other dwelling on the same or an adjoining allotment to the fence is more than 3m, the brush fence can be built. 


Q: If I have a proposed window within 3m of a brush fence can I provide a screen to fire rate the window? 

A: This situation may be considered as an alternative solution; however it is up to the relevant authority to make this decision. It must also be assessed in accordance with the methods referenced in Minister’s Specification SA 76C, clause 3.3. 


Q: What is the approximate cost of fire rating building elements with 1 hour protection? 

A: A standard brick veneer wall will meet the 1 hour protection requirements but any opening must be protected. It is estimated that the supply and installation of two non-openable fire rated (-/60/-) windows (600x900mm), one non-openable fire rated window (1200x1200mm), a 35mm solid-core external door and standard door closer.

 The cost could escalate depending on the number and size of windows and doors within the exposed wall. Please note that the cost of fire rating building elements could be considerably less if the potential fire hazard of brush fencing is identified at design stage. This may enable provisions to be incorporated at design stage to reduce the amount of glazing within the exposed wall.  

 Q: Can I make a change to the project once work has begun?

A: It depends on the type of change and when the request occurs, but typically you can do this. Please note that such changes can greatly impact the cost. 

Ministers Specifications SA 76C

Full Download Ministers Specifications SA 76C

Brush fences in close proximity to Class 1 and Class 2 buildings have been identified as potential

fire hazards that could pose a risk to the safety of occupants of those buildings. This Specification

outlines fire safety measures for protecting Class 1 or Class 2 buildings from the spread of fire from

a brush fence.

In this Specification, Class 1, Class 2 and Class 10a buildings have the same meaning as defined in

the Building Code of Australia.

These provisions are additional to those required by the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the

South Australian Housing Code and do not override any of the provisions required by the BCA.