The State Planning Policy (SPP 3.7), the Guidelines for planning in bushfire prone region and the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 Part 10A – Bushfire risk management (deemed provisions) is a package of reforms introduced in 2015 to safeguard lives, property and infrastructure from the threat and impact of bushfire. In order to ensure this, in April 2016, it became mandatory for all developments captured by a local planning scheme within a bushfire prone region to conduct a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment and the construction is to comply with bushfire construction as per the AS3959.

In the developmental application phase, certain proposals can be exempted from a bushfire attack level (BAL) and the requirements of the SPP 3.7 and the deemed provisions. This applies to infrastructure as well as alterations, additions, extensions, improvement/repair of building and additional class 10 buildings. The proposal is exempt if:

  • Single house and ancillary dwellings if the lot size is under 1100 square meter (not inclusive of multiple dwellings)
  • There is no intensification of land use in the proposal
  • It does not result in an increase of residents/employees on site
  • Does not involve the occupation of employees on site for an extended period of time.
  • Does not increase the bushfire threat of the existing building

The build will still have to comply with bushfire construction requirements as per the BCA or AS3959 regardless of being exempt of the requirements of the SPP 3.7 and the deemed provision.

If you are proposing a development or a subdivision, before you authorise a BPAD accredited bushfire attack level (BAL) assessor to complete a bushfire attack level (BAL) Assessment for your development, you can check with your local planning government or the WAPC if you require it to be submitted with your developmental application.

However, even if your development is exempt, if you are located in a bushfire prone region, you may still require a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment for the building process (unless excluded). If such is the case, it is advisable to conduct the assessment at the planning stage rather than building so you can tailor your building design to aim for reduction of the bushfire attack level (BAL) rating for your development or subdivision.