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Planning Regulations Amendment Regulations 2020 - Bushfires

Planning Regulation Amendment Regulations 2020 were gazetted on 18 December 2020. A Table has been introduced that outlines the exemptions for development approvals, which includes single houses and ancillary dwellings. This table changed the way bushfire requirements are referenced. Single Houses and Ancillary Dwellings proposed for lots over 1,100m², in Bushfire Prone areas, are not exempt from requiring a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment and applying Part 10A of the Local Planning Scheme Regulations 2015; being the need for a Development Approval.

On Friday 18 December 2020, the Planning Regulation (Amendment Regulations) 2020 (the Amended Regulations) were gazetted. The Amended Regulations bring about changes to the Local Planning Scheme (LPS) Regulations 2015.

These Regulations were updated on 15 February 2021. A Schedule was introduced that predominantly outlines exemptions of required Development Approvals for certain works and uses regarding residential (and appurtenant) buildings and uses and commercial businesses. Improvements to specific regulatory, approvals and consultation processes were also introduced. 

This is due for gazettal 2 July 2021.

What’s the issue?

One of the changes that will likely affect the residential building industry includes how the bushfire provisions for new construction under Part 10A : Bushfire risk management (Part 10A) are now referenced in the LPS Regulations 2015 (previously being at Clause 61(3); which were not included in the Table of the Amended Regulations.

What has changed?

The February update has changed how Part 10A is referenced.

The previously referenced Clause 61(3) of LPS Regulations 2015 has been carried over into the updated Amended Regulations as Clause 61(6). However, both 61(3) and 61(6) expressly reference Clause 78D(3) of Part 10A of the LPS Regulations 2015, detailed below.

What does this mean?

Clause 78D(3) states that a proposal to construct a single house or ancillary dwelling (both being a Class 1a building) on a lot over 1100m², in an area as mapped within a Bushfire Prone Area overlay, requires a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment per the relevant edition of AS3959 (*) Buildings in bushfire prone areas.

(*) If using BCA2016 (until 30 April 2021), then AS3959:2007 applies; otherwise BCA2019 calls up AS3959:2018.

Even though single houses and ancillary dwellings may be ‘development approval exemptions’, this does not override or remove the need to apply Part 10A for these buildings in bush-fire prone areas despite the requirements not being tabled within the Amended Regulations.

Essentially, there is no change from a bushfire risk assessment perspective.

If any proposed development is located in an area with a BAL-40 or BAL-FZ rating, then an applicant must secure Approval to Commence Development from the relevant Local Government; with an appropriate assessment accompanying the application.

Additionally, any “Vulnerable or High Risk” land uses proposed, as outlined within Clause 6.6 of State Planning Policy 3.7 : Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas, continues to require a BAL assessment and Bushfire Management Plan to accompany and application for Approval to Commence Development if mapped within a Bushfire Prone Area.

For further clarification and information regarding planning regulations or bushfire requirements, HIA members can contact Planning Services on wa_planning@hia.com.au or 9492 9200.

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