Are you affected by new bushfire requirements?
Every person who is looking to build a new home is now required to have
After the devastating bushfires in Victoria in February 2009, new laws have been introduced which mean that every new building has to have a bushfire assessment. The large loss of homes and lives provoked a stringent look at the bushfire regulations with regard to building new homes and new legislation was introduced in April 2009.
General Manager of Glen Loddon Homes, Chris Ryan, says although these new regulations were always going to be implemented, the tragic events of Black Saturday has fast-tracked building requirements to encapsulate every new build. "Every new house built has a BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) assigned to it which can range from BAL LOW to BAL FZ – may be a number of levels, but every house and block is different so making the assessment can be complex."
Chris, who carries out preliminary assessments for Glen Loddon Homes’ clients, says although anyone can make a BAL assessment on a property, it is worth engaging an expert to carry it out. "To get plans permitted, a correct bushfire assessment is needed. If council believes that an assessment is not accurate, it will send someone to check that the photos and information that have been submitted are correct."
This can cause delays, says Chris. "We will do preliminary assessments for people before they commit to buying a block so they will know what costs are associated with the BAL assigned to their proposed house site and block." Depending on what BAL is assigned to your new home, the additional costs can vary dramatically. If it is assessed as a BAL LOW, your costs are nil, due to no modifications having to be made to the build. However, from BAL 12.5 and above, the requirements affect most areas of the home, for example, roofs, windows, external walls, flooring, doors, garages and ceilings.
Chris says that some of the additions that are required include insulation above the sarking, aluminium flyscreens on windows, weep holes being filled, to the more extreme toughened glass, to windows and even bushfire shutters. "Every build is different and it is definitely assessed on a job-by-job basis. The costs could be as low as $1,000 or much higher." BALs are assessed on the degree of slope of the block, its distance to bush or trees and whether the house is at the bottom or top of the stand of trees.
Chris advises getting a bushfire assessment conducted before committing to purchasing a block. "Unless you know the bushfire build requirements well, the cost of additions to your home could be more than you budgeted for." The team at Glen Loddon Homes will assist you with all of your bushfire requirements and are more than happy to answer any of your questions.
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