In Australia, our hot and dry climate makes a large portion of the country vulnerable to bushfires and we’ve seen the devastating effects these fires can have over the last few months. This makes understanding Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings especially important when you’re renovating or building a new home. The BAL level of a home is evaluated based on the risk bushfires pose in its location. This rating then dictates which materials and products must be used on the home by builders and installers during construction to be compliant.
There are 6 BAL levels that range from low where the risk is insufficient and doesn’t require any specific requirements, all the way to 40 where there is a high risk. These numbers measure radiant heat that is expressed in kilowatts/m2. The lower the heat flux, the lower your BAL rating will be due to a diminished amount of risk.
BAL – 12.5: Ember attack with a heat flux of up to 12.5 kW m2.
BAL – 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers in conjunction with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kW m2.
BAL – 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers in conjunction with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kW m2.
BAL – 40: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers in conjunction with increasing heat flux of up to 40kW m2 with the increased likelihood of exposure to flames.
It’s essential that screens on your home are appropriate for your BAL rating. There are several products on the market that comply with BAL ratings and can be selected based upon your own rating.
SecureView screens are designed to be the top-of-the-line in home security and provide the most comprehensive safety compliance. They provide fire and a heat-resistant barrier to ember attack as well as windborne debris. SecureView screens are compliant for BAL 12.5, 19, 29 and 40 which makes them appropriate for the vast majority of Australian homes.
Bella 316 screens have undergone testing by Exova Warringtonfire AUS and pass compliance for BAL 12.5, 19, 29 and 40 so are appropriate for the vast majority of homes.
Xceed screens are BAL 29 compliant and so are appropriate for some homes.
Importance of Fire Safety
No matter where your home lies on the BAL scale, it’s a good idea to keep vegetation and trees cut back, enact proper fire safety practices, and have a fire safety plan at all times.
With the increasing prevalence of bushfires across Australia, it’s important to be aware of the dangers and requirements needed to protect your home. Having BAL-appropriate screens for your home decreases the likelihood of airborne embers or debris entering your home to alight the interior. This makes installing BAL-compliant screens to your home integral, especially if you’re in an area that’s at-risk for bushfires.
If you have any questions about your screens, our team is always happy to help!