Ensuring at design stage your property is bushfire safe

Bushfire is a major challenge for many communities. It has been a natural part of our landscape for thousands of years and remains a present threat.

All developments on land that is designated as bushfire prone have a legal obligation to consider bushfire and meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and AS3959 – 2009.

Bushfire prone land is land that has been identified as an ‘area of land that can support a bushfire or is likely to bushfire attack’. Your local council can provide a map of affected properties. Check on your local council website.

For example, within one Sydney Local Council area there are 3 categories of Bushfire prone land:

  • Vegetation Category 1: most hazardous vegetation
  • Vegetation Category 2: isolated areas of less hazardous vegetation
  • Buffer Zone: areas in which development & people are most likely to be affected by bush fire burning in vegetation.

If your property is located in any of these areas or similar, it needs to be addressed at design stage to save changes and additional expense later. Depending on the type of development and the degree of bushfire hazard, varied building setbacks, landscaping and construction requirements may apply.

New development or extensions to an existing dwelling can be achieved in most cases, however, you need to meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and AS3959 – 2009.

Buildings can be destroyed or damaged from bush fire due to a number of forms of attack; ember attack, radiant heat and or direct flame contact. Wind can weaken the building elements and make them more susceptible to these forms of attack whilst smoke can impact upon the health of occupants and fire fighters.

If you are looking to purchase a property or land that is located within or close to bushland, you may want to consider an assessment to determine your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) prior to purchase. You can usually obtain a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Risk Assessment Certificate from your local Council for a reasonable fee.

We can support you through this process and design your dream home to comply with all the necessary requirements while remaining stylish and functional to meet your needs today and in the future.

Typical map indicating bushfire prone areas.
Sketches indicating bush fire risks
Windows specifically designed for Bushfire areas

by Ruth Newman