The ubiquitous backyard deck is representative of the typical Australian’s love for the outdoors. Integral to almost every home design scheme, the deck seamlessly connects indoor living and the outdoor environment. However, building a deck can be more complex than a simple DIY project, especially when it involves a bushfire-prone region.
Specific standards and guidelines apply when any structure is constructed in a bushfire zone. Decks, for instance, must comply with the fire safety requirements set out in AS 3959-2009 – Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas; Section 2 of which establishes the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) metric that measures the degree of risk of a building’s exposure to ember attack, radiant heat, and direct flame contact.
BAL ratings in ascending order of risk include BAL-LOW, BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, and BAL-FZ.
Installing bushfire-safe decks
Constructing a deck in an environment rated BAL-19 and higher requires compliance with the following:
BAL-19: Decks must have an enclosed sub-floor space, which should be non-combustible or bushfire-resistant within 200mm horizontally and 400mm vertically of a glazed element.
BAL-29: Decks must have an enclosed sub-floor space or bushfire-resistant supports, and be built using non-combustible or bushfire-resisting materials.
BAL-40: Decks must have an enclosed sub-floor space or non-combustible supports, while the decking must be non-combustible.
BAL-FZ: Decks must have an enclosed sub-floor space or non-combustible supports, while the decking must be non-combustible with no gaps between the planks.
DecoDeck aluminium decking system
DecoDeck from Decorative Imaging is an aluminium decking system strongly recommended for building decks in bushfire-prone areas as an alternative to timber. Approved as a compliant material for building decks in demanding BAL-FZ environments, DecoDeck aluminium decking is available in a choice of woodgrain finishes to replicate the look of a real timber deck.
DecoDeck combines the natural beauty of timber with the superior strength, durability and fire resistance of aluminium, helping create stylish, yet low maintenance timber-look decks that will be able to easily withstand the risk of ember attack and direct exposure to flames. No sanding, painting or staining is required post-installation, reducing maintenance.
Key features of the Australian made DecoDeck aluminium decking system include 2.5mm thick ribbed aluminium profiles; DecoWood marine grade powder-coated finish for high durability, corrosion resistance and design flexibility unmatched by natural timber; sublimation process during powder-coating ensuring wear resistance; realistic, detailed woodgrain available in over 150 different DecoWood finishes; resistance to warping, twisting, rotting, or splintering with age or exposure; and 12-year warranty.