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INDUSTRY STANDARDS UPDATE: New homes in bush fire prone areas

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INDUSTRY STANDARDS UPDATE: New homes in bush fire prone areas

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What is BAL?

BAL, or bush fire attack level, is a rating system applied to homes located in bush fire prone areas.  It affects a lot of properties near natural bushland, which applies to the majority of TR Homes’ clients.

The Australian Standard approach (AS 3959) divides bushfire prone areas into six bush fire attack levels (BAL), based on the severity of the building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact. These levels are below:
•    BAL-LOW - very low risk
•    BAL-12.5 - low risk
•    BAL-19 - moderate risk
•    BAL-29 - high risk
•    BAL-40 - very high risk
•    BAL-FZ - extreme risk (Flame Zone)

Depending on the BAL, it is mandatory for homes to be planned and constructed in a specific way to lower fire hazard in and around the building. As a home builder, TR Homes must meet the National Construction Code (NCC) requirements respective to the BAL classification of a new home.

What suburbs/areas are “bush fire prone”?

The Western Australian Government has developed a mapping system that shows current bush fire prone areas. The Map identifies land within, or partially within the bush fire prone areas of the State as designated by the FES Commissioner. You can read the full Mapping Standard for Bush Fire Prone Areas for further information. On the digital Map, if any part of the property is shaded pink, it is deemed bush fire prone.  A lot of rural properties are bush fire prone but you will also notice inner city and metro areas are also at risk.
 

What is the industry update regarding BAL?

As of April 8 this year, all new buildings that are located in a
bush fire prone area are to have a report accompanying them that states the BAL rating.

How does this update affect people wanting to build a new home?

Those thinking about building a home after April 8 will need to understand that a mandatory industry standard BAL assessment will take place - and this may result in additional safety measures being applied during planning and construction of their new home. The BAL rating given to your new home may alter the cost of the home.

At TR Homes we will go through any additional costs with you, ensuring absolute understanding of the processes involved.

Who organises and pays for the BAL report?

The assessment is to be carried out by the builder, in this case, TR Homes will arrange for a BAL assessment. The assessment is mandatory – it is not an opt-in/out scenario.
Once we conclude the BAL rating on your home, one of our TR Homes consultants will go through this with you and outline any additional costs involved, ensuring absolute understanding and transparency of the processes involved.

Historically, TR Home’s clients’ homes often fall within the first 3 BAL categories (lower risk). However, each home will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like to speak with us further about this industry update, please email us at info@trhomes.com.au

 

Note - please ensure you thoroughly read and understand the mapping system with the Government provided FAQs