New code to com­bat fires

Check with the au­thor­i­ties be­fore build­ing in ar­eas deemed high-risk

Pilbara News - - Property - Dianne Gil­le­land Dianne Gil­le­land is the Mas­ter Builders As­so­ci­a­tion’s Mid West/North West re­gional man­ager.

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.

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

New and ren­o­vated build­ings in bush­fire-prone ar­eas must meet new stan­dards.

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