Bushfire Prone Zones
New Bushfire Regulations
On 7 December 2015, the State Government introduced new requirements for people intending to build in designated bushfire prone areas, including the need to assess a property’s bushfire risk. Those areas designated as bushfire prone have been indicated by the State Government Department of Fire and Emergency Services and can be seen on the Department's website at www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfireproneareas
The reforms include the need to undertake a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment before commencing development in these bushfire prone areas. Depending on the outcome of the BAL assessment additional construction measures may be required to limit the impact of bushfires on property.
The bushfire reforms only apply to new building and development in bushfire prone areas. They are not retrospective so will not affect existing buildings or approved development. The bushfire planning reforms include State Planning Policy 3.7: Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.
There is a four month transition period for the implementation of the bushfire reforms, with the planning and building requirements coming into effect on 8 April 2016. To determine if you are in a bushfire prone area, the map of bush fire prone areas is available on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfireproneareas If you are proposing to build or develop in a designated bushfire prone area then you may have additional building and planning requirements from 8 April 2016.
If you are building a house in a bushfire prone area from the 8 April 2016 you will need to undertake a BAL assessment and this must be submitted with the building permit application. If you are proposing a single house or ancillary dwelling in an area of extreme bushfire risk (i.e. BAL-40 or BAL-FZ) you will also need to obtain development (planning) approval if the lot is greater than 1,100m2. If the lot is under 1,100m2, you will only need a building permit.
If you are proposing any other new development (ie, not a single house or ancillary dwelling) in a bushfire prone area, you will need to undertake a BAL assessment and this must be submitted with a development (planning) application.
It is strongly recommended that you view the information on the Department of Planning's website www.planning.wa.gov.au/bushfire which includes a series of fact sheets that will provide more detailed information on the reforms and how they may affect any development you may be considering.