There is plenty of general information out there on building a home in a bushfire prone area, but there are benefits to getting advice specific to your site from someone with bushfire planning and design qualifications. One of the first steps to building a new home can be to get a BAL assessment done, which is usually required for your planning application. The most reliable option here is to get someone with Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) accreditation to do the assessment.
The Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) Accreditation Scheme is run by the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) and is designed for practitioners delivering bushfire assessment, planning, design and advice services.
Suitably qualified practitioners have a detailed knowledge of and ability to apply the relevant planning, development and building legislation and policies, the Building Code of Australia, and Australian Standard AS3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas.
Some suitably-qualified BPAD practitioners can do more than just BAL assessments though. There are three levels of BPAD accreditation ranging from Level 1 to Level 3, with Level 3 assessors able to develop planning and building applications by providing alternative design solutions in accordance with local regulations, and delve into problem solving such as finding ways to meet the BAL rating and best bushfire resistance.
Is your designer a BPAD expert?
A number of architects or building designers hold BPAD accreditation to enable them to do BAL assessments and also specialise in bushfire resistant design, or they might have their own BPAD bushfire consultant to conduct assessments and advise on how to meet BAL requirements in the design. Be sure to discuss any prospective designer or building practitioners’ approach or experience meeting BAL requirements when finding your rebuild team.
Finding a local BPAD expert
If your preferred architect or designer does not hold BPAD accreditation, FPA Australia maintains a register of accredited BPAD practitioners at their website.