Thanks to our hot, dry, drought-prone climate, many Australians live in areas that are prone to bushfire.
And with the increasingly extreme weather conditions of the past few years, severe bushfires have become an all too familiar Australian summer experience.
Importantly, the risk of losing your home to a bushfire isn’t just from the fire front itself. Many homes are damaged or destroyed because of burning embers and airborne debris. So any precaution you take to defend your home needs to consider this scenario too.
AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRE BUILDING STANDARDS
In 2009-2010, the Australian Standard for building in bushfire-prone areas was updated.
The standard, AS3959, aims to reduce the risk of loss of life and property in areas with a higher risk of bushfire.
According to AS3959, if you build or renovate a home in a bushfire-prone area, it must meet specific bushfire ratings in terms of design, construction, and materials. These requirements include your choice of windows and doors. By achieving this standard, your home will have a higher chance of making it through a bushfire unscathed.
BUSHFIRE ATTACK LEVELS
AS3959 describes six different degrees of bushfire risk, or “Bushfire Attack Levels” (BALs).
They range from BAL-LOW, which is very low risk, through to BAL-FZ, which indicates an extremely high risk of ember attack, airborne burning debris, radiant heat exposure, and direct flame exposure. For each BAL, there are specific standards you need to meet in the construction of your home.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
If the home you’re building or renovating is located in a BAL-LOW area, you do not need to comply with any specific construction requirements.
However, homes located in areas with a bushfire risk of BAL-12.5 or higher must comply with AS3959. Your specific BAL will determine the level of defence you’re required to have. This requirement ranges from protecting against embers to defending against direct flame.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORS
If you’re constructing or renovating a home in a bushfire-prone area, your windows and doors must comply with AS3959.
To help you meet these requirements, we developed the FlameShield range of bushfire rated windows and doors. Our FlameShield products comply with BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, and BAL-40. The range includes the following products:
Because the vast majority of the FlameShield range is compliant up to BAL-40, you can be confident that it provides superior bushfire protection. That means that when you use a FlameShield window or door, you’ll not only comply with the Australian Standard – you’ll also enjoy greater peace of mind.
DEFENDING YOUR HOME
Your home’s building materials are a crucial factor in protecting against bushfires.
However, they’re not the only defence you need. In addition to building to meet the Australian Standard, you should defend your home in other ways. Including managing the vegetation on your property, regularly clearing away potentially-flammable debris, and ensure access to water sources, to name a few.
It’s also important to remember that even if you take all the necessary precautions, there’s no guarantee your home will be safe. But with bushfire rated windows and doors that comply with the Australian Standard, you’re well on your way to giving your home its best possible chance.