Overlooking Regulations & Privacy – Part 2

When it comes to overlooking and privacy. There are lots of strict regulations in place here in Australia. Sometimes they can be challenging. And even though you might have an amazing view from your house. You might not be able to enjoy it.

There is a lot of confusion about these rules. So, I will start a little miniseries about this topic.

In Part 1 of our miniseries we talked about the different terms and meanings. In case you’ve missed it, please check out our previous post.

Today we will go into further details about the actual regulations.

Governing Regulations:

The issue of overlooking is dealt with at both a town planning and building permit stage under the following sections:

Planning regulations:
Both of the following within your Local councils planning scheme

  • Clause 54.04-6: Standard A15 (for single dwellings on a lot); and
  • Clause 55.04-6: Standard B22 (for multiple dwellings on a lot)

Building regulations:

Regulation 84 of the Building regulations under the Building Act 1993

Overlooking Definition:

Under the regulations any new habitable window or raised outdoor space must not allow the occupants of that property to gain a direct line of sight into the SPOS or an existing habitable room window located on a neighbouring site within 9m of the new window or outdoor space.

NOTE:  the difference between SPOS and POS in the Terms/ meanings as per part 1 of our miniseries. Areas on a neighbouring site which are POS only, are not included when considering overlooking. 

The standards and regulations outline (in text) two different 3-dimensional areas representing the average occupant’s line of sight from a window or raised outdoor space. 

The VBA (Victorian Building Authority) have provided diagrams to explain the two areas.
1. For overlooking of a neighbour’s windows (see figures 22 & 23)
2. For overlooking of a neighbour’s SPOS (see figures 24 & 25)

NOTE: both sets of images depict overlooking from a new window. To apply these to a new raised outdoor area, consider the open sides of the area as if they are full height windows running the full length of each open side. Kind of like a glass house.


For the purposes of the overlooking regulations, it is considered that the eye height of most occupants (while standing) is at or below 1.7m

If a new Habitable Room window or raised outdoor area is deemed to allow overlooking then visual barriers must be added to prevent direct line of sight. The two options outlined in the regulations are
1. Obscure glazing to any glazing below 1.7m above FFL  

These regulations do not apply to a new habitable room window or raised open space that faces a property boundary if –

 (a) there is a visual barrier at least 1·8 m high at the boundary; and

(b) the floor level of the room or the raised open space is less than 800 mm above the ground
level at the boundary.

Example of obscure glazing up to 1.7m above finished floor level.

In our third and last part we will talk about the practical implications of these regulations.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Stay tuned.