In view of the devastation of recent Victorian bushfires, the Building Commission has suggested ways Victorians can better protect their homes from fires
The 2009 Victorian bushfires devastated 78 communities, with 400,000 hectares of land being destroyed and 173 lives lost. Over 2000 residential homes were lost in the fires, along with businesses, schools and other community buildings. The fires were unlike anything Victoria has ever experienced before, registering temperatures up to 1200 degrees Celsius. The bushfires have sparked immense re-evaluation of warning and prediction systems, as well as shelter design and construction. The Royal Commission’s recent reports have detailed great improvements to the way Victoria prepares for and responds to a major bushfire threat, proving that our community as a whole has learnt and will grow from the tragedy.
Building in Victoria after the bushfires
The Victorian Government’s new residential building standard came into effect in March 2009 and is based on the “Bushfire Attack Level” (BAL) of an area. The standard has been tweaked and refined to best protect those in bushfire-prone areas. In its comprehensive guides, the Building Commission outlines the new Australian Standard (AS 3959) and how it affects Victorians building in bushfire-prone areas. Specific construction materials and features are now required for the 20 per cent of Victorian homes that fall within a BAL higher than the benchmark “low” level.
The Building Commission’s building standard
Visit www.buildingcommission.com.au or phone 1300 360 320 to view the Victorian Building Standard and to find out which BAL your property falls into.