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Bushfire Prone Areas

Planning conditions and building approvals in Western Australia are continually changing. Therefore, more suburbs are now subject to BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) assessments.

BAL (Bushfire Attack Level)

As a result of bush fires around the country, the WA State Government passed a law that if you are building in a bushfire prone area, you will be need a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment. Central Avenue Homes has long time associations with leading experts in the Building industry who also help our clients receive the best advice at the lowest possible cost.

A BAL assessment will take into account the following:-

  • surrounding plants and trees and the distance from the building,
  • slope of the block,
  • how close other buildings are to the proposed building
  • Fire danger index for the region
  • Building products used
  • Design of the home

The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment determines specific construction and design requirements. These are noted in the Australian Standard AS 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.

BAL requirements are there to protect your home against possible bushfires.

A BAL report provides specific information how to design the building to reduce the risk from bushfires. The report is specific to your block, and not all blocks require a BAL assessment.

The State Government has created a mapping standard showing bushfire prone areas across Western Australia. For this reason, every block that is in a bushfire prone area must have a BAL assessment. To see if your block is in a bushfire prone area, click on the link below.


Bushfire image showing why the bal assessments are important

Image courtesy of Structerre Consulting Engineers

The BAL assessment specifically designed for your block provides:-

  • A BAL rating – a fire level from low to extreme risk
  • Specific design requirements to build your home
  • A list of building products designed specifically for bushfire prone areas

Accordingly, below is an example of BAL assessment requirements

  • Ember proof fly screens with metal mesh
  • Ember proof weep holes in the brickwork covered in mesh
  • Anitcon under roof cover of the entire roof
  • Ember kit for the garage door
  • Ember proof flume vents with mesh on top to the roof
  • Fire blankets installed in the walls

What is a BAL assessment, and why do you need one?

  • A BAL assessment is a report that relates to the classification of bushfire intensity levels,
  • Is written by a structural engineer
  • Forms part of the application for a building permit in addition to other engineer reports
  • Provides a bushfire rating with specific information for your block
  • Details how to design the structure
  • It advises how to reduce the risk of burning from bushfires, ember attack and radiant heat.

Unfortunately, if your block is in a bushfire prone area, you will need a BAL assessment to be able to get a building permit.

What does this mean for you?

  • Because an assessment is not required for every block, the cost of the report will be on top of the other costs
  • In addition, A BAL assessment will increase the cost to build your home.
  • The higher the BAL rating, unfortunately, the higher the costs to comply with the requirements
  • A BAL rating can range from low, to BAL- FZ – which is extreme risk (Flame Zone).

Call us on (08) 9456 3366, Mobile: 0403 132 174 or email us on [email protected] to discuss your BAL assessment. And get the comfort of dealing with a reputable building company that has been trading for over 20 years.

Posted by Lee Grainger

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