Thinking of starting a career in fencing (the boundary kind, not the sword-fighting kind)? Maybe you’ve got your eye on starting a fencing business one day. Truth is, there are just as many different fencing licences, requirements, and courses for different Australian states, as there are types of trades.
If you’re wondering where to start as a fence installer, this guide is for you. We’ll run through everything you need to know about fence building. We will cover fence courses and fencing qualifications, fencing licences, fence installer insurance, and everything under the sun to do with fencing.
What is fencing?
Fencing is the act of installing, building, repairing, or maintaining the fences that define a property’s boundaries. Some fences can be used to merely mark out property lines, while others are used for security purposes, or to divide up a piece of land into sections for specific uses.
Certain types of fencing, such as pool fencing, are subject to stricter fence safety standards and regulations.
What does fencing involve?
Some of the common tasks involved in fencing include:
- marking post hole positions;
- laying out fence lines;
- building fence frames;
- creating fence gates;
- constructing the fence walls;
- repairing broken or damaged fences;
- maintaining fences; and
- removing or replacing fences.
What fencing contractor skills should a fence builder have?
Technically speaking there are no formal or mandatory formal fencing courses or formal fencing training for becoming a fence installer and running your own fencing business.
However, there are a handful of important fencing contractor skills that you will benefit from having under your belt in your quest to establish yourself as a leading and successful fencing small business owner. These include the following fencing duties:
- building and construction skills;
- general maintenance and handyman skills;
- mechanical tool use;
- raw material handling;
- customer service and communication skills; and
- manual labour skills.
There ae several types of fencing certifications that aspiring fencers can choose from. While TAFE does not offer courses that are exclusively focused on fencing, many fencers in training complete a Certificate III or Certificate IV in a related subject.
These certificates often include study units on fencing and can help you improve your fencing and general construction skills, while also touching on fence safety.
Another option is to enroll in the Certificate I in Construction – Fencing RPL program. This is a Certificate I in Construction course offered by the Master Builders Association.
That said, one of the best ways of becoming a fencing professional is by learning by doing through a variety of fencing duties. You can either become a fencing apprentice and learn from a more experienced and skilled fencer, or apply directly for jobs via trade employment websites.
Do I need a permit to build a fence?
While you don’t need a licence, qualification, or fencing certificate to actually erect a fence around your own yard or property, there are specific fencing regulations in each Australian state that fencing business owners are required to adhere to when providing their fencing services to customers.
In fact, each Australian local council can have different rules and regulations around general construction and renovation, including fencing. So a good rule of thumb is to check with the local council before you take on any fencing job.
Once you have your fencing certifications you are ready to get a fencing licence. In Australia there are national codes of practice and Australian standards around constructing fencing that are important to know when providing professional fencing services.
However, it can be worth your while to check each state or territory’s specific laws. There are some key differences in licences, costs, renewals, and more. So let’s look at how fencing licences are managed in each Australian state.
Fence licences in NSW
Fence builders in New South Wales are subject to the same laws as any contractor or tradie in the state. This means that a licence is required for work carried out above $1,000 in value. Getting a contractor licence in NSW requires completing a Certificate I in Construction.
Fence licences in Queensland
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) requires all fence builders to get a fencing licence unless the fence is being constructed on non-agricultural or pastoral land and costs less than $3,300. Many residential fences, therefore, do not need a licence.
Fence licences in Western Australia
Building contractor licences are only required in Western Australia for jobs in excess of $20,000. Professional fencers in WA are required to hold relevant fence installer insurance, including Public Liability and Professional Indemnity, and should be able to prove their competency in fence building and maintenance.
Fence licences in Victoria
In Victoria, fencing contractors do not need to hold a specific licence unless they are undertaking additional building projects as defined by the Victorian Building Authority.
Fence licences in South Australia
Fence building in South Australia is covered under the building contractor’s licence – provided by Consumer and Business Services and does not require a specific license. Fencing contractors in South Australia are also required to hold a Construction Induction Card.
Fence licences in the Northern Territory
Fence builders in the Northern Territory don’t need a licence or building registration.
Fence licences in ACT
Just like the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory government does not require fencers to hold a fence licence. But certain local councils in the state may ask you to hold a fencinig licence.
Fence licences in Tasmania
There are no fencing licence requirements in Tasmania. However, building contractors need to have accreditation and a construction induction card to carry out work worth more than $5,000.
Do fence installation contractors require a licence?
Fencing licences in Australia can be a little confusing. This is because there is no single fencing licence that covers fencing contractors throughout all of Australia. Instead, each Australian state and territory has their own requirements when it comes to fencing licences.
Before performing any fencing work, ensure that you meet the fencing licence requirements in your home state – or in the state you are working in if you take on fencing jobs in other states or territories.
Is planning permission required to build a fence?
Depending on the specific nature, conditions, and requirements of your fencing job, you may be required to apply for planning permission. As with fencing licences, fencing planning permission requirements can vary from state to state.
If you are unsure if your upcoming fencing job requires planning permission, get in touch with the authority in the state you are working in.
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