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Bushfires? What do I need to do to keep my house safe?

With the current dry, hot weather and unseasonably early start to the Bushfire season, you might be thinking, what can I do to make sure my new modular home is bushfire safe? Our hearts go out to anyone who has been affected by these terrible events!

So, how to keep your new home safe, especially if your building on a rural acreage anywhere near a forest or wooded area. Great questions – read on to find out the main points you need to consider ensuring your new home is completely safe!

Find out if your land is bushfire prone

The first step to take is to determine if the location of the property you’ve bought or are considering is in a bushfire prone area. Determining this critical information about the type of bushfire threat to your land will determine the type of construction and approvals, you will need to get from the building certifier or council.

What is bushfire prone land?

As the name suggests – bushfire prone land is land that is prone or susceptible to bushfires and can include sites that are close to or within forests or heavily wooded areas. Your local council, the rural fire brigade and the state government all work together to decide which areas are the most susceptible to bushfire and the risks involved.

How to find out if my land is bushfire prone?

The simplest, quickest and easiest way to determine if your land is bushfire prone is to get in contact with your local council. Quite often, your local authority will also have online mapping on their websites which enables you to search for your address and check the relevant overlays.

If you’re in NSW, you can also use this helpful tool provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service

3 x key Bushfire Attack Level Factors

The second step to ensuring your home is safe to set up your home right. If the location of your new home site is on bushfire prone land, then it critical that you take this into consideration as early in the planning stage as possible. Let’s consider the key factors that go into deciding what level of bushfire attack (BAL) for a home.

Proximity to vegetation

The proximity of vegetation to your new home is one of the main factors that a bushfire consultant will look at when determining the correct BAL rating for your home. The further the vegetation is away from your home, the lower the BAL rating.

The type of vegetation

One of the other factors we need to look at is the type of vegetation that surrounds your site. Thickly wooded areas and forest have a higher bushfire threat, while sparsely spaced trees or grassland is less of a risk.

Check out the NSW Rural fire brigades vegetation definitions here

Slope of Land

The final critical factor to consider when siting your home is the slope of the land. Fire will travel up a hill at an exponentially faster rate than downslope or on level ground. Consider where the thickest vegetation on your site is located – if it’s downslope of your house, then you will need to consider more protection.

Get your Bushfire Assessment done!

Once you’ve got an approximate site location in mind its time to get the experts in to look at your site. We always recommend you get a qualified bushfire assessor or consultant in to complete a full analysis of your land, the type of vegetation and slope to provide you with an accurate Bushfire Attack Level number.

Check out the chart below, which gives an approximate guide as to what each Bushfire attack number is and what it means to your construction. Westbuilt can build your home to suit whichever BAL requirements, but bear in mind that the cost does increase the higher the BAL rating.

Custom Design Service

So, if you now you have a bit of an idea of the process that is followed to ensuring your new home is entirely safe from bushfires. Bear in mind that we don’t expect you to do this all yourself! Westbuilt is in contact with reputable bushfire consultants who are more than willing to assist you in protecting your home entirely from bushfire!

Find out more about our custom design service here.

Helpful Links

To find out about building in bushfire-prone areas of NSW here https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/building-in-a-bush-fire-area

Find out about building in bushfire-prone areas of QLD here https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/Bushfire_Planning/Pages/default.aspx

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