Overview of Bush Fire requirements for screens

Since the Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria in 2009, the Government have increased the requirements related to the screening of glass on homes in affected areas and have also rezoned the areas which need to comply with the various levels
bushfire

Bushfire Screens

In short, there are 6 levels of “Bushfire Attack Level” (BAL) and each level has a specific requirement relating to how the glass is screened and with what materials. We can provide your screen requirements up to and including BAL-40.

BAL Level Risk of windborne ember attack and burning debris and/or direct exposure to flames from a fire front
BAL-Low Very low
BAL-12.5 Low
BAL-19 Moderate
BAL-29 High
BAL-40 Very high
BAL-FZ Extreme
Benefits of Bush Fire rated screens:
  • Comply with the building permit requirements by fitting screens that comply with the requirements of the Australian Standard AS3959-2009.
  • Reduces the risk that windborne embers or flying debris will penetrate glass and cause your soft furnishings to ignite.
Drawbacks of Bush Fire rated screens:
  • Additional cost of fitting screens and/or materials to glass you would otherwise not have screened.
  • Sometimes the only economic method to install the screens might necessitate that the screens aren’t removable, making cleaning the glass more difficult.
  • Because compliant screens at BAL-12.5 and above require metal mesh, the quality of finish and potential for kinks/dents and sagging mesh increases. This is a limitation in the nature of these mesh types and not a reflection on the amount of care we take in making the screens.
  • In our opinion, some BAL compliant screens may make escape through open windows more difficult in an emergency.
What makes a screen BAL compliant? (in simple terms):
  • Essentially as the BAL risk increases, more fire resistant materials are required and more glass on the building is required to be screened.
  • BAL-Low has no requirements at all.
  • BAL-12.5 requires a metal frame and aluminium mesh
  • BAL-19 requires a metal frame and aluminium mesh
  • BAL-29 requires glass below 400mm from the ground is required to be screened and the frame is to be metal and the mesh at least aluminium.
  • At BAL-40 both the opening and fixed portions of all glass need to be screened and the mesh must be Stainless Steel and must be fixed to windows and doors with metal fixings.
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