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Building a fence – formalities. What do you have to remember?

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A fence helps to maintain our safety, its proper selection also affects the aesthetics of the entire property, but its construction must comply with legal requirements. If we don’t pay attention to the fence before putting it up, we may have to take it down or pay a fine. What do you need to know?

Does the road matter?

In theory you don’t need a permit to build a fence, but a permit may be required if you plan to build it on the side of a road that could pose a safety hazard to people or property.

If there is a municipality, county or voivodeship road next to our plot, we should apply for such a permit, because the municipal authorities may claim that our fence e.g. limits the visibility of drivers (especially if our property is located at a crossroads).

Register of historical monuments

A separate case are fences erected on a plot or property entered in the register of historic buildings. Such action requires a conservator’s permit. Admittedly, any construction work carried out on the land requires such permission.

Height of the fence

When the height of our fence exceeds 2.2 m, we have to submit an application. The application should include the type, scope and manner of work to be carried out, as well as the date of commencement of the work, and should be submitted to the starosty (county office) or the office of a city with county rights at least 21 days before the work begins. Sometimes the offices also ask to attach sketches or drawings of that fence.

If our application is rejected, it may be related to e.g. the local zoning plan, which also restricts us. It is better to report such plans, because erecting a fence without a notification will be considered unauthorized construction, and the penalty for that will be a fine, demolition or an order to pay a legalization fee.

>> See also: Concrete fencing – advantagesand disadvantages

Type of fencing

The regulations do not cover similar issues, therefore from the legal point of view it does not matter what material we make our fence of (wood or metal), what type we choose (e.g. openwork) or what its minimum or maximum height will be (unless it exceeds the mentioned 2.2 m or it is limited by the local zoning plan). Finally, here we can not worry about the regulations and choose a fence that we like.

Neighbor’s consent

Fortunately, regulations do not regulate what distance should be kept between the fence and the neighbor’s plot boundary, all that matters is that it does not exceed it, i.e. is located within our area. It can also be erected on the axis separating neighbors’ plots, but then it is necessary to obtain the neighbor’s consent.

Garage gate and wicket width

It may surprise some people but also their size is determined by certain standards. The minimum width of a garage gate can count 2.4 m and a wicket – 0.9 m. Moreover, the fence should not pose any threat to people (e.g. have finishes in the shape of sharp spikes below the height of 1.8 m), and gates and wickets cannot open outside the plot (similarly to doors in apartments in blocks of apartments) or have thresholds.

Tough law, but a law nonetheless

Construction law regulates the formalities, including those related to the construction of a fence. Usually we do not have to deal with them, however there are exceptions, which depend on certain parameters of the fence (e.g. its height) or location.

It is good to know the local legal regulations, which cover the area of our property e.g. the local zoning plan, especially if we intend to build a higher fence than the standard one. It is worth remembering about it, to avoid unpleasantness related to ignorance of the law.

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