With bushfires threatening parts of Sydney and the Blue Mountains, our customers have been wanting to know about the bushfire safety standards of the aluminium windows and doors we supply and install. We have created this page to provide you with answers to some of our most common questions regarding our bushfire rated products, the requirements and how to move forward with your project.
Do you offer bushfire rated products?
Yes. We offer a full range of aluminium windows and doors which meet or exceed the highest BAL-40 standard.
What type of windows and doors are available?
The BetaView BAL-40 rated suite includes the following types of windows and doors:
- Sliding Windows
- Double Hung Windows
- Awning Windows
- Bi-fold Windows
- Fixed Light Windows
- Bi-fold Doors
- Sliding Doors
- Stacker Doors
- Hinged Entry Doors
Some of these are also available in various frame depths; please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
What are BAL Ratings?
BAL stands for ‘Bushfire Attack Level’. BAL ratings were introduced following the devastating bushfires of Victoria in 2009. This arrived as an update to Australian Standard AS3959 and specifies the level of protection required for windows and doors in areas prone to bushfire attack.
Is BAL-40 the highest rating?
The only rating higher than BAL40 is Flame Zone (FZ). This is for property at the highest level of risk from extreme bushfire conditions and requires specialist protection such as drenching systems and radiant heat barriers. If you have an FZ rated property you should contact your local council and the Rural Fire Service for advice.
Below is a table of the BAL ratings along with a short description of each.
|BAL-LOW||Insufficient threat to warrant specific construction requirements. Residents should still undertake basic property preparation.|
|Attack by burning debris (embers) is significant with low levels of radiant heat (not greater than 12.5kW/m2). Radiant heat is unlikely to threaten building elements (i.e. unscreened glass).|
|Attack by burning debris is significant with an increased radiant heat levels (not greater than 19kW/m2) threatening some building elements. Specific construction requirements for protection against embers and radiant heat.|
|Attack by burning debris is significant and radiant heat levels (not greater than 29kW/m2) can threaten building integrity. Specific construction requirements for protection against embers and higher radiant heat.|
|Increased attack from burning debris with significant radiant heat and the potential for flame contact. The extreme radiant heat and potential flame contact could threaten building integrity. Buildings must be designed and constructed in a manner that can withstand the extreme heat and potential flame contact.|
|Radiant heat levels will exceed 40kW/m2. Radiant heat levels and flame contact are likely to significantly threaten building integrity and result in significant risk to residents who are unlikely to be adequately protected. The flame zone is outside the scope of the BCA and the NSW Rural Fire Service may recommend protection measures where the applicant does not provide an adequate performance solution. Other measures such as drenching systems and radiant heat barriers may also be required.|
For further information about BAL ratings, please refer to the Australian Standard AS 3959 – 2009 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. You should consult with your builder or/and local council prior to undertaking any work.
What options are available with your BAL-40 products?
There are many configuration options with regards to hardware, glass, screens and shutters. We can discuss all of this with you in detail at the appropriate time to provide a compliant solution that minimises risk and increases safety for you and your property.
Which colours are available?
All standard colours are available on our BAL-40 rated products.
Is Aluminium the best material to protect against bushfire attacks?
BAL-40 ratings require hardware and frames to be made from metal materials, making aluminium windows and doors a strong choice.
Are louvre windows available?
The only popular window style not to be included at BAL-40 level is the louvre window. This is due to the nature of the design, however we are able to supply a BAL-19 rated louvre window.
If you are building new you will need to undertake a BAL assessment. Anyone can do this but the findings will need to be provided to your building surveyor for approval. Once completed, the details will need to be included in your building permit application.
Further Bushfire Attack Level Information & Advice
The NSW Rural Fire Service explains the methodology behind how a property development is assessed here Site Assessment Methodology. The BAL Risk Assessment Application Kit is another useful resource and further tools are available here Assessment Tools.
This page has been developed to provide general guidance, awareness and education. It should not be viewed as a definitive guide and should be read in conjunction with the full Standard AS3959:2009 (visit www.saiglobal.com.au).
While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, BetaView expressly disclaims all and any liability to any person for anything done in reliance on this content. If you would like advice about the specifics of your particular situation, you are invited to speak with our staff for tailored advice or with your local fire department.