If your land is in a designated bushfire prone area, you must get a Bushfire Attack Level assessment before you start designing and building your new home.
Bushfire prone areas
To help protect buildings in the event of bushfire, special construction standards apply to bushfire prone areas throughout Australia.
Council does not designate bushfire prone areas or regulate Bushfire Attack Level ratings.
Bushfire prone areas are designated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
BALs are regulated by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).
Find bushfire prone areas
You can find out if your property is in a designated bushfire prone area by creating a report with VicPlan.
The report includes:
- property details
- bushfire prone area status
- a map showing the bushfire prone area relative to the property.
Buying or selling property
If you're buying or selling property, the vendor must state if the land is in a bushfire prone area.
Building in a bushfire prone area
If you want to build in a bushfire prone area, you must use special construction methods.
You will need to show that the building will comply with bushfire construction methods before a building permit can be issued.
Please note that bushfire construction requirements do not guarantee protection from a fire front.
Bushfire Attack Level
A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) measures how much a building may be exposed to bushfire.
- possible ember attack
- radiant heat
- direct flame contact.
It also determines the level of protection needed. A BAL assessment will establish what construction methods and requirements you need to meet to help protect the building in the event of a bushfire – ranging from protection from embers to direct flames.
A minimum construction standard of BAL 12.5 for ember protection has been adopted for construction within designated bushfire prone areas.
A property must be assessed under Australian Standard 3959 to determine its BAL.
How the BAL is measured
A BAL is measured in increments of radiant heat (expressed in kilowatts/m2).
The ratings are:
- Low: Not enough risk to justify specific construction requirements.
- 12.5: Ember attack. (BAL 12.5 Construction Requirements).
- 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by travelling embers. Heat flux risk. (BAL 19 Construction Requirements).
- 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by travelling embers. Increasing heat flux. (BAL 29 Construction Requirements).
- 40: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by flying embers. Together with increasing heat flux and with increased chance of flame exposure. (BAL 40 Construction Requirements).
- Fire Zone (FZ): Direct exposure to flames from fire, along with heat flux and ember attack. (BAL FZ Construction Requirements).
You must keep all BAL measures maintained.
How to apply
What happens next?
After your application is received, an invoice will be sent to you via email. This email will contain instructions about how to pay the assessment fee.
Once the fee has been paid, the requested report will be forwarded to you within 15 business days.