You may need to obtain a permit to install a fence, but do not let that fact dissuade you from doing so. A good fence can be one of the wisest investments that you make in your landscaping. Fences can serve a number of functions, both practical and decorative.
When You Are Most Likely to Need a Permit to Build a Fence
Where you live, where on your land you will be erecting the fence, and how tall you want your fence to be are three factors that go a long way in determining how likely or unlikely you are to be required to obtain a permit for fence installation:
Regardless of the odds of your needing a permit, you should always inquire as to whether or not you actually need one. Better safe than sorry. If you do not want to run into problems once the job is underway, it is critical that you be all squared away with the powers that be. You can then focus on getting the actual building done properly, without fear that a building inspector will show up and throw cold water on your project.
Obtaining Permits, Other Preparatory Work, and Starting the Installation
As with so many other DIY projects, part of the key to success is getting the preparatory work done properly. Here are some matters to check on prior to fence installation:
Whenever you are planning to dig any holes on your property, be sure to call the national call-before-you-dig phone number (811), even if you are already sure where your utilities are located.
In most places it is illegal to dig more than a few inches deep without having your utilities located and marked by an approved utility locating service.
In the process of determining whether or not you need a fence permit, you are likely to acquire additional information that will be of great value to you.
Even if your application is accepted, you are not out of the woods. Some municipalities will give you a list of inspections that must take place during installation. Successfully passing these inspections sets you up for one, last inspection that puts the government's seal of approval on your structure.
For example, building codes and local zoning ordinances may stipulate that a fence 6 feet tall or more must set back at least 15 feet from the street. Such restrictions may annoy you but are often sensible. For instance, privacy fencing on a corner lot should not be so high as to obscure drivers' views at the intersection of the two roads your property abuts, which could create a safety hazard.