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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 have a legal obligation to consider bush fire and meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and AS3959 – 2009.

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

Planning for Bush Fire Protection

In 2018 the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) prepared a pre-release version of Planning for Bush Fire Protection (PBP) 2018. The purpose of the pre-release version was to provide a transition period between the current 2006 edition of PBP and the new edition. This period has provided an opportunity to road test the new PBP.

The adoption of the new edition of PBP did not occur on 1 May when the 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) came into effect. At this stage, the legislative adoption of the new PBP is anticipated to occur in September 2019.

Importantly, until the new PBP is published and legislated, the current 2006 edition of PBP will continue to remain in force.

The transitional arrangements that were put in place when the pre-release version of PBP 2018 was published have been extended. Proposals that comply with the requirements of the pre-release version of PBP 2018 can still to be considered as a performance solution that complies with PBP 2006. Further information about the use and application of the pre-release edition of PBP 2018 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. This amendment supports the ongoing operation of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006. The transitional 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 Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 is adopted later this year.

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 PBP2018@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.