Bush fire prone areas in Perth and surrounding areas

Bush fire prone areas in Perth and surrounding areas

The landscape of building approvals is always evolving. By linking with leading industry experts we can be sure our clients receive the best up to date advice and service. An increasing number of properties are now subject the Bushfire Attack Level assessments and Structerre assist our clients to understand their risk. See an exert from Structerre’s explainer below and visit their website to find out more.


The WA State Government has recently passed legislation which means if you are building a home or performing construction work in a designated bushfire prone area, you will be required to undertake a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment.

Based on the results of the assessment, you will need to comply with the bushfire construction requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

Bushfire image showing why the bal assessments are important

Image courtesy of Structerre Consulting Engineers

The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment relates to the classification of bushfire intensity levels that a home may experience in the unfortunate event of a bushfire.  It is determined by assessing surrounding vegetation types and distance, the slope of the land, and the proximity of adjacent buildings as well as the Fire Danger Index for the region.

The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment will determine the specific construction and design requirements for existing or proposed structures outlined in the Australian Standard AS 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas.

These requirements aim to enhance the protection of your home against possible bushfires.

A Bushfire Attack Level report provides structural engineers with site-specific information on how to design the structure to reduce the risk of ignition from bushfires.

To help you identify whether or not your site is located in a designated bushfire prone area, the State Government has created a mapping standard outlining the designated bushfire prone areas across WA.

Structerre can provide you with a Bushfire Attack Level assessment in accordance with Australian Standards.

The assessment will rate your site with a Bushfire Attack Level and you will receive specific design advice and requirements on the construction of the property within this area. A Bushfire Attack Level report is typically undertaken at the building permit phase and must be provided to obtain a building permit.

  • What is a BAL?
    • A BAL assessment provides designers with site-specific information on how to design the structure to reduce the risk of ignition from bushfires, ember attack and radiant heat.
    • The result of the assessment determines the specific construction and design requirements that will need to be adhered to, in order to improve the performance of structures against possible bushfires.
    • A BAL rating can range from low, to BAL- FZ – extreme risk (Flame Zone).
  • Why does a BAL assessment need to be done?
    • For any new builds in bushfire prone areas, new legislation means a BAL assessment is required in order to obtain a building permit.
    • To help you identify whether or not your site requires a BAL assessment, the State Government has created a mapping standard outlining the designated bushfire prone areas across WA.
    • These maps are available to view on the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) website: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/regulationandcompliance/bushfireproneareas/Pages/default.aspx
  • What does this mean for you?
    • Building in accordance with the BAL rating and Australian Standards can bring significant additional construction costs for you or your client, sometimes over $20 000.
    • Higher BAL rating = Higher costs

Structerre Consulting Engineers, 22/01/16,  www.structerre.com.au/news/requirements-for-building-in-bushfire-prone-areas

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Writing a blog

Writing content for blogs can be time consuming but also rewarding, unfortunately, we have had an extremely difficult year personally, so I have not put a lot of time into my blog or any of my ventures.

I have however been writing an absolute ton of blog posts for our main business, Central Avenue Homes.

We have just renewed our website and created a new logo, so to get things moving, I have been creating blog posts for our new website.

Hopefully, our new website will be up and running fully in the very near future, so I can concentrate on this blog.

Please check out our new website and logo and let me know what you think..


I’ve also spent a fair bit of time on Pinterest creating boards for our clients and other people who might find inspiration for decorating or when designing their new come.


We have received conditional planning approval for our new home and we are NOT IMPRESSED

We have received conditional planning approval for our new home, however we are not impressed. The planning officer that our draftee was dealing with at the City of Cockburn advised her that she would be in touch once she had a preliminary look at the design, as it was getting closer to the Christmas break, we didn’t hear anything from her, we assumed that she would contact us after the break.

Well she didn’t bother, she had told us that we may have to have additional windows to address one of the R codes, and we advised her that we already met those guidelines and that we would not like adding a further window due to security issues.

