In the last few years there have been numerous fire events that have devastated bushland areas and destroyed or damaged properties around the country. Australia is one of the most bushfire prone countries in the world and some of its driest climatic regions are in the south west part of Western Australia. As our population continues to grow and weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable more and more Australians are likely to be affected by this danger.
Vast amounts of research has been conducted to identify areas prone to, and at risk of, bushfire. This has lead to the implementation of protective policies, procedures and standards at national, state and local levels.
Some of these include:
- Australian Standard AS3959-2009: Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas
- National Construction Code P2.3.4
- State Planning Policy 3.7: Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas
These all refer to bushfire prone areas and land subject, or likely to be subject to, bushfires.
BUILDING IN A BUSHFIRE PRONE AREA
If you would like to build a granny flat and your property is located in a Bushfire Prone Area you will be required to have a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment carried out. This not only helps to identify your property’s individual risk to bushfire but also the construction requirements needed to improve the new building’s ability to withstand attack and provide protection in the event of a bushfire.
A BAL Assessment measures the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact. It is calculated using sophisticated scientific modelling and assessing the type of nearby vegetation and its proximity to the building, the slope of your property and local weather patterns.
The six ratings available are:
If your property is not in a bushfire prone area, you can still engage the professional services of an assessor to calculate the defendable space required to protect your granny flat in the event of a bushfire, and provide strategies on how to reduce ember attack and identify and manage the vegetation surrounding the building.