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Do these changes affect me?

Bushfire planning requirements apply to all new planning proposals for habitable buildings (e.g. house, restaurant, office, etc.) or specified buildings in areas designated as bushfire prone on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas (unless exemptions apply). You can identify your property on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas by visiting the DFES website. If your property is located within a bushfire prone area according to this map then you may need to undertake a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment.  A four-month transition period applies from when your property is designated as being bushfire prone. 

We recommend that you use the ‘What do I need to do?' assistance tool to find out how the changes affect you, and if so, what you need to do next.    

Who is exempt? 

If you are building a single house on a lot/s less than 1,100m2 you will not require a BAL assessment for planning, even if your house is going be built in a designated bushfire prone area. However, the building permit approval process may still require a BAL assessment or BAL Contour Map. For further information on building permits please visit the Building Commission’s website or contact your local government. 

If you are located in an area where a local planning scheme does not apply then you will also be exempt from undertaking a BAL assessment. We recommend that you use the ‘What do I need to do?' assistance tool to determine if you are in an area that is currently exempt. 

There may be limited circumstances where the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas identifies a property as being within a bushfire prone area but the property is no longer within 100 metres of bushfire prone vegetation (that would trigger such a designation). This may be for example where the land has been cleared to create new residential lots since the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas was designated.  

When is planning approval required?

Development currently requiring planning approval will continue to do so. In addition any habitable building (e.g. house, restaurant, office, etc) or specified building with a BAL rating of BAL-40 or BAL-Flame Zone will require a development application seeking planning approval, even if they would normally be exempt under a separate section of the Local Planning Scheme Regulations.  

Who can prepare a BAL assessment? 

It is strongly recommended that you use an accredited Level 1 BAL Assessor or an accredited Bushfire Planning Practitioner to undertake a BAL assessment, or an accredited Bushfire Planning Practitioner to prepare a BAL Contour Map.  The Fire Protection Association (FPA) Australia (FPA) is the recognised accrediting body in Western Australia and they can assist you in finding a professional. See www.fpaa.com.au.

Special arrangements exist in remote locations. See fact sheet: Building a house in a remote area.

December 2015 information session video 

The information session was recorded on the 10 December 2015. The Department of Planning, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Office of Bushfire Risk Management, the Building Commission division of the Department of Commerce and the Fire Protection Association Australia presented.  

The session included:

  • An overview of the Bushfire Reforms
  • Information on the Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas and the Mapping Standard 
  • Details of the Accreditation Framework 
  • Discussion of the transition period and the requirements that are currently in place and the changes that will occur after the 4 month transition period ends (on the 8 April 2016)

View the December 2015 information session video here.

Next: What do I need to do?