California Building Code Fence Requirements

Fences deliver aesthetic and safety benefits to your property. Fences under six feet high, or eight feet if the top two toes consist of barbed wire, do not require a building permit, according to the California Building Code. However, all fences in California must comply with the California Building Code requirements for fire safety, durability and height limits.


You can build fences and walls around your construction provided that you conform with height limits. For example, fences constructed in the front or outside yard must have a maximum height of 42 inches, while fences from the back lawns can have a maximum height of 72 inches.

Fences Between Properties

Fences involving possessions come under a”good-neighbor” policy. This means local government does not enforce their use or require a license to build themas long as they are no higher than half an hour.

Pool Fences

According to the California Building Code, all swimming pools deeper than 18 inches need a self-closing, self-latching fence with release mechanisms placed at least 54 inches from the floor. The weapon must be at least 60 inches high and have a maximum vertical clearance of 2 inches in the floor to the bottom of the fence.There must be no gaps, voids or alternative features that may allow a child under five years old to climb over. If you use a chain-link fence, it must be constructed of at least a gauge 11 string link.


All fences inside five feet of a construction must be made of noncombustible materials or comply with fire-resistive criteria of exterior walls.

Masonry Fences

Masonry fences must have a first path of block placed in fresh concrete once the ground is poured. The concrete must have a minimum compressive strength of 2,500 pounds per square inch. Mortar mix and grout must have compressive strengths of 1,800 psi and 2,000 psi, respectively.

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