FAQ
  1. Is my development in a bushfire prone area?
  2. Why do I need to submit a Bushfire Threat Assessment with my Development Application?
  3. How much will a Bushfire Threat Assessment cost?
  4. What is an APZ?
  5. What is Bush Fire Attack Level BAL?
  6. Acronyms you may hear people using but you are embarrassed to ask!


1.   Is my development in a bushfire prone area?
 

Bushfire mapping is available for all local council areas.  Typically maps will show individual blocks and the street layout.  This is overlaid with the bushland which is coloured orange and yellow.  The red band around the perimeter is the ‘buffer zone’  This zone is 100m wide.  If your development or land is covered by any of the coloured overlay then you are obligated to submit a Bushfire threat assessment with your development application.

The following links will show you if you are in a bushfire prone area.  Choose the link for your council area.  Please contact Bushfire Consultant Pty Ltd if you are unsure.


Cessnock City Council

Dungog Shire Council

Gosford City Council

Lake Macquarie City Council

Maitland City Council (must use Internet Explorer 5.5 or later)

Newcastle City Council

Port Stephens Council

Wyong Shire Council

  
2.   Why do I need to submit a Bushfire Threat Assessment with my Development Application?
 

If your development proposal is captured by the Bushfire Prone Land Map published by your Council, you are obligated to submit a Bushfire Threat Assessment as part of the Statement of Environmental Effects.  The assessment enables your council to determine if the development complies with Planning for Bushfire Protection 2006 and AS3959-2009 Construction Of Buildings In Bushfire Prone Areas.  This is a legislated requirement for both you, as the proponent and the council as the consent authority.  The Bushfire Threat Assessment will also determine the appropriate construction levels to give the development the best chance of survival in the event of a bushfire.

  
3.   How much will a Bushfire Threat Assessment cost?
 

Pricing for a Bushfire Threat Assessment can vary depending on a number of factors.  Different types of development e.g. subdivision, a new building, an addition to an existing structure or a change of property use, all require a Development Application if they are in a Bushfire Prone Area.  The complexity of a proposal, in terms of both the design and the environment in which it will be developed, varies from one development to another.  Consequently we cannot offer firm pricing without an onsite consultation.
Please contact us for further information and advice regarding the cost of a report.

 

  
4.   What is an APZ?
 

This is an acronym you will hear quite a bit.  It is short for Asset Protection Zone.  This is the distance of separation from the bushland to your proposal.  It should consist of a cleared area i.e. managed lawns and gardens.  The greater the APZ (separation distance) the lower the BAL rating required for the development.


The APZ must exist entirely on your own land (some exemptions are allowed for adjacent managed lands e.g. golf courses, parks and roads etc.)  Generally you cannot clear or alter the vegetation on land you do not own.  Gaining written permission to clear from your neighbour is NOT accepted by the RFS as a valid APZ, as this permission can be withdrawn at any time.  The RFS will accept the establishment of an easement under Sect. 88B of the Conveyancing Act 1919.  This solution can be costly and involve complex negotiations with neighbours.

 

  
5.   What is Bush Fire Attack Level BAL?
 

BAL is an acronym for Bushfire Attack Level. This is the accepted method of quantifying the level of exposure that a development may experience during the passage of an extreme bushfire. Determining the BAL ensures that development is undertaken in such a way that risk to people and property is minimised. It is used to determine the appropriate level of construction required, relative to the potential bush fire attack. Australian Standard 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bush fire prone areas sets out the minimum construction requirements for each of the categories of bush fire attack.

BAL-LOW: Minimal attack from radiant heat and flame, although some attack by burning debris is possible. There is insufficient threat to warrant fire resistant products, however basic property preparation is still advised.  

BAL-12.5: Low levels of radiant heat but attack by burning debris is significant. The radiant heat is less likely to threaten building elements.  However fire and debris protection products are warranted (Level 1 construction standards).

BAL-19: Significant attack from burning debris, radiant heat levels can threaten buildings. Specific fire protection construction methods and products are warranted.

BAL-29: Significant attack from burning debris, radiant heat levels can threaten buildings and some flame contact is possible. Specific fire protection construction products are warranted.

BAL-40: Extreme radiant heat, increased attack from burning debris and potential flame contact, which can all threaten building integrity. All buildings must be designed and constructed with specific fire protection materials that can withstand extreme radiant heat and potential flame contact.

Flame Zone: Radiant heat levels will exceed 40kW/m2 and will significantly threaten building integrity and residential safety.  Flame Zone areas exceed the scope of the Building Code of Australia. Applicants are recommended to take protection measures in order to make bushfire prone lands safer and comply with BAL criteria. Protection measures that would be required include drenching systems and radiant heat barriers.

 

  
6.   Acronyms you may hear people using but you are embarrassed to ask!
 

APZ                        Asset Protection Zone

BAL                        Bushfire Attack Level

CDC                       Complying Development Certificate

DA                          Development Application

DCP                        Development Control Plan

FDI                          Fire Danger Index

LEP                         Local Environment Plan

PBP                        Planning for Bushfire Protection 2006

RFS                        Rural Fire Service

VEG                        Vegetation