Building in Bushfire Prone Areas

10.11.10

Australia is a country that is touted for its unmatched scenery. From the coast to the country, it is one of the most diverse landscapes on earth.

 

It comes as no surprise that with the abundance of choice we have comes the desire to build in unique locations. With this, we must be aware of the unavoidable risk of natural disasters, most notably bushfires.

 

The CSIRO, in conjunction with The University of Melbourne, released an online guide for improving the bushfire resilience of Australian homes and gardens in preparation for the ‘International Day of Disaster Resilience’ – October 13th annually.

This guide helps home owners understand that bushfires are a natural part of the Australian landscape. It provides insight into how bushfires interact with homes and gardens and explains design principles that can reduce bushfire risks. You can find the guide here.

Australia has witnessed the catastrophic effects of bushfires, from the 2008 Black Saturday bushfires to the more recent 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires which destroyed in excess of 3000 homes. Seeing the increasing effects of climate change, CSIRO scientists have predicted more frequent and intense fire seasons, furthering the need for bushfire compliant homes.

To cater to this growing need, our range of pre-designed homes are all designed to achieve a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of 19 at no extra cost to the client. For BAL’s that exceed this we will work with you to modify the design or materials to ensure your home meets its relevant BAL rating and is prepared for the potential bushfire threat.

BAL Ratings

 

There are six BAL classifications to determine the necessary building processes for the site. These classifications range from BAL low which means there is no requirement for bushfire compliant process up to BAL FZ which builds for the possibility of an ember attack or direct exposure to flames.

An accredited bushfire consultant can provide a BAL report that will assess the Fire Danger Index, slope of the land, types of surrounding vegetation and proximity to any building. This report then allows Prebuilt and partner architects to accurately and appropriately select materials to be able to build to the BAL ratings of each site.

View our mini guide to material changes as BAL ratings increase.

Daylesford BAL 40 home

Prebuilt’s Daylesford home showcases a typical response to a BAL 40 rating, where all external materials must be non-combustible. Subfloors are built to include a cement sheet underlay while windows and doors are metal with glazing upgrades and/or the inclusion of BAL 40 rated window shutters.

The ability to interchange the cladding throughout the façade means our clients do not need to compromise on sleek and sophisticated design when complying to a BAL 40 rating. Our Daylesford pergola was built without timber components, utilising steel for the outdoor structure and non-combustible outdoor flooring with a tiled finish.

View more images of the Daylesford BAL 40 home

Bushfires are an unavoidable part of Australian rural living; this doesn’t mean you have to change your lifestyle choices to protect your home. Let our prefabricated design process prepare your home in the best possible way against the threat of a bushfire.

 

Daylesford images by Inkdfotogrfa

Our friendly team are here to answer any questions, get in touch to start a conversion.

Call +61 3 9761 5544

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