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Effective planning and building controls play a critical role in reducing the bushfire risk to life and property in Western Australia, especially in areas subject to land use intensification that interface with natural areas. The identification of bush fire prone areas is a fundamental step towards the application of bushfire planning and building controls.
The Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas, available at www.dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfireproneareas, identifies land falling within, or partially within, a bush fire prone area of the State as designated by an order made by the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner. Where a bush fire prone area includes a portion of a parcel of land, the entire parcel is treated as bush fire prone. It is important to recognise that land not identified as bush fire prone on the Map may still be subject to bushfire.
Additional planning and building requirements may apply to developments within designated bush fire prone areas in accordance with Schedule 2 Part 10A of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas (SPP 3.7), the associated Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas and the Building Code of Australia.
SPP 3.7 applies to all higher order strategic planning documents, strategic planning proposals, subdivision and development applications located in designated bush fire prone areas. This policy also applies where an area is not yet designated as bush fire prone but is proposed to be developed in a way that introduces a bushfire hazard, as outlined in the Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.
A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment or BAL Contour Map may be required in certain circumstances under Schedule 2 Part 10A of the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 if the site has been located in a bush fire prone area for a period of at least four months. Development approval must be obtained in areas with a BAL rating of BAL-40 or BAL-Flame Zone (FZ) before commencing any development, including instances where development approval would not normally be required. A bushfire management plan may also be required.
Bushfire construction requirements set out in GP5.1 and P2.3.4 of the Building Code of Australia apply to certain residential building work in designated bush fire prone areas if the site has been located in a bush fire prone area for a period of at least four months. A further assessment of bushfire risk, such as a BAL assessment, will assist in determining the appropriate level of bushfire resistant construction that should be incorporated into the building. In general a building permit is required before undertaking most new building work.
Certain exemptions and exclusions may apply.
Local governments may also have locally specific planning or building requirements.
For specific requirements contact the planning or building section of your local government.
For further information about the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015, State Planning Policy 3.7 Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas or the associated Guidelines, contact the Department of Planning Bushfire Policy Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (08) 6551 9000.
For general information regarding the Building Code of Australia and requirements for bush fire prone areas, contact the Building Commission at email@example.com or on 1300 489 099.
Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998
Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015
Building Act 2011
Building Regulations 2012