Effective from the 8th April 2016 the State Government has introduced the Bushfire Planning Reforms to help protect lives and property against the threat of bushfires throughout Western Australia. These reforms introduce new requirements for people intending to develop and/or build in bushfire prone areas, including the need to assess a property’s bushfire risk and take additional construction measures to limit the impact of bushfires.
The new bushfire planning requirements apply to all new planning proposals for habitable buildings (e.g. house, restaurant, office, etc.) or specified buildings in areas designated as bushfire prone on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas (unless exemptions apply). You can identify your property on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas by visiting the DFES website. If your property is located within a bushfire prone area according to this map, you may need to undertake a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment.
If you are building a single house on a lot/s less than 1,100m² you will not require a BAL assessment for planning, even if your house is going be built in a designated bushfire prone area. However, the building permit approval process may still require a BAL assessment or BAL Contour Map. For further information on building permits please visit the Building Commission’s website or contact the Shire of Manjimup Building Services department on (08) 9771 7777.
Development currently requiring planning approval will continue to do so. In addition, any habitable building (e.g. house, restaurant, office, etc) or specified building with a BAL rating of BAL-40 or BAL-Flame Zone will require a development application seeking planning approval, even if they would normally be exempt by legislation.
It is strongly recommended that you use an accredited Level 1 BAL Assessor or an accredited Bushfire Planning Practitioner to undertake a BAL assessment, or an accredited Bushfire Planning Practitioner to prepare a BAL Contour Map. The Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) is the recognised accrediting body in Western Australia and they can assist you in finding a professional. For more details visit the FPAA website.
For further information visit the frequently asked questions page located on the Department of Planning website.