According to latest statistics, it is estimated that nearly 1 million addresses in Australia are located less than 100 metres from bushland, putting them at the highest risk from bushfires. While many homes are lost in bushfires each year, the risk of losing your home to a bushfire isn’t just from the fire front itself, burning embers and airborne debris can cause damage and destruction kilometres away. So how can you tell if your home is at risk? And what precautions can you take with your doors and windows to help give your home the best chance of survival?
Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL): The 6 Levels of Severity
Australian Standard AS3959:2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas, describes six different degrees of bushfire risk, or “Bushfire Attack Levels” (BALs):
- BAL – LOW – There is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements
- BAL – 12.5 – Principally concerned with ember attack and radiant heat in wind conditions up to 12.5 Kw/m2 and where the site is less than 100m from the source
- BAL – 19 – Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kW m2
- BAL – 29 – Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kW m2
- BAL – 40 – Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux with the increased likelihood of exposure to flames
- BAL – FZ (FLAME ZONE) – Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack
Each state and territory across Australia have slight differences in how BALs are assessed so if you are unsure if you live in a bushfire prone area, or to determine your home’s BAL, it is best to contact your local council or fire authority.
Window & Door Requirements for Different BALs:
For each BAL, there are specific standards you need to meet in the construction of your home.
If you’re building or renovating a home in a BAL-LOW area, you do not need to comply with any specific construction requirements. However, for any homes located in areas with a bushfire risk of BAL-12.5 or higher, they must comply with AS3959:2009 with regards to design, construction, and materials and this includes the choice of windows and doors.
It’s imperative you install windows and doors that have been developed and tested to meet the requirements for whichever BAL zone you live in. Not all aluminium windows and aluminium doors are engineered, tested and certified to withstand the conditions likely to occur in a BAL-40 zone, so look for products that are certified to help protect your home yet still deliver style, efficiency and functionality for your lifestyle.
Want to Make Sure Your Windows and Doors Comply with Your BAL?
If you are building, renovating or simply wanting to update your windows and doors to ensure the ultimate protection, contact the team at Open Windows and Doors. With a large range of aluminium windows and doors, all designed with safety in mind, we can suggest stylish and functional options for your home that have been manufactured to meet the regulatory requirements for building in designated bush fire zones. Whether you are after sliding doors, hinged doors, awning windows or louvre windows you do not need to sacrifice style to ensure safety standards are met.
Open Windows and Doors are the trusted supplier and installer of premium aluminium windows and doors in Perth. Offering a complete range of architecturally-designed commercial and residential products including options suitable for bushfire prone areas, we are sure to have the door and window solutions you need for your home. Call us today on 1300 180 280, contact us online or drop into our conveniently located Canning Vale showroom.