With the increase in frequency of bush fires and expansion of homes and other buildings into rural Australia, fire protection has never been more important. In many parts of Australia the construction of new buildings and additions to existing buildings will be assessed as being in a bushfire area along with their level of risk, and given a Bal rating (bush fire attack level).
The Victorian Government has released an online tool (http://services.land.vic.gov.au/landchannel/content/addressSearch) to allow landowners to search their address and determine whether or not their property is in a designated bushfire prone area, with the majority of Victoria falling into this area. If your property does fall into a bushfire prone area, a minimum construction standard applies to all new buildings built on that land, which states they are required to build to a minimum Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of 12.5. However you still may need to build to a higher BAL rating depending on certain attributes of your property. You can get a rough estimate on the BAL rating of your property by using this online calculator (http://www.balreport.com.au/).
There are 6 recognized levels of ratings; from BAL (low), BAL 12.5, BAL 19, BAL 29, and Bal 40 to BAL FZ (highest). The relevant Australian standard AS3959 provides the requirements built in these varied bushfire risk areas.
For some applications, AS 3959 restricts the use of timber in any area greater than Bal 12.5 unless it is one of the following 7 recognized and approved bush fire resistant timbers:
Outlast timber Supplies every one of these timbers with the exception of Merbau (as it is a rain forest timber from ecologically sensitive South East Asia) and can supply them in cladding, decking, posts or structural timber.