We got back from the Christmas break and we find that we have planning approval, with the condition that we have to add another window, lower to the ground, that will be covered by a 1.8m masonry fence, so the fence takes away the fact that the window has to be there for observation of the street. SOME PEOPLE ARE SO POWER HUNGRY IT”S NOT FUNNY.

We questioned the fact that she was going to be in touch to discuss any conditions that would be imposed, however she went on holidays and did not come back until after the 14th January, it’s so obvious that she sent the planning approval out with the condition of the additional window prior to her break so that she wouldn’t have to deal with it when she returned.

We have questioned the condition as it is subjective and the design is at HER discretion. She sent quite an abrupt email stating that if we wanted to have it changed now that we have planning approval, we have to take it to SAT. State Administrative Tribunal (time and money, that she doesn’t care about).

Yes the easier thing would be to put an additional window in, however it would defeat the purpose, as the window is only 6c high and will be covered by a high fence. We are thinking of fighting this as the shires seem to have so much power over designs of peoples houses, I am not talking about design guidelines or R codes, I am talking about the discretion of the individual employee, as that is all she is,. a power hungry shire employee.



If the shire officer doesn’t like it YOU DON’T HAVE IT.

I believe that a design of your home is a personal thing, and if you comply with all of the R Codes and design codes for that shire, it should be allowed, however the shires have the right to decide on the design of the house you are going to live in. This is one of the reasons that clients get so angry with Builders. The shire planning departments have more power than they should be allowed to have. We come across this all the time.

The shire officer tells us that the design is subjective, if she doesn’t like it, we don’t have it. HOW IS THAT RIGHT.

Following is the response to our query that our design DOES meet all the design R codes . Our design does meet the following requirements


The city has the power under the town planning scheme to consider any matter it considers relevant so it is not confined to just the requirements of the R-Codes. Further, our local planning policy APD 58 requires that:

6.2 A proposed dwelling on the corner lot to be designed to address both primary and secondary streets;

I will provide further advice after I’ve done an assessment which will be next week sometime.


Response from planning department query

We have received the following response from the shire, and it has now raised further questions that are yet to be answered.

Hi, yes you’re right, the upper floor windows do provide adequate surveillance to the street, its just the highlight to the entry hall and how this presents to the major Road – could they consider windows like those to the dining/living instead?

Our response to this query is as follows:

Good morning

I have spoken with the owners about the issue you have raised.

The major road presents a few issues for the owners. They want to keep road noise to a minimum and also have greater security. Due to the foot traffic past their home they, like the neighbours opposite, intend to build a rendered brick fence along the major road elevation. This will increase security and privacy for the home and make any additional windows to this wall irrelevant.

Although the major openings from a habitable room overlooking the major road are on the second floor (Main Bed & Bed 2) I can’t see how this is non compliant with the R-codes and warrants a design change. The clients have insisted upon the window positioning as it currently stands as privacy and safety from such a busy road is important to them.

Please take the above information into account when you begin the major assessment of the application.

We have yet to receive a response.



Planning department queries on our design

We have received correspondence from the shire regarding our planning application

No I don’t need anything else. The application is just pending my full assessment which I haven’t got to yet.

I can say at this stage however, that the issue we have with this building is its lack of presentation to both Roads.

The R-Codes require surveillance of the street and the approach to the dwelling from a habitable room window.

The Home Theatre doesn’t really fulfil this function and the highlight to the entry passage doesn’t provide any outlook to the major Road.

Can you please consider this matter and confer with your client and provide me with feedback about it when you are ready.

We have responded to their query with the following response:

Thank you for your feedback.

The R-codes state in 6.2.4 Surveillance of the street – A4.1 At least one habitable room dwelling has a clear view of the street and the approach to the dwelling.

The Home Theatre, Master Bedroom and Bed 2 all have major openings that provide surveillance the street. The major Road is overlooked by major openings to the Master Bed and Bed 2.

The client specifically asked for an additional window to be placed in the Master Bedroom that overlooks the major road purely for surveillance.

I am unsure how the current provision of windows doesn’t comply with the R-codes, in particular your comment regarding the Home Theatre windows not fulfilling this function.

If you could provide more information I will talk this over with the clients.

Thank you for your correspondence.

We await their reply.





