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Building in a Bushfire Prone Area

Specific bushfire construction standards apply in designated bushfire prone areas in Victoria. These bushfire construction requirements are aimed at improving bushfire protection for residential buildings. If your property is in a Bushfire Prone Area your building permit will require that you meet specific construction standards for bushfire protection if you want to build or develop your land. The creation of the Bushfire Prone Area map fulfils one of the 67 recommendations made by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

Bushfire Prone Areas are areas that are subject to or likely to be subject to bushfires.

Changes to the Sale of Land Act 1962 now require a Bushfire Prone Area Property Report to be included with the vendor statement.

Victoria has mapped bushfire prone areas. There are many precautions you can take to help protect your home and maximise your safety.

If you are planning to build or renovate key steps include:

  • ensuring an appropriate building site location.
  • using suitable building materials.
  • ensuring proximity to independent water resources.
  • managing the vegetation surrounding the building and clearing debris close to the building.

It is also important to ensure your property is accessible for emergency vehicles and has a water supply for fire fighting.

All protective measures require ongoing maintenance to ensure they perform at their optimum level. Maintenance of the area surrounding your property is also important, reducing the combustible materials to improve the effectiveness of your protection against ember attack.

The following actions are also recommended to help reduce the risk of damage to homes in the event of a bushfire:

  • Use building materials appropriate for the conditions and your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL).
  • Remove any overhanging tree branches, take out shrubs over one metre high next to or below windows, keep grass short and clean up other debris near your building site or home that could easily catch fire to help provide some defendable space.
  • Follow the step-by-step guide to protecting your home from fire by downloading the Country Fire Authority (CFA) 'Fire Ready Kit' from cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 for a copy.
  • Ensure you have a Bushfire Survival Plan in place and practise it regularly.
  • Get involved in community meetings about fire preparedness in the neighbourhood. Go to the CFA website for meeting details.
  • If you have a full rainwater tank near your home, ensure it is accessible.
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