Despite the requirement for Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment being around for so long, the reforms that has made them mandatory this year in April has completely changed the way we plan and build in bushfire prone regions. For good reason, there is no way around Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments, we have to ensure our buildings and construction are of the lowest Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating possible to ensure safety, reduced construction cost and generally quicker developmental/building applications. However, being able to achieve a relatively low Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating is not always achievable for every site/development.

For instance, if you live in the hills or on a bush property, chances are that the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments you conduct are going to a high Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating, especially if you have forest/woodland vegetation on your own property. When you speak to your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessor on your options, he will most probably refer you to a BPAD Accredited Level 2 Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessor who can draft a Bushfire Management Plans (BMP) for you and help you reduce your rating from a possible Flame Zone to a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of BAL-29.

Although these reports may help you gain approval for your development they come with a heavy price as well especially if you are making a minor change like adding a shed or carport. For small developments like that, a bushfire report can be done appropriate to the complexity of the structure. This report is called a Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) which is a one page summary of a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP). These can only be written by a BPAD accredited level 2 Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessor and must abide by the State Planning Policy (SPP 3.7) and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Regions. It should aim to reduce your indicative Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating as well as give strategies for the safeguarding the property and its inhabitants in case of a bushfire. Like a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP), this is done through recommendations based on the four elements from the Bushfire Protection Criteria which are:

1. Location
2. Siting
3. Vehicular access
4. Water

In a simple one page document, a Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) can declare that these four elements are to work in collaboration with each other to safeguard life, property and infrastructure while reducing bushfire construction costs significantly. Care must be taken however as not all councils accept a Bushfire Management Statement and some of them may have their own format/requirements in terms of details the Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) must give. Ensure to check that the BPAD accredited level 2 Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessor you are using is aware and can draft it according to the requirements given by either the council or the WAPC to avoid your application being held back.

Green Start Consulting are Level 2 BPAD assessors. 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 Statements (BMS) and Bushfire Attack Level (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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