Understanding the BAL rating for owner builders in WA is a paramount responsibility. The devastation caused by natural disasters prompts a resilient journey, and prospective builders must grasp the intricacies of BAL ratings to enhance building safety in bushfire-prone areas.

Western Australia’s Robust Framework

In alignment with the Australian Standard AS 3959-2018, Western Australia adopts a robust framework for addressing bushfire risks in residential construction. Therefore, this framework categorises sites into distinct levels, each dictating specific construction requirements. Accordingly, they are based on factors such as vegetation types, distance from vegetation, slope of the land, and the Fire Danger Index (FDI). Thus, accurately determining the BAL is pivotal, enabling owner builders to implement appropriate construction methods and ensure home safety.


A Systematic Approach: Six Steps to Navigate the BAL Assessment

  1. Determine your Fire Danger Index (FDI). Assess the probability of a bushfire based on temperature, humidity, wind speed, and fuel state. Western Australia typically falls under FDI 100, except for specific areas.
  2. Identify your site’s vegetation types. Classify vegetation based on tables provided in the Standard, considering exclusions for specific types like non-vegetated areas and managed grasslands.
  3. Measure the distance from the site to the vegetation. Horizontally measure from the edge of vegetation to the external wall or supporting posts, excluding certain features like eaves and rainwater tanks.
  4. Determine the slope of the land under vegetation. Evaluate the slope’s impact on bushfire severity by considering the effective upslope or downslope of the building.
  5. Assign the BAL. Employing tables corresponding to FDI, upslope or downslope, vegetation type, and distance determine the BAL for your site.
  6. Apply construction requirements. Refer to the Australian Standard AS 3959-2018 to implement construction methods aligned with the determined BAL, ensuring increased protection against bushfire threats.

Deciphering BAL Ratings in Western Australia

  • BAL-Low. Denoting insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements.
  • BAL-12.5. Signifying ember attack with increasing heat flux.
  • BAL-19. Reflecting increased ember attack and burning debris, accompanied by higher heat flux.
  • BAL-29. Indicating further escalation in ember attack and heat flux, with potential flame exposure.
  • BAL-40. Denoting direct exposure to flames, high heat flux, and ember attack.
  • BAL-FZ. Signifying extreme risk with direct exposure to flames.

In Conclusion

To sum up, by diligently adhering to these systematic steps and aligning them with construction requirements, owner-builders in Western Australia can effectively navigate the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment process. This proactive approach contributes significantly to creating safer, more resilient homes in bushfire-prone areas.

All things considered, if you need additional information, for the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Rating for Owner Builders in WA, individuals can contact an Owner Builder Coach or relevant authorities or refer to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

Builder Checklist 14-Day FREE Trial     

Please complete this form to enjoy a 14-day FREE Builder Checklist trial.
Contact Email  *
First Name *
Last Name *
Phone *
*Required Fields

Suffering From
Owner Builder Insomnia?


Owner Building
Is It Right For You?