BAL Ratings & what it means for your build photo

BAL Ratings & what it means for your build

What is a BAL rating?


A BAL rating is the Australian Standard for measuring the risk of a home's exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact.


What does it mean to me?

Basically, your home's BAL rating is going to determine the construction and building requirements for your project. 


There are 6 levels of the BAL rating and you may not have the same rating for the whole house, it is often broken up into elevations. 


The main thing to know is, the BAL rating will dictate the materials and building design elements for each elevation.



Does this only apply to the new extension/renovation/build? 


No! Your DA Consent will most likely include a requirement to upgrade the existing home to comply with its new BAL rating so keep that in mind!



We are about to start designing, what should we do? 


Firstly, know your BAL rating before you design your project! The price of the build may significantly increase depending on your BAL rating so this is something you will need to factor into your budget. 


If your BAL rating is BAL-FZ, one of the requirements is to have fire shutters on every single window which we have seen quoted for $50k plus! Or FZ rated glass which can be $200k plus! This is going to have huge impacts on your build cost.


Ask your builder & designer if they have dealt with your level of BAL rating before, particularly if any of your elevations are a BAL40 or BAL-FZ. If they have designed or built something within that rating before, they should have tips on how to help minimise the costs where possible with different design elements or building materials. 



We are seeing higher BAL ratings more often in the Illawarra Region. It is definitely something to look into before purchasing a home that you’re looking to renovate or knock down & rebuild. 


Unfortunately there is no way around it, unless your build complies to the BAL rating, the certifier will be unable to sign off.


This is one of the reasons we are focusing a lot more on getting involved at the beginning of the design process. There are many building requirements that can affect the cost of the build, which means being involved in the design can ensure it is kept on budget and at the end of the process you have a design that you can build, not a design over budget & out of reach.


For more information on how your BAL rating is going to affect your build or how we can help you during your design process, get in touch!


Best wishes,

James Mildner
Builder | Director