Course Title: Conduct, interpret and apply a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2019

Course Code: ARCH5223

Course Title: Conduct, interpret and apply a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment

School: 320T Architecture & Urban Design

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6161 - Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural)

Course Contact: Catherine Ciavarella

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4819

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

David Anderson


Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit of competency describes the outcomes required to conduct, interpret and apply a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment to the design and construction of buildings. This includes relevant theoretical knowledge of fire, understanding of the regulatory framework, assessing a location and education of, and consultation with clients about the benefits of achieving the required fire resistance.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU22470 Conduct, interpret and apply a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment


Analyse cause and effect of bushfires

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Requirements relevant to undertaking a BAL assessment are identified and complied with, including occupational health and safety (OHS)/work health and safety (WHS), legislative, organisational and certification requirements. 1.2 Bushfire behaviour is analysed to determine potential impact on buildings and the environment in bushfire-prone areas. 1.3 The impact of topography and weather conditions are analysed to determine the risk of bushfires occurring and potential impact on human life and protection of buildings. 1.4 Sources of combustion are identified to determine how they influence bushfires. 1.5 Stakeholders are consulted and information sources accessed to identify benefits of undertaking a BAL assessment. 1.6 Responsibilities of local, state and national authorities are reviewed to determine their role in minimising the impact of bushfires.


Correlate information about site conditions

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Objectives of legislation and standards covering buildings in bushfire-prone areas are reviewed to identify measures to improve performance of buildings when subjected to bushfire attack. 2.2 The location of the site is identified to determine the Fire Danger Index (FDI) for the site. 2.3 Site vegetation classification, vegetation type and exclusions are identified to determine potential contribution to supporting fire progress. 2.4 The distance of vegetation from buildings is measured to determine the level of bushfire risk to the site. 2.5 The slope of the land under the classified vegetation is measured to determine the direct influence on the severity of a bushfire.


Determine the BAL for site

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The FDI, vegetation classification and type, distance of vegetation and slope are used to select the BAL applicable to the site. 3.2 The BAL assessment relevant to the site is checked to confirm accuracy. 3.3 The BAL assessment limitations are communicated to client and benefits of achieving required fire resistance is discussed. 3.4 Details of the BAL assessment are documented and reported according to organisational requirements.


Integrate bushfire protection requirements into building design and construction

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Building designs and individual design features are analysed to determine their resistance to bushfire and reduce the level of risk to occupants. 5.2 Features and benefits of materials are analysed to determine their suitability for the BAL assessment. 5.3 Design and construction requirements for buildings in bushfire-prone areas reflect the outcomes of the BAL assessment and the Australian Standards.


Interpret relevant bushfire information

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Requirements relevant to applying a BAL assessment in a bushfire-prone area and in a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) to the design and construction process are identified and complied with, including OHS/WHS. 4.2 Standard definitions associated with bushfires are explained in the context of building design. 4.3 Purpose of applying a BAL assessment is determined to inform design decisions. 4.4 Effects of bushfires on humans and buildings are explained as they relate to each BAL. 4.5 Risks associated with each BAL are analysed to determine impact on building design, materials and construction methods.

Learning Outcomes

This unit is aimed at determining and applying Bushfire Attach Level (BAL) assessment to building design, material selection and construction methods of a site by following steps to assess the bushfire risk of the site and using this information to select the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) from appropriate tables of information using Method 1 (the simplified bushfire risk method from AS 3959.)

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities will be a combination of:
Studio sessions
Site Visit
plus supported by resources on Canvas.

Teaching Schedule

Conduct, Interpret & Apply BAL Lecture Program.


Semester 2, 2019 Monday: 8:30am -10:30pm, Room: 12.12.02.  Lecturer: David Anderson


Week Date (week beginning)     Course Content

2          22nd July           Introduction:

•        Introduction to Conduct & Apply a BAL Assessment

•        Introduction to AS 3959

•        Introduction to land.vic

•        Introduction to Bushfire Prone Areas & Bushfire Management Overlays (BMO)


4          29th July            BAL Codes and standards:

•        AS 3959

•        Bushfire codes and standards and their relationship to building design & construction

•        Building design considerations

6                12th August       BAL Codes and standards:

•        BAL construction systems

•        BAL site assessment form

•        Site requirements


7                19th August       BAL Assessment site considerations

•        Guest speaker from CFA

•        Background information on bushfire history impact & behaviour

•        Bushfire Management Overlay

•      Designated bushfire prone areas 

8                26th August       Site Visit to study vegetation & topography. (Details will be issued in 19th Aug lecture)

                                    BAL Vegetation Assessment Project   

 Mid Semester Break

 12        7th Oct              Interpret and Apply BAL Project Intro

                                    Site Visit discussion.

•        Review & Discuss site visit

•        Topography, Vegetation, Access

•        BAL Site Assessment Project 


14        21st Oct             Interpret and Apply BAL Project, briefing 2


14             22nd Oct           Interpret and Apply BAL Project, review


15             28th Oct             Submit Interpret and Apply BAL project 3


This program may be subject to minor amendments.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Australian Standard

AS 3959

Overview of Assessment

This competency will be assessed using standard work practices relevant to a design drafting workplace. Assessment of essential required knowledge will usually be conducted in an off-site context. Assessment will comply with relevant regulatory or Australian Standards’ requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment tasks in this course are both formative and summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. All Summative assessment tasks in this course must be completed satisfactorily to be deemed overall competent in this course.
Feedback throughout the course may be written, verbal or a combination of both.


Project 1 Unit Knowledge questions (Consisting of a set of 3 quiz and short answer questions)
Project 2 - BAL site Assessments
Project 3 - Produce measured drawings for  existing conditions.

Students will be deemed Competent or Not Yet Competent in the assessment tasks, Satisfactory or Not Yet Satisfactory in the assessable tasks.

You will receive feedback with verbal and/or written evaluation of your progress within class time. The submitted projects will be assessed with written feedback as well as a quality indicator that relates to separate components of the project and the overall outcome.

Courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment


Competency Achieved


Not Yet Competent


Did Not Submit for assessment






Assessment Matrix

An assessment matrix demonstrating alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency is available from the course Coordinator - David Anderson.

Other Information

Recommended Attendance of all lectures and studios and site visit are required to ensure success in this course

Course Overview: Access Course Overview