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Free access to buildings standard for bushfire-prone areas

Monday 09, Mar 2020

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Free access to buildings standard for bushfires-prone areas | NSCA Foundation enewsletter the Safe-T-BulletinThe Australian Government and Standards Australia will jointly fund access for all Australians to AS 3959:2018 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas until 30 June 2021. The move follows the devastation of recent bushfires and is part of a measure to protect Australian homes and businesses from future bushfire events. The partnership waives the access fee for AS 3959:2018, a key standard referenced in the National Construction Code, available through Standards Australia’s distributors.

“Australians who are rebuilding their lives or planning new construction following the recent devastating bushfires should not have to worry about the cost of ensuring that their families are protected under the latest bushfire standard,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews MP said. Andrews described the move as a simple and practical means of offering assistance, and one that formed part of a broader range of measures that are being provided through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

AS 3959:2018 specifies requirements for building construction in bushfire-prone areas and is designed to improve these buildings’ resistance to attack from burning embers, flame contact, radiant heat or a combination of the three. On the funding initiative, Andrews also said: “We are pleased to be able to work with Standards Australia to ensure that this key standard is made available to everyone during the critical planning and rebuilding phase. I would also like to thank our peak standards body, Standards Australia, and its distributors — for making this initiative possible.”

“This is a difficult time for many individuals and communities,” said Standards Australia Chief Executive Officer Adrian O’Connell. “When the scale of the disaster became apparent, I wanted to make sure that Standards Australia was directly contributing to the broader Australian response,” he added. “I am very proud that we have been able to announce this.” The announcement follows the introduction by Standards Australia of a new distribution and licensing framework geared towards providing more options for delivering access to Australian Standards.

Standards Australia’s ‘Distribution and licensing framework policy’ was launched last year and has been a key part of Standards Australia’s funding support initiatives. “When we announced our new distribution and licensing framework in November, being able to announce a partnership like this so quickly is a significant achievement for all involved,” O’Connell said. “I would like to thank Minister Andrews and her Department for working with us over the last few weeks to make this happen.

“It’s the nature of Standards Australia to support our nation and having control over our content has given us the opportunity to do this,” O’Connell said. O’Connell also commented on the impact of the bushfires on the built environment. “Everything that we’ve heard so far is telling us that houses built to the standard performed well,” O’Connell said. “We’re currently looking for data about how AS 3959:2018 homes held up and working with relevant committees to support their ongoing work to help in this rebuilding phase.”

A PDF of AS 3959:2018 will be available to all Australians, with Standards Australia expected to make a further announcement on access points in the coming weeks.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/nazariykarkhut