Building construction controls

A building permit is required for most new buildings and can be obtained by making a building permit application, usually through a private building surveyor and sometimes via the local council.

In designated bushfire prone areas, a minimum construction standard applies to new residential buildings, schools, child care centres, hospitals, aged care facilities and buildings for other sensitive land uses.

This is referred to as Bushfire Attack Level or BAL. It is a way of measuring the severity of a building's potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact.

Image showing houses graduating from ember attack to radiant heat and flame contact

There are six Bushfire Attack Levels that form part of the Australian Standard for construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas (AS 3959):

  • BAL-12.5
  • BAL-19
  • BAL-29
  • BAL-40
  • BAL-FZ (Flame Zone).

Drawing of houses showing escalating levels of bushfire hazard from ember attack to flame contact and associated BAL ratings

For more information about bushfire protection measures and bushfire attack levels, refer to:

For more information about the building application process, contact your local council or speak to a private building surveyor. They can also assist you in meeting relevant bushfire requirements under the building system.

Where a planning permit is also required, the building permit application will be assessed after the planning application process has been completed. If bushfire protection requirements have already been considered as part of the planning application, they don't need to be considered again in the building application.

Page last updated: 07/08/20