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Building standards for bushfire-prone areas

Every home in Victoria located in a designated bushire prone area falls under 1 of 6 bushfire-attack level categories.

Since the 2009 bushfires, new building standards apply to all new dwellings, and alterations or additions to existing residential buildings/structures that are within a designated bushfire-prone area in the City of Whittlesea.

To find out if your property is located in a bushfire-prone area, access the Land Channel’s free online interactive map.

Building design requirements

A bushfire attack level (BAL) assessment must be undertaken on land located within a designated bushfire-prone area to determine the level of protection that the building/structure must be designed to meet.

The building code only requires compliance with the minimum level of protection, but we encourage you to consider improved measures in your new home design.

Regulations for private bushfire shelters (bushfire bunkers)

The Victorian Government has introduced new regulations for the construction of private bushfire shelters (bushfire bunkers).

If you are buying or constructing a bushfire shelter, it must comply with the criteria set out in the regulations. You will need a building permit and may also need a planning permit.

Find out more about building private bushfire shelters (PDF) or call the Victorian Building Authority on 1300 360 320.

A guide to retrofit your home for better bushfire protection

Most existing houses in bushfire-prone areas pre-date the current building legislation and are unlikely to achieve the increased levels of bushfire protection required by AS3959.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) have joined together to provide advice to those wanting to upgrade their existing homes to be better protected from bushfires.

The guide is divided into 2 parts:

  • retrofit for generic ember protection
  • retrofit protection for various Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL), based upon AS3959

Find out more about retrofitting your home retrofitting your home (PDF).

Bushfire water storage signs for sale

Bushfire-affected property owners can buy one of our water storage signs to ensure compliance with this requirement of the building regulations.

Under the current building regulations, there must be a static water supply onsite (such as a tank) when a new house is built on a property:

  • where a house was destroyed by the 2009 bushfires
  • that is located within a Bushfire Management Overlay
  • that is exempt from obtaining a town planning permit for construction of the new dwelling

Such property owners must also display appropriate signage to alert fire-fighters.

How to purchase a sign

Our signs are double-sided to allow for placement in either direction. Each sign costs $48 (including GST) plus $12 postage.

To purchase one of our signs visit our Building Services counter at our Civic Centre offices in South Morang, or call us on 9217 2170.