Sadly, South Australia has a traumatic history of catastrophic bushfires. As a result, there are very clear rules and regulations in place when it comes to building in a bushfire prone area in suburban Adelaide, which are set out in Australian Standard (AS 3959).
In Adelaide and across South Australia, residential and commercial districts are classified as being in areas that are at general, medium or a high risk from bushfires. There are further classifications within these broad categories, known as bushfire attack levels (BAL), and these relate to how likely it is during a bushfire that a building will be exposed to direct flame, radiant heat or ember attack. These are:
You can contact the CFS for clarification if you are unsure of the BAL of your property.
Depending on which part of Adelaide your home is located in and its BAL classification, there are building criteria that must be adhered to if you are building a new home or adding an extension to your existing property.
Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced Adelaide home extension builder who understands the needs of homeowners building in bushfire-prone areas, and can provide solutions that will make your home more resistant to bushfires, should the worst happen.
A well-constructed home extension that is built with bushfire resistance measures in place can give you, your family and your possessions some greater protection in the event of a fire, as well as reducing the risks for those involved in rescue and emergency services, and the costs of the clean up afterwards.
As an experienced Adelaide home extension builder, Builders At Your Service can advise you about the requirements for building in a bushfire-prone area during the planning stages of your home extension, as well as employing building techniques and materials that will help to make any addition to your home more bushfire resistant.
It is important to take into consideration the location of any new extension to your house or business premises with regard to how close it is to any hazardous vegetation, and in which direction from the property any scrub or trees are located.
Any home extension in a bushfire-prone area also needs to provide sufficient room for emergency vehicles to manoeuvre, and easy access for firefighting crews.
One of the most important elements of any home extension built in a bushfire-prone area is putting measures in place to protect it from flying sparks and embers that can lead to ignition. For instance, ensuring that there are covers under any eaves, that wooden posts on decking or patios have metal shoes, and fly screens are made of metal and wire.
In addition, flooring in a home extension should either be a concrete slab, a suspended concrete floor (if you are located on a sloping block) or, if there is a framed floor with space underneath, this should be protected with a non-combustible material on the underside.
The external walls of any home addition in a bushfire prone area of Adelaide should be either timber or steel framed with sarking installed, or have an external leaf of masonry, concrete or earth wall.
Windows should have a corrosion-resistant steel or bronze mesh screen, with a 2mm aperture, while external doors should have weather strips, and also be screened in corrosion-resistant steel or bronze mesh screen, with an aperture of 2mm. The same sort of screen should also be applied to vents and weepholes.
Roof coverings should be constructed from fibre-reinforced cement or metal sheets, with all gaps under corrugations sealed or protected by sarking, while any eaves or fascias should be sealed with a non-combustible material, as should vent pipes.
If you have a verandah or decking, or any sort of timber outdoor living space, then all posts and columns need to be constructed from non-combustible materials or, if they are timber, they need to be mounted on metal stirrups and have a clearance of at least 75mm above the ground.
At Builders At Your Service, we have been building Adelaide home extensions for more than thirty years, and so we are experienced in building in all types of bushfire-prone areas across the metropolitan area. If you live in an area that is at general, high or medium risk of bushfire, you can benefit from our expert advice when it comes to planning and building your new extension. Call us on 8281 6010 or email us to learn more.