Privacy Screen Regulations | Absolute Balustrades
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Privacy Screen Regulations


A privacy screen can be defined as a permanent structure that provides a screen or visual barrier between a window of a habitable room or an outdoor area on a lot and an adjoining lot. State Planning Policy 3.1- Residential Design Codes, contains specific requirements that all residential construction needs to comply with.

Clause 5.4.1 and 6.4.1 of these codes cover privacy between adjoining properties and prevention of overlooking through the use of screening.  The codes discuss fencing, vegetation and privacy screens; however, for the purpose of this blog, we will discuss the areas of the code that relate to privacy screens.

Regulations on privacy screens vary by council/shire but they all follow the same 4 principals;

  • The cone of vision must be no more than 45 degrees. This means the limits of outlook from any given viewpoint, applying a viewing cutting off point of no less than 45 degrees (See FIG 1.0 below).
  • The maximum visual permeability allowed for a privacy screen is 20 per cent.
  • All privacy screens must meet a minimum height requirement of 1.6 metres above finished floor level.
  • Setbacks are not sufficient alone to prevent overlooking and need to be supplemented by various screening measures. A setback refers to the distance a dwelling is setback from its boundaries and is determined by the cone of vision.

Screening can be done either by fixed louvres/slats or translucent/opaque glass.

Fixed louvres/slats

For this option, the louvres need to be fixed at an angle that only allows 20 per cent permeability and restricts overlooking, whilst still allowing airflow, natural daylight etc. The design must not infringe on other development requirements, i.e. shading, setbacks, daylight and it must integrate with the design of the building. Louvres may be perforated to allow circulation of air, providing that permeability is no more than 20 per cent. If you live within the City of Stirling, the privacy screen needs to be fixed to the ground, with no gaps underneath.

ABS supply and install three types of slat privacy screens; Panaview, Seeview and Fairview aluminium. Visit our Privacy Screens page for more information on these.  Also, see our blog on  The difference between Panaview, Fairview & Seeview Screens.

Translucent/Opaque Glass

This refers to non-transparent glass or similar materials, which allow no more than 20 per cent permeability. The most common material used here is Satinlite toughened glass (as pictured above). Our two most popular designs for obscured glass privacy screens are;

- Modern (framed glass)
- Horizon (semi-frameless glass)

When a privacy screen needs to act as a balustrade/barrier, it will also require a handrail for instances where the glass barrier breaks.

Glass span and height are contributing factors in choosing the required thickness of the glass. The span of the glass refers to the distance between points where the glass is supported, e.g. between two posts. The required thickness can range anywhere from 6mm glass up to 20mm toughened laminated glass, and this will impact the price of the privacy screen. The balustrade code will also impact the thickness required. The modern framed glass design is most suitable for larger spans of privacy screening (see picture on left) as the four sided glazing gives it extra strength and less flexibility.

To find out more information on ABS privacy screens contact our sales experts on 08 9302 1947 or fill out the quick contact form on the right of this article.

FIG 1.0: Cone of Vision (Source: www.planning.wa.gov.au)


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