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The BAL Rating Explained – Bushfires

The BAL Rating Explained

Australia among other tropical countries have always had a love/hate relationship with bushfires. Throughout the warmer months of the year, residents located in the northern part of the country experience a tropical climate. Bushfire incidents highly occur during dry seasons, causing property damage and even loss of human life at its worst.

Bushfire have become such a common feature of the country’s natural history that it would feel wide of the mark somehow if they suddenly stopped. Many plants will not propagate without bushfires, however people and animals in the vicinity are endangered by them. This is one aspect of the Australian way of life that has to be addressed seriously and prepared for.

Importance of BAL Assessments

People who live in areas vulnerable to bushfires, and who plan to construct a new property, make updates to a current home or build extensions, should speak to a Bushfire consultant. These professionals prepare bushfire attack levels, which are a requirement for any property in an allocated bushfire zone(as indicated in the official bushfire map).

Bushfire Assessment Exemption

You are likely to be exempted and need not BAL Report for planning if you are building a single house on a lot/s less than 1,100m2. However, the building permit approval process can still require a BAL assessment in limited cases. You need to contact your local government for further information on building permits. You will also not need to undertake a BAL assessment if you are in a zone where a local planning scheme doesn’t apply then.

Evaluating the Risk of Bushfires

Lots of advancements have been made in protection methods, in the event of bushfires – from home escape strategies, to technological innovations in firefighting procedures and, lately since severe fires have occurred, house design.


The AS 3959 has been developed by Australian Standards, and with that, a method that gauges your BAL (Bushfire Attack Level). The BAL allows building industry products to be ranked, based on their bushfire resistance. Your property is evaluated, with regards to its’ surrounding vegetation, topography, and distance from a proposed structure to any vegetation.

There are five different exposure categories with the BAL rating.

These range from the smallest risk of 12.5 BAL/LOW (extremely small risk), to the highest risk of BAL/FZ (severe risk — Fire Zone):

BAL/12.5 — Small risk

BAL/19 — Mild risk

BAL/29 — Big risk

BAL/40 — Extremely big risk

BAL/FZ — Severe risk (Fire Zone)

Risk is evaluated by examining the proximity and kind of vegetation, as well as the land slope that your house resides on. The BAL rating you are given is used to choose building products. These products will have a rating, based on the same information – providing protection for the right degree of fire risk.

If you own a home that is in a bushfire zone, it is inevitable that your property will have to comply with one of the five BAL level requirements.

These levels are the predicted quantity of heat which will affect the proposed construction, if a bushfire was to occur. They are expressed in values of Flame Zone, forty, twenty-nine, nineteen, 12.5 or Low.


Author Bio:

Hope this article give you more in-depth information about BAL Rating.

 Jonalyn Zehcnas loves to write informative, helpful articles on behalf of Australian Businesses. She has written for a number of high profile publications in the construction and technology industries. She loves identifying current trends and providing them to readers in a clear and concise manner.

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