Subdivision in bushfire prone areas

WA BAL Report specialise in conducting Bushfire Attack Level Assessments and Bushfire Attack Level Reports. At WA BAL Report, we get queries from people wanting to undertake subdivision on their property. We can provide assistance and conduct the required assessments where you are applying for subdivision in a bushfire-prone area. If a subdivision is designed well, it can greatly reduce the exposure of people, property and infrastructure to bushfire hazard areas and assist in bushfire risk management during the bushfire.

All subdivision applications in bushfire-prone areas are required to be lodged with a Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) Form 1A selecting ‘bushfire prone area’ and must be lodged with a BAL Contour Map that indicates the likely bushfire attack levels for the proposed lots. If no BAL Contour Map currently exists then a BAL assessment for each individual lot may be used on smaller scale subdivisions. This may be more cost effective than producing a BAL Contour Map. A Bushfire Hazard Level assessment should also be included, if this has been prepared earlier. WA BAL Report also conducts BAL Contour Maps and Bushfire Hazard Level assessments.

If the BAL Contour Map or BAL Assessment indicates that any lots have a BAL 12.5 to BAL 29 Rating, a Bushfire Management Plan is also required to be submitted along with the subdivision application. The subdivision of lots where a BAL 40 or BAL Flame Zone applies would only be considered if they meet the definition of unavoidable development. An unavoidable development is a “development that in the opinion of the decision-maker represents exceptional circumstances where full compliance with State Planning Policy 3.7 would be unreasonable as no alternative location exists and it can be proven that it is not contrary to the public interest”.

Subdivisions in bushfire-prone areas should possess the following features:

  • Be located close to existing settlements and/or within existing cleared areas
  • Minimise the interface between the subdivision area and the bushfire hazard
  • Avoid placing residential development on steep slopes
  • Provide for at least 2 safe access routes
  • Lots should either include a 100 metre buffer to bushfire prone vegetation or comply with the bushfire construction requirements of the Building Code of Australia appropriate to the current BAL rating
  • Establish recreational areas with a dual purpose of being public refuge areas and/or separation areas
  • Have access to adequate water and infrastructure
  • Be positioned in cleared areas where possible to minimise exposure to the bushfire hazard and avoid the need for further vegetation clearing
  • Lot layout should allow for adequate separation from existing or proposed buffers for wetlands, foreshores and other conservation areas.

The WAPC has the ability to impose conditions relating to bushfire risk management on subdivision applications. Conditions that can be imposed include:

  • Preparing and implementing an approved detailed plan demonstrating the location and capacity of fire emergency infrastructure
  • Placing a notification on the title on proposed lots that are in a designated bushfire-prone area and may be subject to a Bushfire Management Plan
  • Completing a compliance certificate/report for the BAL Contour Map relating to the approved subdivision, before the issuing of titles.
  • Any additional bushfire risk management related conditions

For more information

WA BAL Report are experts at conducting Bushfire Attack Level Assessments, Bushfire Attack Level Reports and bushfire prevention strategies in general in Perth and Western Australia. For more information, contact our friendly staff on 08 6114 9356 or at admin@wabalreport.com.au.

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