What is the BMO?
The BMO applies to land that may be significantly affected by extreme bushfires.
A planning permit is required for some types of development to ensure bushfire risk is considered and bushfire protection measures are in place. The BMO is clause 44.06 of Victorian planning schemes.
Help from a suitably qualified consultant may be necessary, particularly for more complex applications. Your council may be able to recommend someone or you could contact Fire Protection Association Australia for a list of trained professionals.
Video on Bushfire Management Overlay
What are the planning requirements?
To find out more about permit applications and assessments, select the option below that best describes your development, or speak to your local council.
Three different processes apply:
1. Where a schedule applies
For single dwellings where a BMO schedule applies, and the pre-set bushfire protection measures are met, a streamlined planning application assessment process is available.
2. In existing settlements
For single dwellings in specified urban zones a streamlined planning application and assessment process is available.
3. All other single dwellings
For all other single dwelling proposals that don't meet requirements for either of the above.
For all other proposals, including multi-dwelling and non-residential proposals.
For all proposals to subdivide land.
Outbuildings, sheds and similar buildings
Application and assessment pathways vary for outbuildings.
The Bushfire Management Overlay includes planning permit exemptions.
The most common exemptions are for:
- An alteration or extension to an existing building used for a dependent person’s unit that is less than 50 per cent of the gross floor area of the existing building.
- An alteration or extension to any building (except a dwelling or dependent person’s unit) that is less than 10 per cent of the gross floor area of the existing building.
- A building or works with a floor area of less than 100 square metres not used for accommodation and ancillary to a dwelling.
- A building or works consistent with a section 173 agreement and planning permit as required by clause 44.06-5 Bushfire Management Overlay - Mandatory condition of your local planning scheme.
If a BMO schedule applies, it may also include planning permit exemptions. Other parts of the planning scheme may also require a planning permit.
Buildings and works such as decks, pergolas and pools may or may not require a planning permit, depending on the extent of the works.
You can explore the categories above or speak to your local council about permit requirements.
Will I need a planning permit under the updated BMO?
The BMO mapping was updated on 3 October 2017 and was introduced into planning schemes by Amendment GC13. This may have seen new areas being included in the BMO for the first time.
A planning permit is required for most construction activity on land in the BMO, including building or extending a home. The requirements apply from the day that the BMO maps were updated.
In most cases, existing planning permits aren't affected if the BMO was applied after the permit was issued.
However, the current bushfire protection requirements must be met if you want to amend an existing planning permit or extend the expiry date. Updated planning approval is therefore required in these circumstances.
Where a building permit for a single house has been issued without previously requiring a planning permit, a new planning permit may not be required.
Your local council can provide specific advice about your property or an existing permit.
Some typical scenarios, your next steps, and some facts for each situation are outlined below.
Page last updated: 25/01/22