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What is a private bushfire shelter?
A private bushfire shelter is a last resort option.
It is a building that may provide temporary refuge for occupants from the immediate life-threatening effects of a bushfire event. Strict building and ongoing maintenance requirements apply.
What planning requirements apply?
You may need a planning permit to build a private bushfire shelter.
A planning permit exemption does apply to private bushfire shelters if the total area of buildings and works does not exceed 30 square metres.
This exemption does not apply to:
- bushfire shelters that exceed 30 square metres of total floor area
- land located in the Urban Floodway Zone, Erosion Management Overlay, Floodway Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay, Special Building Overlay or Heritage Overlay
- land located in the Shire of Yarra Ranges - for more information contact the council.
You can find out what planning zones and overlays apply to your property on VicPlan
For more information on applying for a planning permit or to confirm requirements, contact your local council.
More information on planning exemptions for bushfire shelters:
- Refer to planning scheme bushfire protection exemptions provision
- Advisory Note 33- Community fire refuge and private bushfire shelter exemptions
Note: advisory notes provide information that reflect the point in time when they were published.
What building requirements apply?
A building permit is required to construct a private bushfire shelter. A private bushfire shelter is a Class 10c building under the Building Regulations 2018 and must meet strict building performance measures.
Refer to the links below for information on design, siting and construction, as well as how to prepare and use your shelter:
- Guidance for shelter designers and builders about how to meet the National Construction Code performance requirements: The Australian Building Codes Board Performance Standard for Private Bushfire Shelters 2014
- About Private Bushfire Shelters (Bushfire Bunkers) (Victorian Building Authority)
Page last updated: 09/06/23