Building in designated bush fire prone areas
In Western Australia, building work is required to comply with the performance requirements of the Building Code of Australia (the Building Code), which comprises Volumes One and Two of the National Construction Code Series.
The Building Code contains specific bush fire construction requirements for certain residential buildings in designated bush fire prone areas that aim to reduce the risk of ignition from a bush fire.
Areas identified on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas trigger these requirements.
To find out more, click on the following link:
Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas
The Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas (the Map) identifies land designated bush fire prone by the Fire and Emergency Services (FES) Commissioner.
The Map has been developed by the Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM) and is available to view on from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ (DFES) website. The Map is updated annually.
Certain buildings that are located in bush fire prone areas may require a further assessment of the bush fire risk and additional bush fire resistant construction to comply with the requirements of the building legislation.
Please note: The Building Regulations 2012 provide a four month transition period from the date of a FES Commissioner order designating a new area as bush fire prone before the bush fire construction requirements of the BCA are triggered for certain residential buildings. This four month transition period does not apply to existing designated bush fire prone areas.
Construction in bush fire prone areas – previous information sessions
In 2015, the department undertook a series of regional roadshows, south west and metropolitan “construction in bush fire prone areas” seminars to provide builders, building surveyors, permit authorities and the industry an opportunity to hear and engage with presenters regarding the bush fire reforms. The presentations covered:
- an overview of building and planning bush fire reform;
- amendments to the Building Regulations in relation to building approvals;
- Steps on the general bushfire requirements for a single house; and
- construction requirements of AS3959.
A version of the presentation slides is available below for general guidance. Please note the slides are not comprehensive and should not be relied on for compliance purposes. You should always refer to the relevant legislation and standards.
Roof-mounted evaporative coolers
New roof-mounted evaporative coolers being installed on residential buildings that are located in a designated bush fire prone area. The unit must comply with Australian Standard AS 3959:2018 (Incorporating Amendment 1) – Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas (AS 3959).
Transitional bush fire application to modify or not apply a bush fire building standard
The Building Regulations 2012 were amended on 8 February 2017 to introduce a transitional process for making streamlined applications under section 39 of the Building Act 2011 for seeking a declaration from the Building Commissioner for the non-application or modification of a bushfire building standard.
The Building Commissioner can only make a declaration when satisfied that the declaration would not increase the risk to people, property or the environment and that making the declaration is:
- in the public interest; or
- consistent with the purpose of any other written law or Commonwealth law.
See the following for further information:
- Guidance note – Section 39 transitional bush fire application to modify or not apply a bush fire building standard
- Guidance note – Guide for Level 3 Bushfire Planning Practitioner – Performance: Transitional bush fire application
- Form BA24A – Application for modification or non-application of a bush fire building standard
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