3 Crucial Boundary Regulations That Could Bring Down Your Project

Imagine you’ve been house hunting for weeks – even months.

You thought you would have found the right house for your family by now… but nothing feels quite like home. 

A new idea comes to mind – why not renovate or extend your current property with a patio, pergola, pool, or revamped outdoor area? 

Rather than searching for a pre-loved, pre-designed place on the fluctuating housing market, you could spend some extra dosh and create a dream house – no, home – which will meet all your needs without having to pack up and move across town. 

However, when it comes to organising home extensions, there’s always one annoying, boring, often deal-breaking thing standing in the way…

Everyone’s dreaded building requirements and boundary regulations. 

These rules can be confusing, complicated and potentially budget-cripplingly costly. It’s hard to work out what you can do with your building project without crossing boundaries or causing damage to the land.

We want to make it easier to avoid these dramas with the council.

To help your project run smoothly, we’ve identified the three most common issues faced by homeowners and how you can avoid having your project altered or removed.


#1. How to understand neighbouring boundaries and who-owns-what


If you’re going to build a new patio, pool, or even a fence, you’re going to have to run it past the neighbours first.

It’s better to get this done at the start of your project than hoping you don’t run into some serious disputes at the end. A quick chat over a cuppa could save you months of time and thousands of dollars.

When building a new development, there’s one major question all homeowners have – where are the boundaries? Here’s a crack at a simple explanation:

The legal department of the State Library of New South Wales offers a clear outline of two potential land ownership areas – Torrens Title and Old System.

  • Under Torrens Title, the exact boundaries of your property will be shown in the deposited plan held by New South Wales Land and Property Information
  • Under the Old System, the specifications and measurements of the property will be specified on the deed.

Not all neighbours are going to be pleased when they find out you’re building next door. If a dispute arises about who owns the land and the information on the deed/title doesn’t solve the issue, you may want to have a survey completed by a registered surveyor. 

Surveyors provide simple, reliable advice regarding boundaries and titles. Professional surveyors can identify where each homeowner’s boundaries start and begin so all arguments can be settled objectively. 

Make sure you figure out your boundaries before you start a new development. Getting over-excited and building on a neighbour’s land could get you into so much unnecessary and completely avoidable trouble.


#2 Encroaching buildings


The “Encroaching building” regulation applies to a “substantial building of permanent character” and includes walls, overhanging areas like verandahs or decks, and any part of a building above or below ground which crosses the boundary onto a neighbour’s land.

You can bet any type of dispute in this area is going to cause frustrating and lengthy legal issues.

When encroachments happen, homeowners can apply to the Land and Environment Court for an order to:

  • Compensate the encroached owner
  • Grant a transfer or lease to the encroaching owner
  • Remove the encroaching development altogether

The single most important thing for you to remember:

Make sure you follow your building plan once it has been approved. 

If you’re working with a professional (like us) they will take care of this for you. 

Otherwise, the development could end up encroaching on a neighbour’s land and they’re well within their right to contact the local council and have the development altered or worse – removed. 

Going for a smaller development like a patio or pool? 

There are a few extra things to keep in mind before starting your project, so read on to make sure you can avoid a costly legal battle.


#3 Boundary regulations and pool fencing


Young Child Swimming in Pool with Goggles

Image source: Pexels

Dozing in the sun beside the pool in summer is a slice of heaven.

The Australian dream mandates the addition of a backyard swimming pool. 

Thousands of Aussies flock to their own private swimming pool when the temperature tickles the forty-degree mark and according to market researcher, Roy Morgan, 12% of Australian are already living the dream and swimming their way through summer in their own pool.

Just add some tunes and an ice-cold beverage – it doesn’t get much better.

Don’t get too excited and run off to purchase a pool, though – there’s some red tape you need to cross before achieving that Australian pool-owning dream. 

Protective fencing is a crucial element of installing a private swimming pool – you must adhere to your local state or territory government’s pool fencing requirements.

In 2017, the Royal Life Saving Society recorded 291 deaths and 685 hospitalisations as a result of drowning in Australia.

These statistics are devastating.

Installing proper, reliable fencing protects your friends and family safe from potentially devastating consequences. These laws exist to prevent young children from becoming another one of these shocking statistics.

The New South Wales Fair Trading website outlines the requirements for installing pool fencing on your property. Before 2010, homeowners were exempt from pool fencing if their home was:

  • A very small property (less than 230 square metres)
  • A large property (2 hectares or over)
  • A waterfront property.

Since 2010 these laws have changed. All property owners must have pool fencing to separate the water and the house.

If you have a small backyard and don’t have enough space for fencing, you should contact a licensed builder, pool technician or fencing contractor before starting development.

The size of your property could affect the building of your pool and installation of fencing. Make sure to read through the New South Wales pool fencing requirements.

The single most important thing for you to remember:

Now, homeowners must have fencing around their pool to separate the water from the house and to prevent children from climbing into the dangerous area – regardless of the property size. 

Want to learn more about pool safety? 

Check out our article on pool safety and find out if you’re doing enough to keep your kids safe. 


Always check your boundary regulations and requirements before you start to build


Building a house, garage, patio or pool is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your family. 

The project is unique, brand new and a total reflection of your personal taste. No one can say they have the same as you (and you’ll probably save a stack of cash by choosing the DIY route).

However, you need to remember government requirements and boundary regulations before you start a new development.

If you fail to adhere to land boundaries, you can cause major issues with the local council. 
Installing a pool fence is also a legal requirement. The fencing must fit between the house and the property boundaries while maintaining enough space around the fence to avoid children climbing into the pool area.

Breaking these regulations and requirements could mean the end of your project. 

The single most important thing for you to remember:

Building on a neighbour’s land creates a complicated legal mess and could end with your project getting altered or removed. Make sure you pay close attention to detail and keep yourself in the good books with the neighbours. 

Shirking your responsibilities could cost you your dream house, your patio or your pool.

The rules and regulations can be complex. If you’re planning or designing an extension or outdoor structure, get in touch with our team and make sure you stay on the right side of the law. We can help speed up the process and stick to your budget with ready-made materials and expert installation. 


HV Aluminium has a thorough understanding of boundary regulations across Newcastle, Central Coast and the Hunter Valley.  Get in touch for a free measure and quote.

Book Now

Free Measure
and Quote

Or give us a call 02 4903 3388