The recent bushfire in the Blue Mountains of NSW serves as a reminder that for many parts of Australia, bushfires can be a major concern – even in the depths of winter! So what does this mean if you are considering building a deck in a bushfire prone area?
Building a deck can be a great investment for practically any home, but in bushfire prone areas special considerations are required. These considerations are based on what is called a bushfire attack level or BAL rating. There are 6 BAL levels, ranging from low to flame zone, based on several factors including:
- The region where your home is built.
- The type of vegetation surrounding your property and the distance between the vegetation and your home.
- The slope on your land and the surrounding land.
Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind if considering building a deck in a bushfire prone area, based on your BAL level:
There are no requirements for BAL Low.
- The subfloor of decks or stairs/ramps can remain open.
- If your deck is less than 300mm horizontally from a glazed element, which is less than 400mm (measured vertically) from the deck level, then the decking must be made from a bushfire-resistant timber.
- Requirements are the same as BAL 12.5.
- Decking supports, decking framework, decking boards and stair treads need to be made from non-combustible material or fire-resistant timber.
- Balustrades that are less than 125mm from any glazing or combustible wall are required to be made of non-combustible material or fire-resistant timber.
- Requirements are the same as BAL 29.
- In addition, decking boards cannot be spaced.
BAL FZ (Flame Zone)
- Requirements are the same as BAL 40.
This is a basic guide and other factors must be considered if you decide to enclose your deck. A steel sub-frame is allowable for all the bushfire attack levels.
For more advice on building a deck in a bushfire prone area and information on BAL levels, contact Outside Concepts today.
Concept to clean up. Call Outside Concepts for a free quote on 1800 601 674.