When building and renovating, consideration needs to be taken in regard to bushfires and specifically to BAL Ratings. BAL Ratings are determined by the bushfire zone your property sits in and outlines specific conditions you must adhere to when choosing building materials for your home.
In response to devastating bushfires in Victoria in 2009, Australian Standard 3959 was updated and republished AS3959:2009. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) referenced the new Standard on the 1st May 2010.
The BCA and amended AS3959 cover all aspects of the external built environment, including windows and doors. AS3959 outlines different construction practices and building materials for five bushfire hazard levels. The old standard had 4 levels of bushfire attack, the new Standard has 6 levels of severity expressed as Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs).
Six Levels of Bushfire Attack
There are six BAL categories ranging from low risk to extreme flame zone as shown below:
BAL - LOW
There is insufficient risk to warrant any specific construction requirements but there is still some risk
BAL - 12.5
BAL - 19
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kilowatts m2
BAL - 29
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kilowatts m2
BAL - 40
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux with increased likelihood of exposure to flames
BAL - FZ (FLAME ZONE)
Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack
Click one of the links below to see the BAL Ratings of the Southern Star Aluminium or Canterbury Timber product ranges:
Aluminium BAL Ratings
Timber BAL Ratings
To determine your home’s BAL rating and any special requirements for building in your area, consult your local council, government or local fire authority.