This page provides a summary of the changes to legislation in relation to construction in bushfire prone areas.
Following the Victorian bushfires in February 2009, the State Government introduced a number of changes into the Building Regulations.
All proposed works for dwellings, units, flats, other residential buildings and associated outbuildings must be designed and constructed 'to reduce the risk of ignition from a bushfire while the fire front passes'.
A new Australian Standard AS 3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas has been adopted and includes provision for classifying the level of bushfire attack and defines the required construction for each level.
Amendments to the Regulations came into being in September 2011. Some areas of the state are no longer classed as Designated Bushfire Areas. For further information and to determine if your property is in a Bushfire Prone Area, vist the Land Victoria website.
You will need to ensure that your designer has taken into account the provisions that are applicable at the time that you are applying for permits and constructing your building.
Application Preparation - Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)
Before an application for a building permit can be assessed, the applicant must submit an assessment of the Bushfire Attack Level – BAL. AS 3959 sets out this process and the Building Commission has prepared a form that can be used for this assessment. Your designer should assist you with this assessment.
It should be noted that where a property is assessed as a BAL - Low the building must be constructed to the standard applicable (BAL - 12.5).
Bushfire Area Requirements - Wildfire Management Overlay
For properties located in a Wildfire Management Overlay under the Planning Scheme, there are further specific requirements.
Contact our Statutory Planning Unit on 03 5272 4456 for further information.
There has been much publicity recently regarding bushfire bunkers.
New Regulations have been in place since 11 November 2009, requiring all private bushfire shelters to have a building permit.
At present there is no requirement to construct or install a bunker and there are no current standards or regulations governing the design and construction.
Refer to the information sheet published by the Building Commission.
- AS 3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas.
Available from SAI Global
- Building Controls for Bushfire Safety-Interim Practice Note 2011-42
- Bushfire Attack Level Assessment Report
- Community Information Sheet - Bushfire bunkers
Available from the Building Commission
- Building Regulations 2006 and amendments
Available from Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents