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Bush Fire Ratings Explained

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August 01, 2020

Bush Fire Risks

As we are all aware there is increase in extreme weather conditions over the past few years, severe bushfires have become an all too familiar Australian summer experience. Many Australians live in areas that are prone to bushfire. No one wants to go through the heartbreak of losing your home to a bushfire so its important to understand how your windows and doors can protect your home not just from flames but also embers and airborne debris.

A Kangaroo standing in a bushfire ravaged forrest.

Australian Standards (AS 3959:2018)

As part of its commitment to raising the built performance standard of windows and doors in Australia, In 2018, the Australian Standard (AS) 3959 was updated and republished as AS 3959:2018 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. Under the standard all new homes and renovations are assessed and rated to one of six Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) categories ranging from low to flame zone. Once the BAL has been determined, specific window and doors requirements must be followed, ranging from ember protection to direct flame protection.

Bushfire Attack Levels

AS 3959:2018 specifies six (6) levels of severity expressed as Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) for categorizing building sites:

Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL)Description of Bushfire Attack Level
BAL-LowThere is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements
BAL-12.5Ember Attack
BAL-19Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kWm2
BAL-29Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kWm2
BAL-40Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux and the increased likelihood of exposure to flames
BAL-FZDirect exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack

For each Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL), there are specific standards you need to meet in the construction of your home

Illustration of a house with fire outside

So what is required for your Windows and Doors

When purchasing new windows and doors it is important to ensure that they comply the any bushfire attack levels (BAL). Each window and door is manufactured and tested differently therefore some products require different requirements then others. Here at C-View Windows all of our products full comply with the following features fire rated seals, toughened glass and superior air infiltration, the FlameShield window and door system complies to AS3959 standards. Our windows have been tested and passed with the need for Toughened Glass and Bushfire Rated Screens while our doors have been tested and passed with the need for just Toughened Glass, screens are not required to pass BAL 12.5 to 40 Ratings.

For more details the Australian Glass and Window Association (AGWA) have put together a comprehensive guide to Windows & Doors in Bushfire Prone Areas.

How can C-View Windows help?

At C-View Windows we utilize the FlameShield range of bushfire rated windows and doors. Our FlameShield products comply with BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, and BAL-40.

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