If your land is within a bushfire prone area, you will be required to obtain a bushfire report to accompany your Development Application (DA). This is the principal document that assesses all aspects of design and construction in bushfire prone areas. BEMC are able to provide bushfire reports in Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley, the Mid North Coast and the Central Coast.
Our bushfire assessment reports satisfy the requirements within Appendix 1 of Planning for Bushfire Protection and with section 4.14 and 4.15 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 and where required s100B of the Rural Fires Regulation 2013. BEMC implements FPAA ‘Practise Notes’ and the various Australian Standards including AS3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas to provide industry best practices. The report is presented in a way that will assist the local council development assessment officer and the rural fire service to determine compliance and relevant the consent condition. We implement both Method 1 and Method 2 assessment pathways.
Your report will incorporate a site inspection and will include:
When planning a development, one of the issues that you will need to take into consideration is the level of bushfire risk the proposed development will face. There is a standard index that is used to measure bush fire risk, known as the Bushfire Attack Level. Properties are allocated a score, based on factors such as how close the property will be to vegetation, the type of vegetation, the gradient of the vegetation and the probability of a bush fire starting.
If the score of your BAL assessment (which needs to be carried out by a suitably experienced professional), is more than 40, the proposed development is deemed to be at high risk of being affected during a bush fire. In these circumstances, the proposed building would be deemed “non-compliant”. If the BAL score is below 40, the development will be deemed compliant and a Complying Development Certificate can be issued by the professional who completed your BAL assessment. This can then be submitted along with your other planning documentation.
When a proposed development is deemed “non-compliant”, it’s recommended that a Bush Fire Assessment Report is commissioned. The Bush Fire Assessment Report is created by a suitably qualified professional and gives details of what the main risks are to the development from bush fire and what measures can be taken to manage these risks. Management options may include using fire-proof materials or using specific safety measures when it comes to utility installations. The Assessment Report is submitted alongside the BAL report, providing planners with a clear picture of how bushfire risk is to be effectively managed.
All developments within bushfire prone lands require assessment. This includes occupied and non-occupied dwellings.
There are two principal pathways for residential developments – complying and non-complying developments. There are several factors that determine if your development is either complying or non-complying. The main factors are the distance, type of vegetation and slope of the bush that impacts on your property. A Preconstruction Constraints Assessment provides you with this information. A Bushfire Due Diligence Report goes a step further and provides you with the Bushfire Mitigation Measures requirements for the development to confirm with planning requirements.
Once you have determined if your development is complying or non-complying, you will ultimately require either a Complying Development Certificate for complying developments or a Bushfire Assessment Report for non-complying developments to be submitted to the consenting authority.
Both above assessments must be issued by an accredited bushfire consultant. There are a whole range of reasons why a CDC might not be able to be issued for the land. If this happens, you’ll require a Bushfire Assessment Report. In many cases, clients opt directly for the Bushfire Assessment Report to ensure all bushfire compliance, risks and mitigation are covered within the development process.
Before your Bushfire Assessment Report can be completed, you’ll need to provide a detailed Bushfire Attack Level assessment that details how the final BAL score was arrived at. This gives the professional completing the Bushfire Assessment Report the information they need to recommend preventative measures that are tailored to the specific risks the proposed development is exposed to.
The time taken includes the time for the assessor to complete the assessment on-site, as well as write up their findings in an approved format. On average, we take between two to four weeks to complete a comprehensive Bushfire Assessment Report.
There is no legal reason why you can’t do a BAL assessment yourself. That said, completing an assessment accurately is a rigorous technical exercise. You will need the right equipment to accurately measure gradient, distance and area. You will also need to accurately identify the vegetation surrounding your site. Importantly, you will need to be able to show exactly how you arrived at your score.
In most cases, you’ll get a far better result (that will stand an increased chance of being accepted by the development assessors) if you hire a professional to complete the work.
No. If you’re able to bring down the risk of the development through an appropriate choice of materials, building methods and other management strategies, you may still be able to complete your development in an area that’s at high risk of bushfires.