Building a new home or renovating an existing one in a bushfire prone area can be a real nightmare when choosing building materials and products. Not only should the roofing, windows, doors, guttering and cladding meet your design requirements, the environment and your family’s needs, but they must also comply with construction requirements for bushfire prone areas in accordance with AS3959 and Planning for Bushfires 2006.
Before you decide on the building footprint, it is important to conduct a basic BAL assessment for the proposed location in an effort to determine if this is the best and safest location.
The Rural Fire Service website in your state provides a number of excellent assessment tools that can be used for an initial and simple assessment, however once you decide on your building footprint and submit a development application for construction, you will need to obtain a qualified bushfire construction report for development consents or BAL Certificate for complying development consents.
Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) are applied to dwellings:
- Constructed in areas with bush vegetation fire risk, the higher the BAL number, the greater the risk of your home being impacted by bushfire.
- For example a BAL – FZ or BAL 40 would indicate you are in a very high risk area and that the method of building construction will be greater to better protect the property and occupants against the threat of an approaching bushfire, where as BAL LOW or BAL 12.5 means you're at the lower end of bushfire risk scale and construction methods are not as significant.
- Listed below are the 5 main Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) that you may fall under and some of the construction requirements for each.
- BAL - 12.5 - the lowest level of bushfire attack.
- BAL - 19 - possible requirements - use of fire retardant timbers.
- BAL - 29 - possible requirements - gutter guards, use fire retardant timber timbers.
- BAL - 40 - possible requirements - gutter guards, stainless steel or bronze insect screens, no exposed timber, use fibre cement sheeting, brick and concrete cladding, brick cladding, metal framed toughened glass windows and doors only.
- BAL - FZ - possible requirements - gutter guards, stainless steel insect screens, no exposed timber, brick and concrete cladding, windows and doors that comply with AS3959 - and AS1530.8.2 (generally metal framed toughened glass windows), 10,000 litre fire dedicated water tank, radiant heat barriers (example fire shutters), sprinkler systems, fire hydrants, special barrier housing for gas cylinders and fire door compliant entry and garage doors.
Survival Solutions Bushfire assessors are experts in determining what your BAL is and what construction methods are required.
For as little as $880 + GST you can a comprehsensive BAL and construction report for your next project. Phone Survival Solutions today on 1300 040 362