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Building in a bush fire area

Bush fire is a major challenge for the community. It has been a natural part of our landscape for thousands of years and remains an ever-present threat. All developments on land that is designated as bush fire prone has a legal obligation to consider bush fire and meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection and AS3959.

This part of the website contains information that provides an understanding of bush fire behaviour, bush fire assessment and the legal framework that governs the planning process for proposed developments on bush fire prone land in NSW. Information in this section is relevant to current and future home owners, developers, planners, councils, fire authorities and other government organisations.

Planning for Bush Fire Protection

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) would like to announce the release of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 (PBP). PBP will enable stakeholders involved in developing on bush fire prone land to address bush fire protection requirements.

Following publishing of PBP 2019, statutory arrangements will be finalised for legislative adoption in NSW. It is expected that PBP 2019 will be adopted into legislation and become effective on 1 March 2020. The NSW RFS has committed to a minimum two month period between the formal announcement that PBP 2019 will be switched on and its becoming effective.

Until the new PBP is legislated, the 2006 edition of PBP will continue to remain effective. PBP 2019 is based on the pre-release version of PBP 2018 and has included changes that have been recommended based on feedback received from relevant stakeholders on its use, interpretation, and application. In the interim, the arrangements currently put in place to use the pre-release version of PBP 2018 will continue except that PBP 2019 will replace the pre-release version of PBP 2018. It should be noted that although PBP 2019 will replace the pre-release version of PBP 2018, the pre-release version of PBP 2018 will remain available on the NSW RFS website since it has been a document that has been able to be relied on for compliance in NSW.

Proposals that comply with the requirements of PBP 2019 can be considered as performance based solutions that comply with PBP 2006. Further information about the use and application of PBP 2019 is available on the NSW RFS website.

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The National Construction Code and AS3959

The 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) came into effect on 1 May 2019 and references AS3959 - 2018. To ensure consistency in relation to building standards on bush fire prone land, an amendment has been made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Savings, Transitional and Other Provisions) Regulation 2017 (EP&A Regulation). This amendment will to continue to apply Australian Standard 3959 – 2009 for the purpose of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Regulation) until PBP 2019 is adopted, since PBP 2006 and the current legislative framework references AS3959 - 2009.

The amendment will allow a person to obtain a complying development certificate or a construction certificate for building work that complies with AS 3959-2009 and any other requirements under the EP&A Regulation.

If you have any questions about PBP or AS3959, please email PBP@rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Where can I find out more?

If you are a resident looking to build or renovate, a business with some questions or looking to make some changes or an industry professional who just wants a bit of guidance, check out our useful guide which will point you in the right direction.