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Bushfire Standards & Regulations

Regulations and Standards relating to Bushfire
Section G5 of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) regulates construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas and requires that various classes of building meet the requirements of Australian Standard AS3959 :2009. (It should be noted that State and Territory requirements do vary so it is advisable to check with the Authority having Jurisdiction).

AS3959: 2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas
This Standard and amendments provide a methodology allowing a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) to be determined. It also provides guidance on the construction requirements for each BAL rating to ensure buildings are appropriately constructed and capable of resisting attack from burning embers, radiant heat, or flame contact.

The various bush fire attack levels BAL’s are outlined below.

BAL - LOW. The risk is considered to be VERY LOW. There is insufficient risk to warrant any specific construction requirements but there is still some risk.

BAL - 12.5. The risk is considered to be LOW. There is a risk of ember attack. The construction elements are expected to be exposed to a heat flux not greater than 12.5 kW/m2.

BAL - 19. The risk is considered to be MODERATE. There is a risk of ember attack and burning debris ignited by wind borne embers and a likelihood of exposure to radiant heat. The construction elements are expected to be exposed to a heat flux not greater than 19 kW/m2.

BAL - 29. The risk is considered to be HIGH. There is an increased risk of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers and a likelihood of exposure to an increased level of radiant heat. The construction elements are expected to be exposed to a heat flux not greater than 29 kW/m2.

BAL - 40. The risk is considered to be VERY HIGH. There is a much increased risk of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, a likelihood of exposure to a high level of radiant heat and some likelihood of direct exposure to flames from the fire front. The construction elements are expected to be exposed to a heat flux not greater than 40 kW/m2.

BAL - FZ. The risk is considered to be EXTREME. There is an extremely high risk of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, and a likelihood of exposure to an extreme level of radiant heat and direct exposure to flames from the fire front. The construction elements are expected to be exposed to a heat flux greater than 40 kW/m2.

A building element’s resistance of to bushfire attack is determined by testing in accordance with one of the following standards:

AS1530.8.1: 2007 Tests on elements of construction for buildings exposed to simulated bushfire attack - Radiant heat and small flaming sources. This Standard provides a repeatable test method for determining the performance of exterior building elements exposed to various intensities of radiant heat and simulated burning debris.


AS1530.8.2: 2007 Tests on elements of construction for buildings exposed to simulated bushfire attack - Large flaming sources. This Standard provides a repeatable test method for determining the performance of exterior building elements when exposed to direct flaming.
 

BAL LEVEL SIDE HUNG EXTERNAL DOOR ASSEMBLIES
LOW No sealing requirement
12.5 weather strips, draught excluders or draught seals shall be installed at the base of side-hung external doors.
19 Weather strips, draught excluders or draught seals shall be installed at the base of side-hung external doors.
29 Weather strips, draught excluders or draught seals shall be installed at the base of side-hung external doors.
40

Weather strips, draught excluders or draught seals shall be installed at the base of side-hung external doors. Seals to stiles, head and bottom shall be manufactured from silicone rubber.

Sliding doors - seals to stiles, head and sills or thresholds shall be manufactured from silicone rubber.

FZ Side-hung external doors, including french doors, panel fold and bi-fold doors shall have a fire resistance level of at least 30 - when tested in accordance with AS1530.4. Weather strips, draught excluders or draught seals shall be installed at the base of side-hung external doors and the seals shall not compromise the door resistence level

 

BAL LEVEL

EXTERNAL GARAGE DOORS

LOW No sealing requirement
12.5 Panel lift, tilt doors or side-hung doors shall be fitted with suitable weather strips, draught excluders, draught seals or guide tracks, as appropriate to the door type, with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm.
Roller doors shall have guide tracks with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm and shall be fitted with a nylon brush that is in contact with the door.
19 Panel lift, tilt doors or side-hung doors shall be fitted with suitable weather strips, draught excluders, draught seals or guide tracks, as appropriate to the door type, with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm.
Roller doors shall have guide tracks with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm and shall be fitted with a nylon brush that is in contact with the door
29 Panel lift, tilt doors or side-hung doors shall be fitted with suitable weather strips, draught excluders, draught seals or guide tracks, as appropriate to the door type, with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm.
Roller doors shall have guide tracks with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm and shall be fitted with a nylon brush that is in contact with the door
40 Panel lift, tilt doors or side-hung doors shall be fitted with suitable weather strips, draught excluders, draught seals or guide tracks, as appropriate to the door type, with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm.
Roller doors shall have guide tracks with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm and shall be fitted with a nylon brush that is in contact with the door.
FZ Panel lift, tilt doors or side-hung doors shall be fitted with suitable weather strips, draught excluders, draught seals or guide tracks, as appropriate to the door type, with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm.
Roller doors shall have guide tracks with a maximum gap no greater than 3 mm and shall be fitted with a nylon brush that is in contact with the door.