Australia–– BUSHFIRE map changes mean too many housing blocks in Hume will require unnecessary and costly building standards with little or no benefit to the homeowner, says the Housing Industry Association.
The State Government created designated Bushfire Prone Areas (BPA) as part of 67 recommendations made by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
They aim to improve bushfire protection for residential buildings by setting specific construction standards.
But Gil King, executive director of the HIA in Victoria, said changes have been made to the BPA maps in Casey, Cardinia, Hume, Melton, Wyndham, Whittlesea and Hobsons Bay.
“It has taken more than 13 months to bring about changes to only some of the maps that were introduced secretly and without consultation in September 2011,” he said.
“It is now more than one-year since the industry roundtable where the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, promised a review of the maps.
“HIA is yet to closely examine these revised maps but we can be certain that there will still be many housing blocks that will require unnecessary and costly building standards with little or no benefit to the homeowner.”
Hume Council’s director of city infrastructure Steve Crawley said updated BPA maps for Hume came into force on October 25.
“What this means is that new homes in a BPA have to be built to a minimum construction standard.
“Landowners are required to build to a minimum Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of 12.5 to help withstand ember attacks.”
The Building Commission has published a guide that gives practical advice to those who wish to upgrade their existing homes to be better protected from bushfires.
It is available at buildingcommission.com.au.
People can also view an interactive map at land.vic.gov.au.
This free service allows people to enter their property address and see if they are in a designated BPA.