Building in a Bushfire Prone Area
If you want to build in a bushfire prone area, there are a number of precautions you can take to help protect your home and maximise your safety, including:
- Choose an appropriate building site location
- Use suitable building materials
- Ensure the building is near an independent water resource
- Manage vegetation around the building
- Clear debris close to the building
New construction in bushfire areas is regulated by the Building Regulations or the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme. The Building Regulations identify Bushfire Prone Areas (BPAs) and the Planning Scheme applies Bushfire Management Overlays (BMOs).
- Bushfire Prone Areas (BPAs) are defined as areas that are subject to, or which are likely to be subject to, bushfires. The level of construction required to respond to the local bushfire hazard will be determined at the building permit stage.
- Bushfire Management Overlays (BMOs) apply to land that may be significantly affected by a bushfire. The BMO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain uses, such as developments and subdivision, and requires appropriate bushfire protection measures. Your private building surveyor may refer to bushfire management conditions applied to your planning permit in relation to your building permit. For more information, see Updates to the Bushfire Management Overlay.
Do I live in a Bushfire Area?
To check if your property is within a Bushfire Prone Area (BPA), you can apply for a Property Information Certificate or go to Bushfire Prone property search.
To check if your property is affected by the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), go to Planning Maps.
Construction Requirements for Building in a Bushfire Prone Area
To ensure that homes are built to a high degree of fire safety, every new home built in a bushfire prone area, including alterations and additions, must comply with the Australian Standard AS3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. The bushfire attack level (BAL) for your property will be assessed as part of the application for your building permit and will determine the construction methods that must be used.
The standard divides bushfire prone areas into six bushfire attack levels (BAL), based on the severity of the building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact:
- BAL – LOW
- BAL – 12.5
- BAL – 19
- BAL – 29
- BAL – 40
- BAL – FZ (Flame Zone)
For more information on building in a bushfire area, see the Victorian Building Authority's information on Living in a Bushfire Area.
For more information on Fire and Emergency within the Shire, see Fire & Emergency.