What in hell is a BAL (assessment)?

With parts of Victoria and NSW currently in flames and parts of Queensland under water it can only be summer time in Australia. The fire season sadly always finds people poorly prepared to face the significant dangers created by  a bushfire. Part of the approach to new home construction is a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment.

Bushfire attack levels

The BAL assessment looks at four significant criteria and measures how vunerable the home will be to bushfire attack. The designer will then include various measures into the fabric of the building which are appropriate to the threat.

Low danger will mean designing the building to resist  ember attack whilst high danger will mean designing the building to resist full exposure to the fire front.

A BAL assessment will look the following criteria;

  • Fire danger index
  • Classification of nearby vegetation
  • Distance to that vegaetation
  • Slope of the land

The end result of the BAL assessment is  a BAL rating which will then dictate how the building needs to be protected.

Some local councils are now also declaring certain areas to fall with bushfire management overlays (BMO) Areas included in the BMO are areas that have the highest fire risk and are likely to be particularly exposed to the impact of bushfire. These BMO’s can also dictate the BAL appropriate to the areas. These overlays do not just occur in rural areas but can be found in a lot of built up municipalities. A BMO requires a property owner to show they meet the requirements of defendable space before obtaining a town planning permit.

 

 

Category(s): By Marcus, It's easy if you know how, technical matters
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