What Does It Mean to Have a Clear Fence Line?
If you’re wondering how to clear a fence line or how much it costs to clear a fence line, then you might think the answer is quite straightforward.
However, most contractors base their quotes on a “clear and level fence line,” and there are some very specific things that covers. Here’s what you need to know if you see that clause in your fence quote or contract.
Clear Fence Lines: Gradients
If your fence contractor has based their quote or contract on a clear AND level fence line, that means that they have not made allowance for any steep slopes in their quotation.
Since most fence types require additional fence posts if the gradient of a fence line exceeds 10 degrees, that usually means that there should not be any gradients that exceed that angle.
Some other kinds of fence, like 358 fences and welded mesh panel fence systems, may still require stepping or shorter panels on even milder slopes, so be sure to enquire what the maximum gradient is for fences installed as per this clause for your specific project.
Clear Fence Lines: Vegetation
The next thing your fence contractor expects when they quote a project with clear and level fence lines is that there is no obstructive vegetation along the fence line.
This includes trees, shrubs and long grass that may limit access, but it also includes tree stumps and roots that may still be in the ground. If they will interfere with installation, they will need to be removed to ensure that the fence line is considered clear and level.
Clear Fence Lines: Old Fences and Built Structures
In order for your fence line to be considered clear and level, you will need to ensure that all old fencing, gates and built structures that are not to remain in place (like buildings that the fence will butt up to). They should be removed before your contractor arrives on-site or before work starts on your fence.
This also includes structures that might not be above ground or not fully above ground, like old concrete footings and similar. These would usually be considered unknown subterranean conditions and would be subject to a change order if encountered.
Clear Fence Lines: Grade
Another important factor of clear and level fence lines is that they need to be within about 150mm or 6 inches of finished grade. Fence contractors cannot install fences normally if the current grade is outside of this, and additional costs may apply for formwork and other installation requirements.
Clear Fence Lines: Rocks and Boulders
Clear and level fence lines also mean that there are no large rocks or boulders above or below the ground that will interfere with access or installation.
This means that contractors should be able to access the fence line with vehicles and equipment and that they don’t need to adjust digging or concrete casting because of rocks or boulders along the fence line.
How to Clear Fence Lines?
The answer to the question of how to clear fence lines is not always that simple, and there might be multiple steps.
If you have a long, open fence line that is overgrown with vegetation, you might use a grader to clear a broad strip along the fence line.
If you have a residential fence line that includes an old fence trees and shrubs, you might get a landscaper to trim the vegetation and get a quote for fence removal from the company you’re hiring to install your new fence.
If you want your fence contractor to quote on fence line clearing, you will need to tell them before you get a quote, and they will definitely need to do a site visit to assess the site before they quote.
How Much Does It Cost to Clear a Fence Line?
Again, this varies a lot based on the site and the condition of the fence line, so there’s no hard and fast answer. It could cost as little as a few dollars per foot or meter, or your contractor might give you a lump sum price for removal and fence line prep.
It’s always best to have any fence contractor visit your site to walk the fence line and take as many notes and photos as they need to quote accurately. However, since there might still be things underground that they can’t see when walking the fence line, there might still be additional costs when they find those issues.
It’s very rare that the price of a fence at the end of a project is the same as the price you were quoted, but the more information your fence company has, the more likely it is to be as close as possible.