Bushfire rated
windows & doors

Bushfire rated
windows & doors

Understanding Bushfire Ratings

Since the devastating bushfires in 2009, construction guidelines for homes nationwide have been updated. The new guidelines, implemented separately in each state, relate to preventative methods against bushfires.
The system revolves around the bushfire attack level (BAL) rating given to a property. Local councils use the code AS 3959–2009 to determine what rating a property will receive, based on that property’s proximity to bushlands.

Bushfire Attack Levels

BALs change as properties are located in closer proximity to bushlands. These are the levels in existence today:
  • BAL – LOW

This is not a bushfire risk zone. There are no related construction requirements.

  • BAL – 12.5

This zone is concerned with protection from radiant heat up to 12.5kW/m2. Ember attack and radiant heat are the main concerns, especially as sites may be less than 100m from the source of the bushfire attack.

  • BAL – 19

This zone is mainly concerned with ember attacks and radiant heat up to 19kW/m2.

  • BAL – 29

This zone has an increased risk of both ember attack and radiant heat over BAL 19 zones. The heat flux may be up to 29kW/m2.

  • BAL – 40

This zone faces the same risks as BAL 29, with increased heat flux up to 40kW/m2. Burning debris is also a risk, as well as exposure to bushfire flames.

  • BAL – FZ

This is the highest BAL rating. It has a high risk of exposure to bushfire flames on the fire front. There is a risk of ember attack as well as heat flux greater than 40kW/m2, with no upper limit to the flux that may be experienced.

Bush Fire — Joinery in Central Coast NSW
Bluestone House Small Bed — Joinery in Central Coast NSW

Construction Standards

With each varying BAL rating, there are different standards of materials required. For higher BAL rating areas, specific guidelines are followed to make homes as safe as possible to prevent catastrophic fire damage.
As members of WADIC (Window & Door Industry Council Inc.), we follow the recommendations and guidelines released by the body of experts. Research was conducted on various styles of doors and windows to test their fire resistance. Based on the specific BAL rating for a residential property, guidelines for glazing, glass types and timber types vary.

Our Timber Species

Depending on the species of timber used, the BAL rating may vary. Some species are certified as appropriate for higher BAL regions, including the following that we use:
  • Jarrah
  • Merbau
  • Blackbutt
  • Spotted Gum
  • Grey Ironbark
  • New Guinea Rosewood (up to BAL 19)
  • Manilkara (Pacific Jarrah)
All doors and windows are glazed in accordance with construction regulations.
Bluestone House Dining Area — Joinery in Central Coast NSW

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the BAL impact window construction?

Depending on the BAL of an area, there are specific types of timber and glass that must be used during the construction process.


How do I determine the best materials for my construction project with regards to the BAL in my region?

It is always recommended to speak with a professional who has experience with window construction in the region. Not only will such professionals understand the various materials on offer, but their knowledge of the BAL means they can inform you about the best options within your budget.