Fences, gates and garden walls

Building Regulations: General Information

Fences, walls and gates do not require building regulation approval.

Although building regulations do not apply, the structures must be structurally sound and maintained.

Garden Walls

If the garden wall is classed as a 'party fence wall', and depending on the type of building work you intend to carry out, you must notify the adjoining owner of the work in respect of the Party Walls Act etc 1996. This does not include wooden fences.

Guidance on the Party Walls Act etc 1996 is available on Gov.uk

Garden and boundary walls should be inspected from time to time to see if any repairs are necessary, or whether a wall needs rebuilding. Such walls are amongst the most common forms of masonry to suffer collapse, and they are unfortunately one of the most common causes of death by falling masonry. Your insurances may not cover you if the wall has been neglected.

Besides the general deterioration and ageing of a masonry wall over the years, walls may be affected by:

  • An increase in wind load or driving rain if a nearby wall is taken down
  • Felling of nearby mature trees or planting of new trees close to the wall
  • Changes leading to greater risk of damage from traffic
  • Alterations, such as additions to the wall or removal of parts of the wall e.g. for a new gateway.

Safe heights for walls of different thicknesses

You are advised to seek expert advice on the safety of any wall which exceeds the height limits given below for your area of the UK.

In very sheltered situations and where piers have been used taller walls may be acceptable.

Map showing the UK zones for the safe heights for walls of different thickness

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4
Wall Thickness Max. Height (mm) Wall Thickness Max. Height (mm) Wall Thickness Max Height (mm) Wall Thickness Max. Height (mm)
½ Brick¹ 525 ½ Brick¹ 450 ½ Brick¹ 400 ½ Brick¹ 375
1 Brick² 1450 1 Brick² 1300 1 Brick² 1175 1 Brick² 1075
1½ Brick³ 2400 1½ Brick³ 2175 1½ Brick³ 2000 1½ Brick³ 1825
100mm Block 450 100mm Block 400 100mm Block 350 100mm Block 325
200mm Block 1050 200mm Block 925 200mm Block 850 200mm Block 775
300mm Block 2000 300mm Block 1825 300mm Block 1650 300mm Block 1525

1 = 100mm; 2 = 215mm; 3 = 325mm.