Building Law

Bushfire building laws and how to protect your home

We in Australia live with some extreme weather. Bushfires are a natural part of the land that most people living in bushland settings accept as a very real prospect. There is not really a completely fireproof house (ok, a bunker comes pretty close but who wants to live in one of those?), but there are a lot of measures that can be taken during construction or renovation to limit bushfire threat.

If you are building in high bushfire risk area, make sure you read the bushfire building regulations before starting work. Some states have brought in new laws that allows owners to clear a larger portion of vegetation from around their homes than normal. This is the so called 10/50 rule as it lets you clear trees and shrubs that grow within ten meters of the house, and other undergrowth that is within fifty meters of the dwelling. This is because it is vital to maintain a clear area around the house to reduce fuel. You’ll also want to make sure you have no overhanging trees or foliage around the house as this greatly increases you fire risk.

A fairly new system of rating a buildings bushfire risk is the BAL (Bushfire attack level) which is made up of six levels from “Low risk” to the disturbingly named “flame zone”. Depending on which category your building site falls under, determines the types of materials that should be used in any building or additions. For example, any doors or window in high risk areas generally need to use a high fire rated glass and fire retardant frames. If you are looking to install new door hardware or windows, Brio offer a large range of quality sliding doors that can be made fire compliant yet still retain effortless elegance. Brio’s door hardware can stand the test of time and allow homes to be fully secure when needed yet open and light filled.

In general you will need to factor in extra costs if you building in a high risk zone, but don’t let this stop you from designing a great house. Sometimes these limitations can actually lead to even better architecture!