Building in Bushfire Prone Areas

Building in Bushfire Prone Areas

BAL

On the 31st of July the State Government introduced changes to the bushfire planning regulations to give greater certainty to landowners in bushfire prone areas.

The key changes include:

  • Greater certainty to build, extend or replace a dwelling in land that has a residentially focused zoning (including Township Zone and Rural Living Zone).
  • The assessment of the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is now consistent with the Australian Standard.
  • Permit exemptions, making it easier to obtain permission for constructing a shed or outbuilding.
  • Giving landowners’ choice as to much defendable space they wish to provide, i.e. how much land to clear.  Creating the defendable space does not require a separate planning permit nor is there a requirement to pay for a vegetation removal offset.
  • Neighbouring land may now be included as defendable space, where there is reasonable assurance that the land will be appropriately managed.
  • Vegetation clearance rules for creating and managing defendable spaces around existing homes continues to apply.
  • Landowners may now choose to include a private bushfire shelter on their land as part of their bushfire protection measures.  They will be able to build at a lower BAL rating if they have an appropriate shelter.
  • New master-planned estates that incorporate bushfire protection buffers means individual landowners will not need to build to a higher bushfire construction standard.

What do the changes mean?

  • Greater flexibility in how a dwelling may be built.  For example, you could clear more defendable space or include a bushfire shelter so that the BAL requirement for the dwelling is lowered.

The State Government has founded an assistance fund to support individuals with their planning application and also to provide assistance to local councils.

For more information, you can visit this page.

Please contact me if you would like to talk in detail about these changes and how they affect you.