Bushfire Prone Areas
The landscape of building approvals is always evolving. By linking with leading industry experts we can be sure our clients receive the best up to date advice and service. An increasing number of properties are now subject the Bushfire Attack Level assessments and Structerre assist our clients to understand their risk. See an exert from Structerre’s explainer below and visit their website to find out more.
The WA State Government has recently passed legislation which means if you are building a home or performing construction work in a designated bushfire prone area, you will be required to undertake a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment.
Based on the results of the assessment, you will need to comply with the bushfire construction requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
Image courtesy of Structerre Consulting Engineers
The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment relates to the classification of bushfire intensity levels that a home may experience in the unfortunate event of a bushfire. It is determined by assessing surrounding vegetation types and distance, the slope of the land, and the proximity of adjacent buildings as well as the Fire Danger Index for the region.
The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment will determine the specific construction and design requirements for existing or proposed structures outlined in the Australian Standard AS 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.
These requirements aim to enhance the protection of your home against possible bushfires.
A Bushfire Attack Level report provides structural engineers with site-specific information on how to design the structure to reduce the risk of ignition from bushfires.
To help you identify whether or not your site is located in a designated bushfire prone area, the State Government has created a mapping standard outlining the designated bushfire prone areas across WA.
Structerre can provide you with a Bushfire Attack Level assessment in accordance with Australian Standards.
The assessment will rate your site with a Bushfire Attack Level and you will receive specific design advice and requirements on the construction of the property within this area. A Bushfire Attack Level report is typically undertaken at the building permit phase and must be provided to obtain a building permit.
- What is a BAL?
- A BAL assessment provides designers with site-specific information on how to design the structure to reduce the risk of ignition from bushfires, ember attack and radiant heat.
- The result of the assessment determines the specific construction and design requirements that will need to be adhered to, in order to improve the performance of structures against possible bushfires.
- A BAL rating can range from low, to BAL- FZ – extreme risk (Flame Zone).
- Why does a BAL assessment need to be done?
- For any new builds in bushfire prone areas, new legislation means a BAL assessment is required in order to obtain a building permit.
- To help you identify whether or not your site requires a BAL assessment, the State Government has created a mapping standard outlining the designated bushfire prone areas across WA.
- These maps are available to view on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) website: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/regulationandcompliance/bushfireproneareas/Pages/default.aspx
- What does this mean for you?
- Building in accordance with the BAL rating and Australian Standards can bring significant additional construction costs for you or your client, sometimes over $20 000.
- Higher BAL rating = Higher costs
Structerre Consulting Engineers, 22/01/16, www.structerre.com.au/news/requirements-for-building-in-bushfire-prone-areas