When building or renovating in bushfire prone areas, it’s important to ensure that the building products and methods you use for construction meet the updated AS3959:2009 standards. The existing Australian Standard 3959 was revised in response to the devastation caused by the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009.
Republished as AS3959:2009 on 1 May 2010, the Standard specifies requirements for the construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas in order to improve their resistance to bushfire attack from burning embers, radiant heat and flame contact as well as combinations of the three attack forms.
While the old standard, AS3959 had 4 levels of bushfire attack, the updated standard, AS3959:2009 has 6 levels of severity expressed as Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL): BAL-Low; BAL-12.5; BAL-19; BAL-29; BAL-40; and BAL-FZ.
Requirements mandated by AS3959:2009 are primarily concerned with improving the ability of buildings in designated bushfire prone areas to better withstand attack from bushfire, thus giving a measure of protection to the building occupants (until the fire front passes) as well as to the building itself.
The revised building standard details various construction methods and materials that must be used depending on the home’s level of bushfire risk. This includes changes to the window and glazing requirements for homes located in a Bushfire Attack Level category greater than BAL-Low.
When specifying for homes in bushfire prone areas, Safetyline Jalousie louvre windows can be used for all ratings up to BAL-29 without the protection of external screens or bushfire shutters. However, to ensure compliance, the following requirements for each Bushfire Attack Level must be met:
BAL-Low: Standard window products can be used at this level so there are no specific requirements.
BAL-12.5: Internal screen must be used with aluminium mesh. Glass louvres are to be fitted with aluminium end caps.
BAL-19: Internal screen must be used with aluminium mesh. Glass louvres are to be fitted with aluminium end caps. 6mm toughened safety glass should be used.
BAL-29: Internal screen must be used with aluminium mesh. Glass louvres are to be fitted with aluminium end caps. 6mm toughened safety glass should be used.
Safetyline Jalousie has developed a metal end cap specifically for use on their louvres in bushfire prone areas and to comply with the above BAL requirements.
Prior to ordering, it is important to advise if you are building or renovating in any of the 6 bushfire zones to ensure that the correct glass type, end caps and screens are used.
For more information, download the AWA Guide to Windows & Doors in Bushfire Prone Areas.