Vic govt adopts new bushfire building standard

Effective from March 6, the new Victorian residential building model adheres to the Australian Standard (AS 3959) and applies to all new home designs and construction within the state.Victorian Premier John Brumby said the government was acting to rebuild better protected communities after the devastation of the bushfires last month.Under the Australian Standard, every new home will undergo a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment as part of the building permit application.Bushfire-prone areas will be classified within six BAL categories from low to extreme risk, and the classification of the new home will determine the construction method.In extreme bushfire risk areas new homes will be required to include:Concrete slab;Exterior walls to comprise non-combustible material, like brick veneer or concrete;Roof, veranda and deck to be constructed with non-combustible material;Sealed wall and roof joints to protect against embers;Aluminium or other non-combustible material shutters, or toughened glass in windows;Fire-resistant timber in door frames and weather strip at base; andMetal external trimmings, such as vents, guttering and down pipes.This new standard applies to the construction, repairs, extensions and renovations of all new homes and outbuildings across the state.Victorian Building and Plumbing Commissioner Tony Arnel said the state government’s adoption of the new residential building standard enables people to safely begin rebuilding their new homes.Arnel said people could find clear information on the changes and regulations in the Building Commission’s publication, “A guide to building in Victoria after the bushfires”.“The guide clearly explains the changes to be made and will provide certainty about the regulations required to rebuild, particularly for those people who have been affected by the February bushfires,” Arnel said.“Victorian building and plumbing practitioners’ clients should find it a useful tool.”Further information can be found on the new standard by visiting: http://www.buildingcommission.com.au/www/html/7-home-page.asp

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