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It’s hard to be­lieve but this house at Mt Riverview in the lower Blue Moun­tains de­signed by Luke Van Jour from Dis­tinct In­no­va­tions is sub­ject to a BAL 40 rat­ing.

Char­ac­terised by sim­ple roof lines and flamere­sis­tant ex­ter­nal ma­te­ri­als, it’s a gra­cious fam­ily home with views of the neigh­bour­hood and a thought­ful land­scap­ing plan.

Un­der the reg­u­la­tions, there are two path­ways to ap­proval: the De­vel­op­ment Ap­pli­ca­tion process where the pro­posed work must meet the Plan­ning for Bush Fire Pro­tec­tion re­quire­ments or Com­ply­ing De­vel­op­ment, a faster ap­proval process where the plans must meet spe­cific cri­te­ria.

Com­ply­ing De­vel­op­ment is only avail­able to prop­er­ties with BAL rat­ings of low risk, 12.5, 19 or 29. Prop­er­ties in BAL 40 or Flame Zones must go through the De­vel­op­ment Ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Ar­chi­tect Nigel Bell says there are some ba­sic prin­ci­ples for de­sign­ing in bushfire-prone ar­eas, although these will vary ac­cord­ing to your BAL rat­ing. These in­clude.

Keep your build­ing form sim­ple and low to min­imise the risk of fly­ing em­bers set­tling.

Put build­ing ser­vices such as gas lines below ground to min­imise the risk of ex­plo­sion.

In­stall a sub­stan­tial rain­wa­ter tank — not made of plas­tic.

Keep up house main­te­nance, clear­ing gut­ters and trim­ming shrubs.

This gen­er­ous fam­ily home de­signed by Dis­tinct In­no­va­tions is in a BAL 40 zone.

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