Development in bush fire prone areas

Is your property bush fire prone?

If you are located on bush fire prone land, you may need to submit additional information with your Development Application or Complying Development Certificate.

To find out if your property is located on bush fire prone land:

Building in a bush fire prone area

Specific construction standard apply in designated bush fire prone areas in NSW. These bush fire construction requirements are aimed at improving bush fire protection measures for residential buildings.

Minimum construction standards

All developments on bush fire prone land have a legal obligation to consider bush fires and meet the requirements of the NSW Rural Fire Service, Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006, Addendum Appendix 3 and the Australian Standard AS3959 Construction of Buildings in Bush Fire Prone Areas.

A Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) is a means of measuring the severity of a building's potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact. There are six BALs:

  1. BAL-LOW
  2. BAL-12.5
  3. BAL-19
  4. BAL-29
  5. BAL-40
  6. BAL-FZ (Flame Zone)

What to do if your property is in a bush fire prone area

You may need to submit additional information with your Development Application:

Exempt Development

A Development Application is not required as long as the development meets the standards of exemption provided under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. The policy will contain provisions relating to bush fire prone land, if applicable. Standards may include use of non-combustable materials or hardwood.

No additional information is required to be submitted to Council.

Complying Development

Complying development is not allowed on high-risk bush fire prone land, such as BAL-FZ or BAL-40. Complying Development on land with a Bush Fire Attack Level of BAL-29, BAL-19, BAL-12.5 or BAL-LOW will require a Bush Fire Attack Level Risk Assessment Certificate issued by Council or an accredited Bush Fire Consultant.

The certificate will state the Bush Fire Attack Level that applied to your property and the proposed development and must be included with your Complying Development application documentation.

Development Application

Applications for a new dwelling or alternations and additions to a property with an existing dwelling on bush fire prone land must include:

Integrated Development

Integrated Development, including subdivision of bush fire prone land and development that is a Special Fire Protection Purpose must be accompanied by a report from an accredited Bush Fire Consultant.

Where can you find an accredited Bush Fire Consultant

The NSW Rural Fire Service recognises consultants within the following accreditation schemes:

Referral to the NSW Rural Fire Service

The following development applications will be referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service for consideration as part of the assessment process:

Should you maintain the required bush fire construction levels from when your dwelling was constructed?

If your dwelling was approved by a development consent that required a certain level of construction, then you will be required to maintain the level of bush fire protection required by the development consent. Failure to do so could cause you home insurance to be invalid. If the development consent also required Asset Protection Zones (APZ), you must maintain the APZ in accordance with the NSW Rural Fire Service Standards for APZ.