A big thankyou to Shelley and Tahneesha

A beautiful bunch of orchids from Shelley

My friend Shelley came to visit yesterday afternoon and brought with her a beautiful bunch of flowers, I had an upset day and she was so nice to bring them to cheer me up.

Thankyou again Shelley.

I have been taking Wednesday’s off for the last few weeks and sorting the house so that when we are ready to move I won’t have such a huge job to do.

We have lived in this house for over 10 years and the junk that you collect can be enormous.

So far I have only worked on a few areas, make up, nail stuff – polish, nail trolley and all nail junk, crafty stuff beading etc. Tahneesha is working towards a beauty degree and I asked Shelley if she would be interested in my stuff as I was going to throw it out, but I would prefer to be able to give the stuff to someone who might make some use of it than throw it out.

When she came around she also brought me some lovely gifts and a gift voucher from Tahneesha to be spent at one of my favourite dress shops.

Gifts and gift voucher


I love making flowers and leaves on my pastries, and the gifts are a set of leaf cutters, hearts and little Christmas cutters, and a pastry roller.

Thankyou girls, I just LOVE pressies.

I know what I will be doing on Saturday morning, going to La Dee Da to spend my voucher.

Shire confirms receipt of planning application

City of Cockburn

City of Cockburn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We have received a letter from the shire advising us that they have received our application for planning.


They advise in their correspondence that


The statutory requirements of the City of Cockburn Town Planning scheme No 3 require non advertised applications to be processed within 60 days, we will see if this happens as I have never dealt with a planning application that hasn’t taken several months for approval.


The also gave us an application # that can be used for tracking the progress of the application on line, I have never seen this before.


While typing this, we got the mail and there was a receipt from the shire for the planning application fee.


We have settled on our block – We own it now.

We have settled on our block – We own it now.


We submitted our plans to the City of Cockburn for planning approval, however they rejected the application as we didn’t own the land. They are the only shire that I know of that will not accept a planning application that has an O & A (offer and acceptance for the purchase of the land) naming us as the purchasers.


However now that we own the land, I will forward the shire a copy of the settlement letter and they are not able to reject the application now.


City of Cockburn

City of Cockburn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Working on my selections for my pre start

Over the last few weeks, in my very little spare time, I have been working on the external  selections (colours) for my pre start for our house.

I have done it many times before, and this time is going to be a lot easier as the internet provides so much information that I really don’t have to leave my chair to make the decisions.

I would recommend, however that laminate samples should be inspected in a larger sample if selecting a pattern as some of the laminates that have a large pattern that can extend over the entire sheet.

We are having a partial rendered house, as all of the other houses in the development are rendered and the house would look too out of place to be face brick. All elevations that are visible from the road, eg front and side are going to be a painted render.

I have decided that the render will be painted 2 colours Colorbond Jasper http://www.colorbond.com and Colorbond Dune. The roof, gutters and fascia will be Colorbond Jasper and the downpipes will be Colorbond Dune.

The window frames will be white, I am going to have white/off white roller blinds through the house. In the past, I have had curtains, venetian blinds, vertical blinds and roller blinds, and the reason I wouldn’t have curtains or venetian blinds again is that they collect dust and have to be specially cleaned. I don’t like cleaning. Vertical blinds, unfortunately, in my opinion, look cheap.

Roller blinds/Holland blinds is not my favourite choice, however, the windows need to have some treatment and the roller blind is the best option for me.

The garage door from Centurion Doors http://www.cgdoors.com.au will Be Colorbond Dune and the front door will be painted White to tie in with the window frames.

We will have BrikMakers http://brikmakers.com/ Bremmer Bay 2c blocks for the remainder of the house.

Paving out the front of the house will be a BrikMakers Granite collection paving bricks Colour Chert and the rear of the property will be grey concrete.

We don’t enjoy gardening and when we are at home, we don’t want to waste our time on things we don’t enjoy. With grano, there will be NO weeds.

The door handles will be Lockwood Levers http://www.assaabloy.com.au to the front door and to the garage internal door we will have a keypad lock that doesn’t require a key, we have this now and it is great.

The front door will be a solid carved door.