Building in Bushfire Prone Areas
The construction requirements for buildings being designed and built in bushfire prone areas is outlined in the Australian Standard AS 3959:2018. When bushfire attack on a building occurs, there are 3 key elements which need to be protected against; burning embers, radiant heat and, in the more extreme cases, direct flame contact. Each element can attack a building individually or in conjunction with each other.
The standard defines a number of different building requirements and window/door make-up’s needed which are in turn contingent on the defined level of bushfire attack, or BAL. There are 6 different Bushfire Attack Levels; Low, 12.5, 19, 29, 40 and Flamezone, or FZ. These different requirements are designed to help protect both the individuals within the building and also the building itself.
An excellent guide to the requirements of windows and doors in bushfire prone areas can be found in the Australian Glass and Window Associations document, ‘A Guide To Windows & Doors In Bushfire Prone Areas’
Providing a Window and Door Solution to AS 3959:2018
Compliance to the building requirements for each BAL set out in AS3959:2018 can be satisfied by either
- Meeting particular Deemed to Satisfy (DTS) requirements
- Achieving the required level of performance by testing to AS 1530.8.1. Within this testing protocol, successfully testing to BAL 40 also allows for that particular solution to be applied to buildings in BAL’s Low – 29, but not FZ as the extreme nature of the bushfire in Flamezone requires a separate test procedure.
The Kömmerling Solution
Kömmerling first successfully tested a range of uPVC window and door systems to BAL 40 in 2010 and has subsequently has had the results independently assessed and updated to bring the results in line with the requirements of AS3959:2018. As such, we have a range of bushfire resistant fixed and opening windows, hinged doors and PremiDoor Lift & Slide systems suitable for installation in buildings within BAL Low, 12.5, 19, 29 and 40.
As the number of homes required to meet the rigorous requirements of bushfire resistant windows and doors as outlined in AS3959:2018 increases, installing systems which are specifically designed to withstand the effects of a significant attack level of up to and including BAL 40 whilst minimising the need for any compromise on design, acoustic performance or levels of energy efficiency has never been more important.
Selecting windows and doors which have been fabricated and installed using Kömmerling uPVC profiles doesn’t just mean selecting systems which have been tested, certified and assessed by one of the World’s leading independent bushfire testing establishments to help protect you in case of bushfire attack, it also means you are selecting uPVC window and door systems which provide outstanding protection from noise, heat gain and heat loss at all other times.
Exposed (Outer) face of a Kömmerling PremiDoor after a BAL 40 AS 1530.8.1 Bushfire Resistance Test
Unexposed (Inner) face of a Kömmerling PremiDoor after a BAL 40 AS 1530.8.1 Bushfire Resistance Test
Unlike most other uPVC profiles available in Australia, the Kömmerling range of uPVC profiles used to fabricate windows and doors for BAL 40 rated applications have been successfully accredited and certified under the Vinyl Council of Australia's Industry Code of Practice (ICP).
As such, with the ICP setting defined targets for profile composition, weathering resistance, colour and strength requirements, it’s re-assuring to know that the Kömmerling windows and doors which have been installed to protect you during a bushfire, will not fade, crack or warp during everyday use; crucially important when one considers that Australia has the highest level of solar radiation per square metre of land of any continent.
Our European manufactured and locally stocked uPVC profiles, in conjunction with locally available European manufactured hardware and Low E based high performance toughened glass IGU’s, are fabricated into windows and doors across Australia by our network of Kömmerling Window fabricators. This ensures not only some of the highest quality, but also some of the highest performing energy efficient, noise reducing and bushfire resistant window and door systems available.