Bushfire Attack Level
Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Reports
Registered BPAD Practitioner | BAL Reports WA
What is a BAL Report?
A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Report is a means of measuring the severity of a buildings potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact in a bushfire event, and thereby determining the construction measures required for the dwelling.
Under the new provisions of State Planning Policy 3.7 you are required to have a BAL assessment completed if your property falls within the current designated bush fire prone areas.
Completed in accordance with AS-3959 the BAL assessment takes into account several factors including the Fire Danger Index (FDI), the slope of the land, types of vegetation and how close it is to the proposed building.
Once a BAL is calculated, building construction requirements can be ascertained, ensuring the correct resistance to bushfires. The information is then provided to the design team. BAL reports and certificates form an integral part of the WA planning and building permit process. It is a crucial and necessary requirement for properties located in bushfire prone areas.
The Bushfire Attack Levels are broken down into 6 categories:
BAL Low - Very low risk (No construction requirements)
BAL 12.5 - Low risk
BAL 19 - Moderate risk
BAL 29 - High risk
BAL 40 - Very high risk
BAL Flame Zone (FZ) - Extreme risk
A high BAL raring can increase your building costs, so it is important to get a qualified BAL assessor to prepare a report that recognises the most cost effective method of assessment to ensure you are getting the best result.
What types of buildings need to comply with bushfire regulations?
The Building Code of Australia bushfire construction requirements apply to the following classes of residential buildings located within designated bushfire prone areas:
Class 1 - Residential single dwellings, bed and breakfast, hostels, guest house accomodation or similar
Class 2 - A building containing two or more sole-occupancy units, each being a separate residential dwelling (e.g. apartments, flats or similar)
Class 3 - A residential building (other than a Class 1 or Class 2 building) such as hotels, accommodation for aged, children or people with disabilities or similar
Class 10a - buildings and decks associated with Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 buildings. Class 10a buildings include non-habitable buildings such as carports, sheds, garages or similar.
What are BAL Ratings - BAL FZ and BAL 40?
Time and time again, we are asked about the difference between the BAL ratings of Flames Zone (FZ) and BAL 40. The BAL ratings relate to the anticipated bushfire tech level for a particular site. The BAL Flame Zone is the most extreme exposure zone to bushfire (direct exposure to flames, radiant heat and embers). BAL 40 is the second highest level (radiant heat between 29 kW/m2 - 40 kW/m2), however, it should be remembered that Flame Zone will be over double the heat exposure to that of BAL 40. For Flame Zone rated sites, only products tested to the Flame Zone standard should be used. Using products tested to this standard will ensure that your home has the best possible protection against a bushfire and radiant heat.
Please visit the DMIRS Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website for more information on building in a bushfire prone area.
Superstruct Building Surveyors can provide AS3959 BAL reports and BAL certificates for building projects and developments in Perth and throughout Western Australia. Contact us directly for a quote.
Superstruct Building Surveyors conducts BAL assessments throughout the Perth metro area (where required) and across regional WA (state wide) completing assessments in the northern and southern regions of WA incl. Geraldton, Port Hedland, South Hedland, Broome, Kununurra, Karratha, Exmouth, Carnarvon, Shark Bay, Jurien Bay, Rottnest Island, Garden Island, Mandurah, York, Northam, Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Cowaramup, Margaret River, Albany, Esperance and Denmark.
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