On Monday 7 December 2015, the State Government introduced new requirements for people intending to build in designated bushfire prone areas, including the need to assess a property’s bushfire risk. Those areas designated as bushfire prone have been indicated by the State Government Department of Fire and Emergency Services and can be seen on the Department's website below.
The reforms include the need to undertake a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment before commencing development in these bushfire prone areas. Depending on the outcome of the BAL assessment additional construction measures may be required to limit the impact of bushfires on property.
The bushfire reforms only apply to new building and development in bushfire prone areas. They are not retrospective so will not affect existing buildings or approved development. The bushfire planning reforms include State Planning Policy 3.7: Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.
To determine if you are in a bushfire prone area, the map of bush fire prone areas is available by clicking below.
If you are building a house in a bushfire prone area from the 8 April 2016 you will need to undertake a BAL assessment and this must be submitted with the building permit application. If you are proposing a single house or ancillary dwelling in an area of extreme bushfire risk (i.e. BAL-40 or BAL-FZ) you will also need to obtain development (planning) approval if the lot is greater than 1,100m2. If the lot is under 1,100m2, you will only need a building permit.
The Bushfire mangement plan/Statement addressing the Bushfire Protection Criteria coversheet is to assist the referral process from the WAPC/Department of Planning to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES). The coversheet must be attached when a Bushfire Management Plan/Statement is submitted for a planning proposal to the WAPC for determination.
The coversheet can be downloaded from the Department of Planning's website, http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/7963.asp
It is strongly recommended that you view the information on the Department of Planning's website below which includes a series of fact sheets that will provide more detailed information on the reforms and how they may affect any development you may be considering.
Relevant contacts in relation to each element of the reform work being undertaken are listed below should you wish to seek further information.
Planning Policy Framework and LPS Amendment Regulations:
Department of Planning
Gordon Stephenson House
140 William Street
Perth WA 6000
Ph: (08) 6551 9000
Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas:
Office of Bushfire Risk Management
Emergency Services Complex
20 Stockton Bend
Cockburn Central WA 6164
Ph (08) 9395 9538
Building Regulations and application of AS 3959 building construction standards:
Mason Bird Building
303 Sevenoaks Street
Cannington WA 6107
Ph: 1300 48 90 99