Bushfire Management Services

Since the devastating bushfires that impacted Victoria in 2009 a number of changes to the planning schemes have been introduced aimed at reducing the potential impact to life and property from bushfires.

In September 2011 new provisions were introduced to the Building Regulations that specified areas as designated bushfire prone areas (BPA). An area is designated as a bushfire prone area based on its Bushfire Hazard Level. This is an indicator of how extreme a bushfire can be, based on landscape conditions. Bushfire Hazard Levels can be different across areas. The mapping associated with the BPA is revised regularly.

In November 2011 new provisions were also introduced to the Victorian Planning Provisions. These changes were introduced under Amendment VC83 and included the following changes:

  • The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) (clause 44.06) introduced to replace the previous Wildfire Management Overlay (WMO)
  • Bushfire Protection: Planning Requirements (clause 52.47)
  • Bushfire Protection: Exemptions (clause 52.48)

In September 2017 clause 52.47 was amended with the name change to Planning for Bushfire under Amendment VC132 and in July 2018 additional amendments under VC148 resulted in clause 52.47 (BMO) being amended and content relocated to clause 52.03 Bushfire Planning.

There have also been a number of revisions and amendments to the Bushfire Management Overlay however the objectives have remained the same.

As part of an application under the Bushfire Management Overlay, unless a schedule to the overlay species different requirements, an application must be accompanied by:

  • A Bushfire Hazard Site Assessment
  • A Bushfire Hazard Landscape Assessment
  • A Bushfire Management Statement

Properties may be located in a Bushfire Prone Area but not have an associated Bushfire Management Overlay associated with it. Properties that fit into this category require that a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment be undertaken to determine the construction requirements for the proposed structure to improve protection of building elements from bushfire attack.

BUSHFIRE ATTACK LEVELS ASSESSMENTS

Bushfire Attack Level is a measure of the potential radiant heat, level of ember attack and direct flame contact that a building may be exposed to. There are six levels:

An assessment of the bushfire attack level that building may be exposed to is determined by assessing a number of factors. These include:

  1. The region where you live
  2. The vegetation type around your property
  3. The distance from your home to the individual vegetations types
  4. Slope on the property

Habitat Ecology staff can undertake an assessment of your site using the Australian Standards AS3959-2009 to determine the BAL requirements for your construction needs.

BUSHFIRE MANAGEMENT STATEMENTS

An application prepared under the Bushfire Management Overlay provisions must include a Bushfire Management Statement that demonstrates the way in which the application meets the relevant objectives, standards, mandatory standards and decision guidelines within clause 44.06 (Bushfire Management Overlay) and clause 53.02 (Bushfire Planning) of the planning schemes.

Habitat Ecology staff can undertake an assessment of your site utilising the BMO and Clause 53.02 methodology to produce a report for submission to the referring authorities: These reports will provide:

  1. Details of the defendable space requirements;
  2. An assessment of the vegetation classifications based on the Australian Standard for Building in a Bushfire Prone Area (AS3959-2009);
  3. Provide a detailed description of site, landscape and bushfire scenarios;
  4. Any permit specifications including access and water supply.
  5. A bushfire management plan detailing the above requirements.