JELD-WEN Australia offers an extensively tested range of fire-retardant windows and doors that meet BAL 40 certification for homeowners and builders involved in construction in bushfire-prone areas.
While the Australian bushland is the ideal setting to build dream homes, there is the ever present threat of bushfires that needs to be considered when building or renovating.
The Australian Standard 3959 updated in response to the tragic Black Saturday fires in Victoria in 2009 prescribes building and construction requirements for bushfire-zoned areas, covering all aspects of the external built environment including windows and doors.
The updated standard now has five levels of severity, expressed as Bushfire Attack Levels or more commonly referred to as ‘BAL’. The AS3959 was updated to establish a construction technique for buildings to withstand the attack of bushfires.
Making sense of BAL
In assessing the likely bushfire threat to a building, AS3959 requires a review of the fire danger index, vegetation type, distance of the building from vegetation, and the effective slope under the vegetation. Following this assessment, each elevation of the building is designated a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL):
- BAL 12.5: Low
- BAL 19: Moderate
- BAL 29: High
- BAL 40: Very high
- BAL FZ: Flame zone
Each BAL category has prescriptive based and performance based options for the doors and windows to enable a range of alternative solutions to meet the requirements of AS3959.
Prescriptive alternatives involve the fitting of a metal screen/bushfire shutter, or the construction of a window or door system to defined construction methods for the frame, glass and hardware.
Performance based alternatives require certification and use AS1530 tests on elements of construction for buildings exposed to simulated bushfire attack, to define the performance requirements for window and door systems.
Fire-retardant doors or windows tested and certified under AS1530 may be used in any BAL category up to the approved category and up to a maximum height of 3000mm.
To determine a home’s BAL rating and any special requirements for building in a particular area, builders and homeowners must consult their local council, government or local fire authority in their state.
Additional costs will be involved in construction for homeowners needing to build a house rated BAL 29 or higher. Online resources are available to assist homeowners with their planning and the right selection of products to ensure their house meets the code requirements.
JELD-WEN Australia and BAL 40 windows and doors
JELD-WEN Australia offers Airlite, Corinthian and Stegbar brands of windows and doors designed and extensively tested to meet BAL 40 certification. Each brand’s BAL 40 range combines innovative design with stringent construction and quality components, all complying with AS3959 and AS1530.8.1 specifications and independently tested by the CSIRO.
The Stegbar and Airlite premium BAL 40 ranges feature cedar, aluminium and merbau windows and doors, giving homeowners peace of mind against the threat of bushfires and eliminating the need for bulky shutters, fire curtains or screens on fixed glazing.
The Corinthian range of entrance doors includes 15 beautifully crafted doors that can be painted or stained, a choice of four different door handle options and a hardwood or Enviro-Seal sill. The entrance door system includes a door with an innovative fire retardant core, hardwood frame, a specialised glazing and beading system and unique sealing between the door and the frame.