What is a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)?

A Bushfire Attack Level is a measure of the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact in a bushfire event. This rating is used for building purposes to provide a basis for establishing construction requirements to improve the protection of a building from bushfire attack.

The BAL takes into consideration several factors including the Fire Danger Index, the slope of the land and the vegetation surrounding a property.

If you’re planning to build or subdivide in a bushfire-prone area you will likely need a BAL report. We strongly suggest you contact us before you submit your Development Application to your local council. We can develop a simple plan to create the best possible outcome.

Six Levels of Bushfire Attack

There are six BAL categories ranging from low risk to extreme flame zone as shown below:

There is insufficient risk to warrant any specific construction requirements but there is still some risk.
BAL – 12.5
Ember attack.
BAL – 19
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kilowatts m2.
BAL – 29
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kilowatts m2.
BAL – 40
Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux with increased likelihood of exposure to flames.
Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack.

BAL ratings explained

BAL ratings explained

Who needs a BAL Assessment?

Under the Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 (Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas) and BCA (Building Code of Australia), all new residential buildings located within a bushfire prone area must have a BAL assessment before planning or building permits can be issued. This includes additions to buildings within 6 metres of a dwelling such as sheds, patio’s, extensions, etc.
For more information relating to the Australian Standards click here.

SAPPA map indicating Bushfire Hazard Overlay

How can we help reduce your BAL level?

As your individual BAL rating increases, so do your construction costs. Each BAL rating has its own special construction requirements including regulations of the materials used and the inclusion of additional safety features.

We specialise in providing BAL assessments for all types of development and subdivision projects and can assist you in lowering your rating to save you money. With over 12 years of experience, our skilled assessors know exactly what legal conditions are required for your area. We can develop a tailored plan based on your individual requirements to reach the best possible solution for your property.

We use professional high-tech equipment including aerial drones to quickly and accurately identify surrounding fuels of the proposed build.


Indigenous Training

SA Bushfire Solutions has a long and proud association working with Indigenous groups and communities throughout Australia to assist and develop Bushfire Mitigation Programs and provide hands-on training.

Bushfire Survival Plans

If you live in a high bushfire risk area, developing a Bushfire Survival Plan is crucial to you, your family’s and your property’s safety and survival.

Property Risk Assessments

Our property risk assessments are designed to identify potential risks and show you how to improve your bushfire safety.

As the fire officer at Central Land Council I work closely with Brett and the team at SA Bushfires Solutions, they have successfully delivered a variety of training courses throughout the region. They are both professional and conciseness in their delivery and possess the ability to be flexible when needed, tailoring the course and its contents if required. Their knowledge and understanding of indigenous cultural practices is pivotal in meeting the needs of our constituents and  work.  CLC wish to extend its appreciation to the team for their continued work and support and look forward to 2022.

Ross Phelan FIRE MANAGEMENT OFFICER Central Land Council


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