In the last part of our miniseries about overlooking and privacy we want to talk about practical implications of these regulations.

In Part 1 of our miniseries we had talked about the different terms and meanings. And Part 2 explained all the different regulations. In case you’ve missed it, please check out our previous posts.

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

So, what do these regulations mean for my own home? 

It means that most upper storey windows in a house will either need to be screened or frosted up to 1.7m. This applies for each of your habitable windows, that is within 9m of either a private open space, or a habitable room window of one of your neighbours. 

Which is the case for most inner-city project. Or if you live in the suburbs. On the other hand, this means that you do not need a privacy screen for any windows facing the street. Or if your neighbour is further away than 9m from your window.

When embarking on new build or works to your existing house, it makes sense to take this regulations into account early on. Trying to avoid the need for screening if and where possible. This may mean pushing a wall further away from a boundary. Or placing windows further away from the boundary. 

Keep in mind, the 1.7m high screening is also required for balconies. Meaning if your balcony is overlooking into your neighbours garden, you will need a privacy screen. And you might not be able to look into your own garden either. Which can potentially compromise the look and feel you were after in the first place.

Also, be aware of raised floor levels. If the floor level of your house is more than 800 mm above the natural ground level, the overlooking regulations are also triggered. This can happen for instance when you build your house on a timber sub floor on a slope. For instance, if the decking of your alfresco our outdoor decking sits further than 800mm above the natural ground level. You would need a 1.7m tall privacy screen all around. That would not look that nice. Would it?

 Another thing to take into account is the cost and maintenance of different screening options.

Screening battens are often the most reasonable choice. They can also be a nice architectural feature. However, they can be pricey. Keep in mind, they have to be fixed. Which means it will be hard to clean your windows. Also, these screens prevent the sun from coming in. So you will not get as much light into your room either.

Frosted glazing on the other hand might not look as fancy. But it is usually more cost effective. And also, you won’t have any issues cleaning your windows. On top of that, you will get more light into your house.

Another option, and my preferred option is, to have windows above 1.7m height. When you have a normal ceiling height of 2.4 metres however, that won’t leave much room for glazing. For a bathroom, hallway or walk in robe a long skinny window, say 1.5 m long and 500 – 700mm tall will be enough. 

This can work really well when you have high ceilings. You can have proper sized windows, just sitting 1.7m above the floor.