Development in a bushfire prone area
Building in a bush fire prone area
Specific construction standards apply in designated bush fire prone areas in New South Wales. These bush fire construction requirements are aimed at improving bush fire protection measures for residential buildings.
Is your proposed or existing home located upon bush fire prone land?
Our Property Enquiry tool will help you see if your property is located on bush fire prone land. Alternatively, you can refer to the Lake Macquarie Bush Fire Prone Land Map.
Minimum construction standards
All developments on bush fire prone have a legal obligation to consider bush fires and meet the requirements of NSW Rural Fire Service, the Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006, Addendum Appendix 3 and Australian Standard AS3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.
A Bushfire Attack Level or BAL is a means of measuring the severity of a building's potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact. There are six Bushfire Attack Levels:
- BAL-FZ (Flame Zone)
What to do if your property is in a bush fire prone area
You may need to submit additional information with your development application.
A development application is not required as long as the development meets the standards of exemption provided under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. The policy will contain provisions relating to bushfire prone land, if applicable. Standards may include use of non-combustible materials or hardwood.
No additional information is required to be submitted to Council.
Complying development is not allowed on high risk bush fire prone land such as BAL-FZ or BAL-40. Complying development on land with a Bush Fire Attack Level of BAL-29, BAL-19, BAL-12.5 or BAL-LOW will require a Bushfire Attack Level Risk Assessment Certificate issued by Council or an accredited Bushfire Consultant.
The certificate will state the Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) that applies to your property and the proposed development, and should be included with your application.
Applications for a new dwelling or alterations and additions to a property with an existing dwelling on bushfire prone land are to include:
- self-assessment using the NSW RFS Single Dwelling Application Kit, or
- Bush Fire Attack Level Risk Assessment Certificate, or
- report from an Accredited Bush Fire Consultant
Integrated development, including the subdivision of bush fire prone land and development that is a Special Fire Protection Purpose must be accompanied by a report from an accredited bush fire consultant.
Where can you find an accredited Bushfire Consultant
The NSW Rural Fire Service recognises consultants within the following accreditation schemes:
- Fire Protection Association Australia, Bush Fire Planning & Design – A and D Certified Practitioners
Referral to the NSW Rural Fire Service
The following development applications will be referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service for consideration as part of the assessment process:
- land that is Bush Fire Attack Levels BAL-40 and BAL-FZ (Flame Zone)
- applications that do not meet specific performance criteria in Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and rely on variations to acceptable solutions
- integrated development
Should you maintain the required bush fire construction levels when your dwelling was constructed?
If your dwelling was approved by a development consent, which required a certain level of construction, then you will be required to maintain the level of bush fire protection required by the development consent. Failure to do so, could cause your home insurance to be invalid. If the development consent also required Asset Protection Zones (APZ), you must maintain the APZ in accordance with the NSW Rural Fire Service Standards for Asset Protection Zones.
Page last updated: 09 April 2018