If you’re looking at vacant blocks to build on, you might have seen “BAL” used. Those three letters might not seem like much, but the Bushfire Attack Level rating can affect the cost of your brand new home. So, here’s what you need to know before you buy a block of land.
What is a BAL rating?
BAL stands for Bushfire Attack Level. A rating is given to a building to indicate its risk of catching fire, especially around bushfires. For example, a home in an in-fill suburb is likely to have a low rating given it’s surrounded by established homes. In contrast, a home in the hills can have a higher rating as there are more trees and parks.
What are the different BAL ratings?
There are 6 different ratings your property will have based on the potential of an ember attack, radiant heat, and direct flame contact. Homes that have a higher BAL rating need to incorporate features into the build to keep you safe.
- BAL Low: There is little bushfire risk and therefore no extra construction requirements are needed.
- BAL 12.5: The property is susceptible to ember attack with a heat flux up to 12.5kW/m².
- BAL 19: The property is increasingly susceptible to ember attack and burning debris with a heat flux up to 19kW/m².
- BAL 29: The property is increasingly susceptible to ember attack and burning debris with a heat flux up to 29kW/m².
- BAL 40: The property is increasingly susceptible to ember attack and burning debris with a heat flux up to 40kW/m² and increased likelihood of exposure to flames.
- BAL FZ: The property is susceptible to direct exposure to flames in addition to a heat flux greater than 40kW/m².
How do BAL ratings affect the price of my home?
If your home has a BAL rating of 12.5 or higher, your home must feature certain inclusions as per the Australian standards. At Move Homes, these BAL costs form a part of your siteworks.
How do I find out the BAL rating of a block of land?
Most land developers in Perth indicate what blocks have a BAL rating on their price list or stage plan. Plus, you can also check our a map of Bushfire prone areas from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. But your builder will also double check the BAL rating of your block before you proceed.