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Your Approval Pathway

There are two pathways for approvals:

  1. Development application – this is the usual process through council OR
  2. Complying development – a fast-track process available for homes with lower level bush fire risk

Option One


Development Application

Before you start...

Have you spoken to:

  • your insurance company?
  • your bank?
  • your council?

Each of these organisations will be able to provide advice on the best way to proceed and may have special processes in place for you.

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One: Establish Your Level of Risk

Your first step is to establish your level of risk. This is known as your bush fire attack level, or BAL.

Speak to a NSW RFS officer about help obtaining your BAL. You may be able to reduce your level of risk through changing the site location of your home. You can ask for professional advice on this.

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Two: Design Your Home

You will need to prepare detailed plans to progress your development application. You will need to think about the kind of house you want, as well as the bush fire protection measures for your home. You can prepare these plans yourself but many people find it easier to work with an architect or builder. This process usually takes a considerable amount of time and involves a lot of detail.
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Three: Finalise Your Documents

Your council will have a checklist on what documentation you need to submit for a development application. You will need to include your BAL from Step One. We also recommend you prepare paperwork to lodge your construction certificate at this stage. You will need this before you can start building.
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Four: Submit Your Documents

Lodge the development application with council.
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Five: Get Approval

The approval process may take some time. Council may have questions you will need to answer before approval is granted – this is normal.
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Six: Start Building

Once you have an approved development application and construction certificate you can begin the construction process.
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Seven: Maintain Your Property

Once you have finished construction and have moved in, you will need to maintain your home to help protect it from bush fire. This includes regular landscaping and garden maintenance.

Option Two


Complying Development

Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straight forward residential, commercial and industrial development. As long as the application meets specific criteria, it can be determined by either council or an accredited certifier – without the need for a full development application.

You can only choose this option for development on lower risk bush fire prone land (what’s known as BAL Low, 12.5, 19 or 29). Higher risk areas (known as BAL 40 or BAL Flame Zone) will need to go through the development application process.

Before you start...

Have you spoken to:

  • your insurance company?
  • your bank?
  • your council?

Each of these organisations will be able to provide advice on the best way to proceed and may have special processes in place for you.

Check Box

One: Establish Your Level of Risk

Your first step is to establish your level of risk. This is known as your bush fire attack level, or BAL.

Speak to a NSW RFS officer about help obtaining your BAL. You may be able to reduce your level of risk through changing the site location of your home. You can ask for professional advice on this.

Check Box

Two: Design Your Home

You will need to create plans for your house that comply with relevant policies and codes. You will need to think about the kind of house you want, as well as the bush fire protection measures for your home. You can prepare these plans yourself but many people find it easier to work with an architect or builder.
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Three: Finalise Your Documents

The key document you need is a BAL risk assessment certificate. You can get this from council or from an accredited bush fire consultant. Include paperwork for engineering details at this stage. You will need this for this type of approval.
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Four: Submit Your Documents

You can lodge your complying development certificate application to council or a private certifier.
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Five: Get Approval

You will need confirmation from the council or private certifier that your designs comply with the relevant requirements. If the design doesn’t comply, you can still go through the development application process.
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Six: Start Building

Once you have approval you can begin the construction process.
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Seven: Maintain Your Property

Once you have finished construction and have moved in, you will need to maintain your home to help protect it from bush fire. This includes regular landscaping and garden maintenance.

Part Three: Your Protection Measures →