Property Lines are the foundation to fence installation. It is extremely important that you keep all of your fence inside your property boundaries. Because I am a Raleigh REALTOR® and Raleigh Real Estate Agent, I cannot stress this enough. Because real estate involves to many legal aspects, encroaching your fence onto your neighbor's property can become a costly mistake later down the road. Typically you will not experience any problems with property boundaries until you sell your home or your neighbor sells his home.
Though helpful, it is not always necessary to have all of the markers still in the ground. If you have one of the back corners and a copy of the survey, you may be able to find the other markers or figure out where the other marker should be at.
If you are connecting your fence to a neighbor's fence, you obviously wouldn't need the survey or marker for that side. If you are doing the job yourself, a good rule of thumb is to stay at least 6-12 inches inside the property line, though it is always better to err on the side of caution. When we purchased our home in Raleigh, our neighbor's fence was 5 feet over the property line and he had to take it down.
Easements / Utility Lines
No, you cannot locate utility lines for your fence, yourself. We ALWAYS call North Carolina one call, the FREE service that is required by law to come and mark your yard for any power lines, gas lines, cable lines, phone lines, water lines, etc. Fences, among most other things, cannot usually be installed on any easement, including utilitiy easements, water easements, sewer easements, or drainage easements. However, the people who maintain those easements may allow you to use the easement so long as you provide them with access to that easement through a removable section or double gate. Gas lines can be deadly and explosions from them have destroyed homes and lives.
Your survey will display these things if you have one in your yard. Sometimes if you contact the person who handles the specific easement, you will be able to cross the easement so long as you put in a double gate or removable section. If they need to access the easement at some point down the road, they have access and you get to keep your full yard without cutting it short.
In this photograph and gas line looped around the backyard to the light pole in front of the house. The gas line was marked to the meter, where someone had then altered the gas meter to install a lamp post. Home owners will sometimes do some crazy things without getting permits sometimes, and other times contractors will not install them deep enough. These people had just bought the house. If you ever smell gas call 911 and have the fire department come immediately. Another risk of hiring a contractor who does not have the proper insurance.
If your home or neighborhood is a member of a home owner's association, you should always find out the fence requirements and guidelines you must follow. Approval of the HOA varies because their are endless neighborhoods and varying specifics. It is not your Raleigh fence company's responsibility to get the approval of the HOA. It is your responsibility, but many fence contractors will help provide you with the information that you need to submit to the home owner's association to get approval.
Typically, a HOA take anywhere from one week to six weeks to approve your project. Generally speaking, you need to get the HOA's approval whenever you do anything to the exterior of your residence including painting and landscaping. We even had one customer a few years ago who submitted her information and had us install her fence. Then her HOA said they never received it, she was a police officer, they made her redo her fence because it didn't get approved for the style she wanted.
Many HOA ordinances and rules prevent you from constructing chain link, split rail, or wire containment fences because they are not asthetically appealing. If you install one without HOA approval, you can almost be sure you will have to tear it down or face serious fines.
There are 100 counties and more than 101 cities in North Carolina and it would be impossible for us to keep up with the regulations for each one. Most counties and cities do NOT require a permit to be pulled for a fence.
A fence permit is not like a deck permit. No one ever comes to inspect the final product. The vast majority of homeowner's do not get a fence permit. A deck is something that requires a permit because there is people's SAFETY involved. A fence permit is geared towards increasing the city's revenue. Out of the 1,000 or so jobs we have completed in over 7 years in North Carolina, only two or three people ever took the time to get a permit. Because most cities do not allow any fences over 6 feet in height, if you are considering getting something taller, you should by all means get a permit, because a permit would be 100% REQUIRED if you exceed the 6 foot height ordinance. As long as you follow the ordinances, there is really no reason to waste your time getting a permit.
Again, like with HOA's, every city and county usually has different guidelines and policies regarding this. As far as we know, all fence contractors leave obtaining a fence permit as the homeowner's responsibility.
Gates are the most used part of the fence and can sometimes be the most problematic part of a fence. There are many many different ways to build a fence gate. Some fence companies will tell you that you need to use 6x6 posts on the gates to make them sturdier. Though it sounds like it makes sense, it's just a salesman pitch to try to get you to hire them instead of another company. The industry standard is to use 4x4 posts for gates. Despite many companies who swear by this, it is actually not true. In order to bust this myth, we are going to analyze a bit of science.
The gate is hinged on the post. The gate is not bearing on the post. Even a double drive gate will be no more secure with 6x6's. Each half of a double gate is maybe 100-150 pounds. If a 4x4 is sufficient to support a deck, then it is certainally sufficient for a fence gate. A 4x4 can withstand several thousand pounds of pressure. A 4x4 post is sufficient for a fence gate. Every gate needs what is called a crossbrace.
The crossbrace is what prevents the gate from sagging. Our fence company warranties all gates against sagging for life, because we build our gates properly so that we and you won't have problems in the years to come. If you are building a fence yourself, don't believe the "hype." If we were talking about a load bearing on a post, absolutely a 6x6 is better than a 4x4. But, we are talking about a load pulling on a post which is secure in the ground with concrete and secured to other posts, therefore in the fence gate scenario, a 6x6 really serves no other point than being a "SALES PITCH."
§ 87-102. Notice required prior to excavation.
(a)Except as provided in G.S. 87-106, before commencing
any excavations in highways, public spaces or in private
easements of a utility owner, a person planning to excavate
shall notify each utility owner having underground utilities
located in the proposed area to be excavated, either orally or
in writing, not less than two nor more than 10 working days
prior to starting, of his intent to excavate.
(b) The written or oral notice required in subsection (a)
(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the
person filing the notice;
(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the
person doing the excavating;
(3) The anticipated starting date of the excavation;
(4) The anticipated duration of the excavation;
(5) The type of excavation to be conducted;
(6) The location of the proposed excavation; and
(7) Whether or not explosives will be used.
(c) If the notice required by this section is made by
telephone, an adequate record shall be made of the notification
by the utility owners or the utility association and the person
making the notification, to document compliance with this
section. (1985, c. 785, s. 1.)
§ 87-108. Absence of utility location.
Should any utility owner who has been given notice
pursuant to G.S. 87-102 fail to respond to that notice as
provided in G.S. 87- 107, or fail to properly locate the
underground utility, then the person excavating is free to
proceed with the excavation. Neither the excavator nor the
person financially responsible for the excavation will be liable
to the non-responding or improperly responding utility owner for damages to that utility owner's facilities if the person doing
the excavating shall exercise due care to protect existing
underground utilities when there is evidence of the existence of
those underground utilities near the proposed excavation site.
(1985, c. 785, s. 1.)