Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)

Local Councils throughout Western Australia have conducted vast amounts of research to determine bushfire risk within their municipality. The Building Code of Australia 2016 Part Bushfire Areas states that it is a requirement of AS 3959 ‘Construction of Buildings in Bushfire-Prone Areas’ that any residential development located within a designated bushfire prone area meet the minimum construction standards pertaining to the applicable BAL rating as indicated below.

There are 6 ratings, of which each outline varying construction requirements.

  • BAL-LOW – There is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements

  • BAL 12-5 – Ember Attack

  • BAL-19 – Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kWm2

  • BAL-29 – Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborn embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29kw m2

  • BAL-40 -Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by wind borne embers together with increasing  heat flux with the increased likelihood of exposure to flames

  • BAL-FZ – Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack

Each of the 6 ratings provides a minimum construction standard, and therefore will result in additional costs to construction. Due to the increase in constructions costs associated with each BAL rating, WABCA recognises the value of an in-depth site assessment. WABCA’s Bushfire Assessment team WA BAL are conducting bushfire assessments in Metropolitan and Regional Western Australia focusing on a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. BAL assessments are compulsory for developments within designated Bushfire Prone Areas and therefore should be undertaken by a professional with a thorough understanding of the assessment process.

How We Help

WABCA Bushfire Attack Level Assessments are inclusive of on-site assessment and a comprehensive report of the subject area for consideration. For further information regarding BAL ratings, and whether or not you could be affected, feel free to contact one of the WABCA staff.

Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment

A BAL Assessment is a means of measuring the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact, using increments of radiant heat expressed in kilowatts per metre squared and the basis for establishing the requirements for construction to improve protection of building elements from attack by bushfire.

The Standard is primarily concerned with improving the ability of buildings in designated bushfire prone areas to better withstand attack from bush fire, therefore giving better protection to the building occupants (until the fire front passes) as well as to the building itself.

This standard is part of a process that aims to lessen the risk of damage to buildings in the event of a bushfire. Other measures of mitigating damage from bush fire fall within the areas of planning, subdivision, siting, landscaping and maintenance.

A Bushfire Assessment will:

  • Take approximately 20-30 minutes with one of WA BAL’s assessors completing the report in a day
  • Calculate your defendable space
  • Assess the amount of defendable space required to protect you from radiant heat during a bushfire
  • Reduce the risk of ember attack on your property
  • Identify & manage the vegetation in the inner & outer zones surrounding your home

Bushfire Compliance Certificate

Bushfire compliance certificate is prepared at the end of construction to certify that the development has been carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Bushfire Attack Level which is nominated by the BAL Certificate or Development Consent. It will also take into account many of the requirements of planning for bushfire protection. Your certifier is entitled to rely on this certificate in relation to bushfire matters when issuing the final occupation certificate.

Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Certificate

A BAL certificate is a legislative requirement if you are carrying out complying development on bushfire prone land. It is a statement of the Level of Bushfire Attack  to certify that the development is not in the Flame Zone or BAL 40 which is prepared by a qualified consultant in bush fire assessment risk.

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