Building in Bushfire Prone areas

Building in Bushfire Prone areas

Construction should use techniques and materials to maximise their resistance to bushfire.

Richmond Valley LGA has large areas maintained in their natural state, in the form of National Parks, nature reserves and privately owned undeveloped land. This natural state affords Richmond Valley a range of ecosystems, which support a diverse array of plants and animals, including many rare and endangered species. The fact that the vast areas of bush land prone to fire are located in close proximity to urban development creates management challenges for the community.

Proposed development needs to balance conservation of the natural environment and bushfire protection measures to reduce the risk of bushfire to life, property and the environment. Construction should use techniques and materials to maximise their resistance to bushfire.

Step 1 Identifying Bushfire Prone Land

Bushfire Prone Land is an area of land that can support a bushfire or is likely to be subject to bushfire attack. To determine if your property is located within a bushfire prone mapped area, simply click on the link to NSW Rural Fire Service, then click on NSW RFS Bush Fire Prone Land tool, accept the T&Cs, then enter the property address and if correct click Get Results.

Council’s Bushfire Prone Land Map (2015) can be downloaded as a PDF

Land that is located within an orange, yellow or red area of the map is bushfire prone land and therefore bushfire protection measures may be required depending on the type of vegetation formation, the slope under that vegetation and the horizontal distance from that vegetation.

All development applications that are located in bushfire prone areas for new commercial / industrial buildings, dwellings, alterations and additions and outbuildings located within ten metres of those buildings are required to comply with Planning for Bushfire Protection 2019 (PBP2019).  Proposal’s that do not comply with PBP2019 shall be referred to the Rural Fire Service(RFS) for comments.

Step 2 Calculating Bushfire Attack Level

The NSW RFS publication Single Dwelling Application Kit (SDAK) explains how to determine the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of your proposal. A Vegetation Classification Chart will also be required to fill in the BAL.

Completion and submission of a Bushfire Assessment Report located on page 22 of the SDAK is required to be lodge with your development application.

Step 3 Construction Certificate Documentation

When Richmond Valley Council is appointed as the Principal Certifying Authority i.e. undertake the critical stage inspections, the applicant /builder/ owner will be required to nominate how they are going to comply with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia in regard to AS3959 – 2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas. The Australian Standard has a number of different bushfire attack levels (BAL), being BAL 12.5, BAL 19, BAL 29 and BAL 40 depending on the situation. Each BAL has a number of different options available to achieve compliance.

Simply click on the appropriate BAL and fill in the template which will be used to identify the chosen method of construction or type of building element for the corresponding BAL. This will be required to be provided as part of the construction certificate application for this type of development.

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