Graphic of home with working: THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING YOUR HOME IN A BUSHFIRE ZONE

As the population continues to rise in cities and metropolitan areas, more homes are emerging. This has since caused many people to build their dream houses far away from these locations and move to spaces that are close to nature.

But, while these areas offer tons of benefits, there are also underlying risks. These include the threats of bushfires, which have impacts on the overall designs and structures of a home.

Planning to do the same? This post may help you out.

All About The Bushfire-Prone Area

Bushfire-Prone Areas are the locations or spaces that are “subject to or likely to be subject to bushfires.” The designation varies, though, depending on the country, state, or region, as well as the laws and regulations.

Properties in these areas follow certain standards and measures, especially during construction and building. These are in place to enhance the protection against potential bushfires.

So, if you are planning to build a home or construct a building in these locations, you will need to consider some factors first.

Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Ratings

Bushfire Attack Level ratings are a way to measure the severity of the property or location’s potential exposure to such events. These include ember attacks, radiant heat, and direct contact with flame.

In Australia, where bushfires are apparent, there are six BAL levels:

  • BAL-LOW: Very Low Risk
  • BAL-12.5: Low Risk
  • BAL-19: Moderate Risk
  • BAL-29: High Risk
  • BAL-40: Very High Risk
  • BAL-FZ: Extreme Risk or Flame Zone

For homebuyers and potential property buyers, checking the BAL rating is essential. Tools like cash for homes and other platforms may help individuals to determine the assessed rating in the area.

But, if you are intending to know the rating of a property on the first assessment, you will need to consult with a Building Inspector or a Bushfire Consultant.

Things You Should Know and Consider

Already decided to build a home in a Bushfire-Prone Area?

Here are some of the things that you will need to consider. Take time to ponder on these things because these involve your security and safety:

  • Determine The BAL Rating

The first thing that you will need to do is to determine the BAL rating. This is because the overall project will depend on this matter.

You will know which materials to use, as well as the potential target budget, once you learn the BAL rating of the area or property. Hence, if you are already decided to move forward with your home-building plans, make sure to do this primarily on top of all things.

  • Bushfire Protection Planning

Before you make a plan, though, ensure to check the official Planning for Bushfire Protection (PBP) document. This piece contains all the requirements and standards that building projects and developments need to meet.

Upon reading, you can then set your own timeline, as well as other plans for the project.

  • Development Approval

Alongside checking the PBP document, you have to check with your local council regarding the logistics. They have a checklist of all the documents required or needed to pass for a “development application.” You can only proceed with the construction project once you obtain the development approval.

The approval period may take some time, though. This is because the heads may ask you and your builders some questions.

  • Budget, Insurance For Bushfire-Resistant Homes

Another thing that you need to consider is the finances, as well as the insurance. Keep in mind that additional costs are more apparent if building a property in areas with much higher BAL ratings.

As for the insurance, you will notice that fire coverage is a standard in most policies, if not all. Nevertheless, you should be keen on the details when getting a policy.

Materials and Costs When Building In A Bushfire Zone

The materials that will be needed in this case should pass all the parameters set by the regulations. As noted, there are specific guidelines that outline the materials for bushfire-prone areas.

These requirements vary, however, depending on several variables. Among all, it is the BAL rating that will serve as the key determining factor.

As for the costs, it varies, as well, depending on the bushfire attack level ratings. Expect that the price will increase for projects in areas with high BAL ratings.

Final Thoughts

These are only some of the things that you will need to take time to consider when you are planning to build a home in a Bushfire-Prone Area. This will give you an idea regarding the scopes, and even the entirety of the desired project.

Despite this, though, you still need to ensure that you will cover every aspect of the matter. Hence, it is only wise, practical, sensible to consult with the experts, alongside the key individuals who are working in the field or area of the industry.

by Matt Guenther

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