What is AS3959?

AS3959 is the Australian Standard on Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings and the requirements needed to reach the level of construction tolerated in these areas. It’s primarily concern is improving buildings which lie in bushfire prone areas. The standards have been created to better protect building occupants as well as the building itself. The goal of the Standard is to improve construction and therefore better equip a building to withstand the effects from bushfire.

Property owners should be aware that this Standard is part of a process that aims to lessen the risk of damage to any assets in the case of a bushfire emergency. They should also be aware that these Standards are the result of ongoing research into the effects of bushfires on buildings. The outcome of this ongoing research may be reflected in subsequent editions of this Standard.

The standard goes through all requirements involved in all Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings, from a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of BAL-LOW to a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of BAL-FZ. Even though this standard does supply construction requirements for Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating of BAL-40 and BAL-FZ some councils or authorities, with jurisdiction, may consider this to be too much of a risk and either not recommended or not permit development.

It is always important to remember that with all Australian Standards and codes, the regulations are in place so that the benefits to society outweigh the cost to the individual. These codes, sourced from years of research into bushfire, are in place to maintain the safety of all involved. Even though the Standard cannot guarantee that a building will survive a bushfire event, because of the unpredictability of bushfire, it prepares a building to be able to sustain an attack.

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