New code to combat fires
Check with the authorities before building in areas deemed high-risk
Over the past few years, Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia have experienced some devastating fires with loss of human lives, as well as the loss of pets, livestock, and property.
Once fire takes hold, it is unpredictable and can flare out of control quickly.
In areas with larger lot sizes, and vacant lots in residential areas, owners must maintain the land to reduce the bushfire risk to surrounding property.
Slashing of the vegetation or providing a firebreak around the property before bushfire season are required.
Landowners who do not meet the requirements of the Bushfire Act can be fined by local government.
There are now a number of designated bushfire prone areas in our State, both in the metropolitan and regional areas.
Buildings in these areas must be constructed to reduce the risk of spread of fire into the building.
The assessment of these buildings is based on a number of risk factors, including proximity to vegetation, type of vegetation close to the building, and the slope of the land.
The construction of a building in a bushfire-prone area places additional costs to the construction of a standard family home.
The costs can vary, but can be more than $7000.
It is important to check the requirements of the local authority for construction in the area, as it is likely there will be additional costs associated with building a new home, or when renovating or extending an existing home.
More clarity on the application of these higher standards is necessary for the building industry and consumers.
The bushfire-prone areas are not unique to regional WA, but many are creeping closer to the urban fringe. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has detailed information on reducing the fire risk of your home, including pruning plans, removing leaf litter, and safe storage of flammable goods.
Visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au for more information.
New and renovated buildings in bushfire-prone areas must meet new standards.