21 Nov Building Granny Flats in Bushfire Zone
Building Granny Flats in Bushfire Zone
Building a granny flat has never been easier now that bushfire zone regulations have been relaxed. Flats that are at bushfire risk now qualify under what’s known as a “Qualifying Development”, and can be approved in as little as 10 days!
Building granny flats in a bushfire zone is much easier than it used to be. Previously, they were disqualified under the SEPP. Now that regulations have been relaxed to fight the housing shortage, homeowners are putting them up in record numbers in areas that were formally banned. There are still a few things you need to know before moving ahead and constructing your granny, but there’s a good chance your property now qualifies for quick approval!
What are bushfire prone areas (BPAs)?
A bushfire prone area is simply an area that is subject or likely to be subject to a bushfire such as a woodland, grassland, or forest. Bushfires are far more common after heavy droughts.
Assessing your area’s risk level is essential to getting approval for your flat.
Assessing Your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)
The Australian Standards classify different intensity levels that a home would experience in a fire based on:
- Vegetation type
- Slope of your property
NSW will place you into a category depending on a number of factors, and require us to place you into a category for approval. If your BAL is the highest (level 40), you cannot be approved under the SEPP and we must instead seek approval from the council.
Here are the varying levels:
- BAL LOW: If your BAL is low, your property should qualify for 10-day approval. We need only pay for an assessment from a qualified assessor, which costs roughly $400.
- BAL MID (up to 29): If you have a middle BAL, then you will still qualify, but your contractor may have to implement certain protections such as toughened glass or corrosion-resistant shutters.
- BAL 40 and Above: NSW won’t support BAL 40 or Flame zone-level developments. The risk of a bushfire igniting and destroying your property and other property around it is too high. Approval may still be possible via the council, but it won’t be easy.
Do I need fire-rated walls?
This is a common question we receive from customers. Fire-rated walls are necessary under the Building Code of Australia if you are building too close to the property boundary or to the main dwelling. This is to prevent fire from spreading from the granny flat to the other house or to other properties. Building in a bushfire zone does not necessarily make fire-rated walls mandatory. It depends on the dimensions of the granny.
Building a granny in a bushfire zone is now possible under the SEPP, and homeowners are taking the opportunity to build a rental property in their backyard in record numbers. If you’d like to have your BAL assessed and know how easy it is to build a granny flat on your property, contact Lounging Lizards today!