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Timber Windows & Doors & Bushfire Zones

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Teal timber windows and doors can be installed in bushfire zones subject to the level of bushfire risk and the assessment of that risk by a qualified certifier or bushfire consultant (BPAD - Bushfire Planning & Design). Information about building in bushfire rated areas and the location of BPAD certifiers can be found at individual Australian state Bushfire Services websites and the Fire Protection Association Australia website.
State Bushfire Services

Bushfire Zones and Urban & Rural Areas
A property located in an urban area may be subject to the Bushfire Code (AS3959) if it is situated near a national park or bushland. Properties located in rural areas may also be subject to the Bushfire Code depending on the property's circumstance.

Teal recommends all property owners establish whether or not their property is subject to the Bushfire Code before commencing building design. If the property is subject to the code Teal strongly recommends a BPAD certifier be consulted before the building design process is commenced. Buildings not designed to the Bushfire Code are unlikely to meet state and local government certification requirements for habitation. The level of Bushfire Risk or Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assigned to a property determines the specification of timber windows and doors that can be used in buildings. The BAL also influences the positioning of the windows and doors used in a building.
Bushfire Code and Property Owners
The Bushfire Code typically applies to all new buildings and proposed extensions to and/or renovation of existing buildings.

Property owners are usually free to assess the level of bushfire risk using the standards set out in the Building Code of Australia (BCA). However, unless an owners risk assessment or Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is accepted by a BPAD certifier the building will not receive the required compliance certificates. As the Building Code of Australia (BCA) is subject to regular revision Teal strongly recommends building owners consult and retain a BPAD certifier throughout their building project.

Bushfire Attack Level - BAL
Description of Predicted Bushfire Attack and Levels of Exposure
BAL - Low There is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements
BAL - 12.5 Ember attack
BAL - 19 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 12.5 and 19 kW m²
BAL - 29 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux between 19 and 29 kW m²
BAL - 40 Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers together with increasing heat flux with the increased likelihood of exposure to flames
BAL - FZ Direct exposure to flames from fire front in addition to heat flux and ember attack

Using Teal Timber Windows and Doors in Bushfire Zones
Teal timber windows and doors are certified to be installed in bushfire zones up to Australian Standard BAL 29.

The Bushfire Attack Level or BAL assigned to a property determines the design of Teal timber windows and doors. The BAL determines which timber species Teal timber windows and doors can be manufactured from and the type of glass and screen mesh incorporated into the windows and doors. Teal designs timber windows and doors within BAL restrictions to meet approval by BPAD certifiers and acheive the architectural appearance desired by customers.
Teal Timber Window and Door Design
All Teal timber windows and doors are initially designed to Australian Standard AS-2047. Further design modifications are then incorporated to meet the Bushfire Code AS-3959 depending on the BAL assessment of a property or building project.

The Bushfire Code AS-3959 influences the the types of windows and doors that can be used in a project. The BAL assessment also determines the timber species, glass type, screen door type and window screen type used in buildings. The positioning of doors and windows in the building is also controlled by the BAL assessment.
Window and Door Type
The types of windows and doors that can be used in a designated bushfire zone is subject to regular change. Contact Teal to discuss the implications of BPAD certifier determinations on your building plans.
Timber Type
Timber species with a density 650kgs per cubic meter (FE2) or greater qualify as fire resistant species. Many of the timber species in this group are not suitable for timber window and door manufacture due to poor durability and stability. The most commnonly used timber from the group is New Guinea Rosewood. A smalll number of species with a density of 750kgs per cubic meter (FE1) or greater meet the BAL 29 fire resistance level. Kwila/Merbau are the most commonly used species from this group. The most common timber species used in window and door joinery are noted in the table below.

Timber Species Commonly Used in Window and Door Joinery - AS3959
FE2 - Density of 650kg/m3 or greater NG Rosewood, Kwila/Merbau, Blackbutt, Rose Gum, Spotted Gum,
FE1 - Density of 750kg/m3 or greater Kwila/Merbau, Blackbutt, Rose Gum,
FR2 - Greatest Fire resistance Kwila/Merbau, Blackbutt, Spotted Gum,

To view all timber species meeting FE2, FE1 and FR2 standards click on the links below.

All Timber Species Approved for Use in Fire Rated Areas - AS3959
FE2 - Density of 650kg/m3 or greater FE1 - Density of 750kg/m3 or greater FR2 - Greatest Fire resistance

The application of fire retardant coating has been used in the past to increase the fire resistant level of a number of timber species. The use of fire retardant coatings is under currently review. Teal will publish the the results of the review when the findings become available.

Click on the BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) rating appropriate to your property to view more datiled information.

Property/Building Fire Rating

Glass Type
Glass used in timber windows and doors in bushfire zone must meet Australian standard AS1288. Depending on the position of the window or door, the glass used may need to be toughened or laminated and be of a thickness of between 4 and 6mm for most applications. Windows and doors fitted with large panes of glass may require a thickness greater than 6mm.
Window and Door Screens
Screen mesh used in bushfire zones must meet the required BAL rating assigned to a property. Go to Teal's Window and Door Screen Mesh pages to select the appropriate mesh.
Positioning of Windows and Doors in a Building
Windows and doors in buildings within BAL levels 12.5, 19 and 29 are required to have a minimum sill level 0f 400mm above ground level. Windows and doors located above a floor, a deck or a roof with a pitch of less than 18 degrees also attract additional restrictions.

Timber Windows and Doors Compared to Aluminium and PVC Windows and Doors
Regardless of the material used, all windows and doors up to and including BAL 29 are subject to the same regulations. All windows and doors in situations above BAL 29 must have bushfire approved shutters fitted. Timber windows and doors up to and including BAL 29 offer the advantage of lower heat radiation and improved insulation over aluminium and PVC products.
Building Compliance with Bushfire Code Responsibilites
Final bushfire code compliance decisions rest with BPAD certifiers. Owners and builders work with certifiers to ensure buildings are compliant. It is often difficult and expensive to modify buildings to meet compliance standards if a BPAD certifier has not been involved in a building project from its outset.

 

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