Many Australian homes are located in areas prone to bushfire attack. Changes to the BCA in 2011 have increased the stringency around the selection of windows and doors (along with other building materials) for new build or renovation projects in bushfire prone areas. These changes are intended to reduce the risk of loss of life or damage to property in bushfire prone areas.
If you currently live, or plan to build, in a bushfire prone area, there are many precautions you can take to help protect your home and maximise your safety.
Key steps include ensuring an appropriate building site location, using suitable building materials, ensuring proximity to independent water resources, managing the vegetation surrounding the building and clearing debris close to the building. It is also important to ensure your property is accessible for emergency vehicles.
AWS has developed and tested a range of aluminium windows and aluminium doors certified to meet the requirements for a BAL-40 zone. These aluminium windows and aluminium doors are engineered, tested and certified to withstand the conditions likely to occur in a BAL-40 zone and are designed to help you protect your home whilst still delivering unprecedented style, efficiency and functionality for your lifestyle.
Please note, compliance with the requirements for BAL-40 bushfire zones may limit your glass selection options, contact us to discuss your specific requirements. The maximum glass size tested by AWS for BAL-40 compliance is 2.94m2. Products which comply with BAL-40 are suitable for use in BAL-12.5 and BAL-29.
Click on the BAL-40 icon to to view our BAL-40 Rated Products
The importance of tested systems over ‘deemed to satisfy’ cannot be underestimated for windows and doors in bushfire zones.
Tested systems require the window or door to undergo extensive testing in ‘real life’ scenarios. They are tested in laboratories with actual fire and extreme heat applied.
‘Deemed to satisfy’ on the other hand have not undergone any testing. These products are manufactured to a formula in the hope that they will achieve consistent results.
Unlike ‘deemed to satisfy’, tested systems don’t need screens on every part of the window and door. Our BAL-40 Tested Systems only require screens on the parts of the window that open and close.The whole window and the whole door has been tested to BAL-40 to allow this benefit.All our window and door systems that are tested and rated for BAL-40 can be used in lower BAL rated zones. Products rated to BAL40 will list the following badge under their specifications.
We recommend having your local council or a recognised bush fire consultant determine your BAL rating (for additional assistance you can also speak to your local Rural Fire Service).
Besides your BAL rating, you will also need to comply with other criteria such as thermal performance, air infiltration, water penetration and acoustics. These are set out by your state.
All requirements must be complied with.
BAL does not supersede other requirements. Therefore, it is important to select a window supplier that has a wide range of options to accommodate all your needs.
Just because you’re building in a bushfire prone zone doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Aluminium windows offer the most versatile range of solutions.
BAL-40 Product Range
The only limitation is glass panels can’t be bigger than 4.5m²
You have 4 options to comply with BAL rated zones and protect your home and family.
Each of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. The difference comes down to price, look, protection and peace of mind. What do you want to achieve for your home?
We recommend using a tested system because we know it has withstood vigorous physical testing. You also don’t need to be home to enact your fire plan, close your shutters or replace your screens.
For more technical information, please download the BAL-40 Technical White Paper
By our estimates Bal-40 windows cost you approximately 21% more than standard windows. We based this estimate on a case study of a standard 3-bedroom home. Our customers say the extra 21% is well worth the peace of mind to protect your family in the event of a bushfire.
Click below to see Case Study: Understanding the cost of BAL-40 windows
BAL-40 Quick Facts