If you live on a bush property and have ever had a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment done for your development, then you know how extensive the application process is for your development. The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating would be BAL-40 or BAL-FZ, there is a possibility you will not get developmental approval on a rating that high. Even if you were to get developmental approval, in order to fortify your property for such high radiant heat flux, the cost of construction would be extremely high. This is the nightmare most of our clients face and sadly, it is usually at the last stage of their whole design process as most clients are not even aware of the requirement of Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments right until they apply to the council for their approval.

On the other hand, if you are proposing a subdivision, even a low threat Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating like BAL-12.5 warrants a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) to be conducted for a subdivision in a bushfire prone region. This is to ensure that the new subdivision complies with the requirements of planning in bushfire prone regions. In this case, a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment does not give much information beyond simply what Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating the lots will be.

As you may already be aware, a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment is based on vegetation present on site at the time of assessment and cannot account for any future developments in terms of vegetation and separation distance. What you require is a BPAD Accredited Level 2 Assessor in order to help you reduce your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating to a BAL-29 or below through a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP). A Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) is a comprehensive document that uses a deep understanding of the State Planning Policy (SPP 3.7) and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Regions to devise recommendations which can both help reduce your indicative Bushfire Attack Level(BAL) rating as well as give strategies for the safeguarding of the property and its inhabitants in case of a bushfire. These recommendations are based on the four elements from Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Regions which are:

1. Location: ensuring the building/site location is optimised to achieve the maximum separation distance from vegetation and in turn a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of 29 or below.

2. Siting: managing/developing a site’s vegetation and converting it into low threat vegetation through an asset protection zone of about 20 m. This can also be used in collaboration with a hazard separation zone to drop the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) even further.

3. Vehicular access: to ensure the site has access to main public roads and provides two way routes for safe access and egress to and from a site. If the site is not accessible via a public road, then a road network is proposed to ensure the connection.

4. Water: to ensure water availability on site and its accessibility for fire fighting appliances in case of a bushfire.
There are several methods/solutions that can be proposed in a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) to ensure that these four elements work in collaboration with each other to safeguard life, property and infrastructure while reducing bushfire construction costs significantly. If you are stuck with a high Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating, then contact your BPAD accredited level 2 Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessor today for a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP).

Contact Green Start Consulting’s experienced team for expert advice on everything building industry related including Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Reports,Bushfire Management Plans (BMP), Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) and BAL Contour Maps.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you

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