Bushfire recovery - planning and building assessment

Measures have been put in place to streamline assessment processes and provide faster approvals for people to repair or build new homes and outbuildings damaged in bushfires across South Australia.

A Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit has been established to guide people through the process from start to finish. To access this free professional advisory service call 7109 7060.

Planning or building approvals - when do you need them

Planning approval is not required

If buildings on your land have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfire, planning approval is not required for:

  • demolition
  • temporary installation of a shipping or storage container for storage of goods and equipment
  • temporary accommodation in the form of a caravan that is not fixed to the land.

Planning approval is required if buildings are state or local heritage listed or is located in a historic conservation zone.

Planning approval is required

Planning approval is required  for:

  • your application will be considered complying development and approved within 10 days for:
    • temporary accommodation in the form of a fixed caravan or another type of transportable/demountable accommodation
    • a new house or other building in the same location with the same size, appearance and layout
  • any new house
    • in a Medium Bushfire Risk Area will  be considered complying if bushfire requirements in your local council development plan are met
    • in a High Bushfire Risk Area, even if you plan to rebuild the same house in the same location
    • or other building where you propose to build in a different location on your land, or different size, appearance or layout.

Building approval is not required

If buildings on your land have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfire, building approval is not required for:

  • work to fix minor damage to your house such as smoke damage
  • temporary structures to store goods and equipment
  • temporary accommodation in the form of a caravan that is not fixed to the land.

Building approval is required

Building approval is required for other building work, including:

  • temporary accommodation in the form of a fixed caravan or other transportable or demountable building or structure
  • building a new:
    • house
    • carport
    • verandah
    • shed
    • pool or other structure
  • renovating or making additions to existing buildings
  • internal alterations involving any structural changes to existing buildings.

Repairing or building a new house in bushfire risk areas

Repairing your current house

The effects of fire are not always obvious, it is recommended that you have your house inspected by a professional to check it is structurally sound.

If your house is older and you intend to repair it you may need to build to a higher standard of bushfire protection.

You may need building approval if the damage to your house is significant.

Building a new house

Building a new house requires planning and building assessment.

Depending on your bushfire risk may mean you need to meet additional requirements.

To find out if your house is located in a high, medium or general bushfire risk area go to the South Australian Property and Planning Atlas (SAPPA) and type in the address of your property then click the info button and under bushfire protection area the bushfire risk level will be shown.

Planning assessment

Planning takes into account things like siting of your house, clearance from vegetation, access to and from your property and proximity to other activities like farming or industry.

In a General or Medium Bushfire Risk Area, you are required to comply with your council’s bushfire hazard requirements:

  • if you rebuild the same house in the same location your application will be complying development and approved within 10 days provided your house complies with your council’s bushfire hazard requirements
  • if you rebuild a substantially different house or in a different location on your land your application will need to be assessed, and again you will need to meet your council’s bushfire hazard requirements.

In High Bushfire Risk Areas, all new houses will be assessed and meet building rules, a Bushfire Attack Level assessment ensures your new house is built to your council’s bushfire hazard requirements.

Bushfire Attack Level

In a High Bushfire Risk Area, you will need a Bushfire Attack Level Assessment (BAL) to help make decisions about siting your home and how to construct it.

BAL assessments are conducted at no cost to the applicant for properties in High Bushfire Risk Areas where a house has been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfire.

Once you have a BAL assessment, the Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit will work with you to make the best decisions about siting, access and other bushfire measures for your new house.

Siting your house in the safest location on your land will significantly speed up your assessment.

If you choose a risky house site on your land, CFS will assess the safety of your chosen location and provide advice.

A BAL will help your designer or builder understand additional construction measures you may need for approval under Building Rules.

The requirements of Minister’s Specification SA78 Additional Requirements in Designated Bushfire Prone Areas (26.2 KB PDF) will need to be considered.

Building assessment

Once your designer or builder has completed your plans, building approval can be sought from either your council or a private certifier.

Your council or the certifier will assess your new house against the Building Rules to ensure it has been designed to the necessary standard, including bushfire protection requirements.

Planning and building fee concessions and free services

Assessment cost concessions

Fees for planning and building assessment in bushfire risk areas would usually be $1000 or more and a BAL assessment around $500 depending on where you live.

South Australians affected by bushfires are being offered concessions by the Government and local councils Assistance with BAL assessments for people whose houses have been destroyed or substantially damaged by bushfire.

To find out if concessions are available to you for a bushfire reconstruction project, please contact the Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit or your local council.

Free design, planning, building and environmental services

A range of design, planning, building and environmental services are being offered free of charge to support South Australia’s bushfire recovery. Get in touch with your Local Recovery Centre for information on how you can access these services:

Planning and building application advice

Contacts

For bushfire rebuilding, planning and building application support or advice contact :

Planning and Building Assessment Recovery Unit (DIT)
Level 5, 50 Flinders Street 
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 7109 7060
Email: dpti.bushfirerecoveryunit@sa.gov.au

SA Country Fire Service
Level 7, 60 Waymouth Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 8115 3300


Checklists

The checklists below outline criteria that will help you when making an application for planning or building approval where required. Providing the right information upfront will speed up your assessment.

Demolition checklist

Temporary installation of a shipping or storage container checklist

Temporary caravan accommodation checklist

Temporary accommodation checklist

New dwellings and structures checklist


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Page last updated 18 August 2020

Provided by:
Attorney-General's Department - PLUS
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/planning-and-property/land-and-property-development/building-rules-regulations-and-information/bushfire/rebuilding-in-areas-affected-by-bushfires
Last Updated:
18/08/20
Printed on:
20/09/20
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2020
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