HIA Industry Update
In May 2014 the NSW Government made changes to bushfire planning regulations to reduce red tape with bushfire assessments and speed up approvals for housing developments.
The changes apply only to new urban release areas in 40 NSW local government areas and do not apply to existing developments in bushfire prone areas.
The changes remove the need for home-builders to do an assessment of bushfire risk when they lodge their DA to build, if the Rural Fire Service has already completed and endorsed an upfront assessment at the subdivision stage.
The changes to the bush fire planning regulations also allow the Rural Fire Service to update bush fire prone land maps more frequently. If land is no longer bush fire prone, assessments have been eliminated altogether.
Bushfire maps for the urban release areas where the bush fire planning regulations apply can be viewed on the Department of Planning & Environment website www.planning.nsw.gov.au. These maps cover most local government areas in the Hunter and Central Coast.
HIA supports measures such as these that reduce the number of risk assessments required during development.
Industry is reminded when designing and constructing homes to meet requirements for bushfire prone land that consideration must be provided to both the Australian Standard AS3959-2009 along with the Rural Fire Service publication Planning for Bush Fire Protection. This included the Appendix 3 Addendum to this document that was amended in late May 2010 to include additional construction requirements beyond those prescribed in AS3959-2009 for:
- Sub floor screening
- Floors, and
- Verandas, Decks, Steps, Ramps And Landings.
For more information and assistance HIA members should contact HIA Planning Services on 1300 650 620 or alternatively visit the NSW RFS website www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
HIA Executive Director – Hunter