Your rights and responsibilities if you are wanting to build a deck or fence on your property.

How far from my boundary can I build a deck?

Christchurch District Plan

If the deck is attached to the dwelling in a Residential Suburban, Residential Suburban Density Transition, Residential Hills or Residential Large Lot zone, and is at ground floor level or below, it can be constructed right up to the internal property boundary as long as any parts within one metre of the boundary are 300 millimetres or less in height.

If the site is within the Residential Banks Peninsula, it must be setback either two metres or 1.5 metres from the internal boundary involved. In the Residential Small Settlement zone the deck must be setback three metres, or two metres in the Spencerville and Kainga overlay areas. In all zones, a larger front yard setback is required. 

If the deck is at first floor level or above, it must be set back at least four metres from internal boundaries in most Residential zones and certain distances from road boundaries (depending upon District Plan zone requirements).

The deck must comply with site coverage (if higher than 800 millimetres  or covered/roofed), height and recession plane requirements applicable to the zone.

I want to build a fence on my property, what do I need to consider?

If you are wanting to build a fence it is wise to plan carefully so that your fence adds to your property rather than detracting from it.

The Fencing Act 1978 sets out rights and responsibilities relating to fences between neighbouring properties. You can find out more information from the Consumer Building website(external link).

If the fence you are wanting to build is a boundary fence between your property and a Council-owned park or waterway, the Council will generally share the cost of this. Please contact the Council on (03) 941 8999 to discuss it before commencing any work.

What are the height restrictions for building a boundary fence?

There are two issues you will need to contact the Council about when you are considering building a boundary fence, as there may be a need to apply for a resource consent as well as a building consent:

  • It is likely that you will need a resource consent for any fence that is over 1.8 metres in height on the road boundary or two metres in height on an internal boundary (the height includes any trellis you may wish to put on top). It is strongly advised that you speak to the Duty Planner if you intend to build a fence over these heights. Additional standards apply in some zones with regard to the materials used for fencing (e.g. in the Residential Medium Density zone, fences on the road boundary over one metre in height must be 50 per cent visually transparent). Please contact the Duty Planner for more information.
  • You will need a building consent where any exterior walls, fences and hoardings are over 2.5 metres in height. The 2.5 metre height limit should be measured as the vertical distance between the top of the fence and the supporting ground directly below.

The fence is required to comply with the building code even if a building consent is not required. Most retailers of fencing materials should be able to assist with standard residential fence design.

Can I build a barbed wire or razor wire fence?

The Council Public Places Bylaw 2008 states that barbed wire, razor wire or electrified wire may not be used within one metre of any property boundary adjoining any public place, unless the wire is at a height of 2.5 metres or more above ground level, or the public place is in a rural area. Internal boundary fences are covered by the Fencing Act 1978.

If the height of the fence is over 2.5 metres, resource consent is likely to be required. Therefore it is recommended that you contact the the Duty Planner on 941 8999 if your proposed fence is over this height.

Can the Council help with boundary fence disputes?

The Council has no jurisdiction over disputes relating to boundary fences, unless the fence is dangerous. Legal rights and obligations relating to fences are covered by the Fencing Act 1978(external link). If you have a dispute with a neighbour about a fence which you cannot resolve through negotiation (through fencing notices) you can take the matter to the Disputes Tribunal, the District Court or alternatively to a mediation service.

The only occasions when the Council may be involved in fencing issues is when a fence requires a building consent or resource consent (this is likely to also require written approval of the affected neighbour), or if the fence is located on a boundary adjoining Council land.