Below are a few common questions regarding: project regulatory requirements, fences, decks and renovation projects. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us.
- What is the maximum height for a fence in the city of Winnipeg?
- Is a building permit required for a fence or deck?
- Are there special requirements for wheelchair ramps?
- How deep should the post holes for a fence or deck be drilled? What are the posts set in?
- When is it safe to stain or seal my new wood fence?
- Are fence regulations the same in every municipality?
- What types of materials are best for fences?
- What is the typical lifespan of a fence?
- I have been told that the "good side" of the fence must be exposed to the neighbour's side. Is this correct?
- I hear that there are revisions to the Manitoba building code for 2011. Will these impact on my fence or deck?
- The fence (or deck) is being built on my own property. Why should I call the local utility before I dig in my posts or piles?
- My last fence gate sagged and shifted every winter and spring. Why does this happen, and what can I do to prevent it?
- If I build a solid fence, will it shift with the wind?
- Can concrete be used to set posts?
- I want to build a fire pit in my back yard. What should I know about its location?
- Can I put a barbecue on my wood deck?
Answer: The maximum height for a fence is 6'6" in the backyard and 4' in the front yard unless you receive a variance from the city.
Answer: A building permit is not required for a fence but please contact us for permit information for decks. Decks may require permits in certain circumstances, such as in regard to height, but not in others.
Answer: Wheelchair ramps require permits and specific design considerations.
Question 4: How deep should the post holes for a fence or deck be drilled? What are the posts set in?
Answer: The post holes for a fence are drilled 4' deep. The posts are set in 3/4" down limestone which is compacted in two stages. Deck piles and supports require individual design.
Answer: It is recommended that you wait one year to stain or seal your pressure treated wood fence to allow moisture to evaporate from the wood.
Answer: No. Fence standards vary depending upon the demands of local jurisdictions.
Answer: This will depend upon the purpose for which the fence is to be used, and whether it will be located in an open area, a shaded area, in closed space, etc.. Today's fences may be made of stone, pebble & concrete, PVC, wood, plastics, metal, recycled materials and so on.
Answer: This will vary by design location and materials used. PVC fences, for example, may last 50 years. Solid untreated wood fences may need to be replaced every five years, but when properly built and installed will last 15-20 years. Wood fences in high humidity may last only a few years, even when treated. Proper design, considering the use, location and materials is essential to ensuring longevity. As well, surface treatments, such as stain versus paint, will impact on the requirement to repair or maintain the fence.
Question 9: I have been told that the "good side" of the fence must be exposed to the neighbour's side. Is this correct?
Answer: No. There is no legal requirement in Winnipeg or other Manitoba jurisdictions that the good side be facing the neighbour. However, if it is your fence, it should be properly maintained by you. If the fence is slightly set back off your property line (as it should be) the neighbour does not have the legal right to alter your fence (since he would need to trespass to do so).
Question 10: I hear that there are revisions to the Manitoba building code for 2011. Will these impact on my fence or deck.
Answer: Generally, no. These revisions to the Building Code are aimed at fire safety and energy efficiency, and are not geared toward fences or decks.
Question 11: The fence (or deck) is being built on my own property. Why should I call the local utility before I dig in my posts or piles?
Answer: Many urban homes, in particular, have lines (gas or electric) that transit under their property. In most instances, these lines are providing service to your own home. Failure to "call before you dig" may rupture the lines, causing serious injury to people or damage, for which you may be liable.
Question 12: My last fence gate sagged and shifted every winter and spring. Why does this happen, and what can I do to prevent it?
Answer: Frost heave is a common experience in the soft, wet soil that freezes and thaws. This problem can be addressed in several ways, including proper setting of the support posts, design of gate hardware, and structural integrity of the gate and adjoining fence.
Answer: If the fence is not structurally sound, wind effect in open spaces can damage the fence. For this reason, we do not recommend solid fences that are too tall to resist the wind.
Answer: Many fence and deck builders do, in fact, use concrete. However, you should be aware that concrete is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts and draws water toward it. This is damaging to the fence post portion set in the concrete, and may (even with treated posts) rot the post base. Contractors sometimes set the post only to the bottom of the concrete, with no fill pebble beneath the post or concrete. Again, this allows water to pool at the post base. We use 3/4 down limestone to a 4-foot depth (when the posts are set to less than that depth) because it compacts well and allows water to drain away from the post.
Answer: The City of Winnipeg Fire Regulations require that fire pits be at least 3 meters away from any flammable materials, including trees, decks, walls, garages and wood or combustible fences.
Answer: Apartments and condominium complexes require that barbecues not be used where the deck or canopy is constructed of flammable materials. This regulation is in effect in many jurisdictions across Canada. However, the primary consideration for private homeowners is the limitation or rider placed on such uses as they relate to your homeowner insurance coverage.