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AS 3959 2009

 

AS 3959 2009 “Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas” sets out the requirements for external glazing in BAL FZ (Flame Zone) in Section 9.5 (See extract).


Briefly, the legislation provides you with 3 options; Windows and Doors to meet the BAL FZ rating, Windows and Doors to meet the half hour rating, and the option to use shutters with non-fire rated windows and doors.

Option 1: Windows and Doors to meet BAL FZ (Flame Zone) Rating

 

The best option provides for Windows and doors that will provide a BAL FZ rating when tested to AS 1530 Part 8.2, from the outside.

Are shutters required over the top of the window or door?

 

No. It is a stand alone system and does not require the use of external shutters.

Are heat attenuation screens required?

 

External heat attenuation screens or ember screens are required on operable glazing but not on fixed glazing. The advantage of this is that the ember screens will not detract from the amenity and view through the fixed panel and can double as insect screens on the operable panels. The ember screens are specifically designed for bushfire BAL FZ applications and are usually a very economical solution.

Option 2: Windows and Doors to meet half hour FRL rating (-/30/-)

 

The second option provides for Windows and doors that will provide a half hour Fire Resistance Level (FRL) of -/30/- when tested to AS 1530 Part 4, from the outside.

Are shutters required over the top of the window or door?

 

No. It is a standalone system and does not require the use of external shutters.

Are heat attenuation screens required?

 

External heat attenuation screens or ember screens are required on operable glazing but not on fixed glazing. The advantage of this is that the ember screens will not detract from the amenity and view through the fixed panel and can double as insect screens on the operable panels.

 

The disadvantage of the half hour option is that most available half hour FRL glazed systems have not been designed specifically for bushfire applications and may be expensive.

Option 3: Shutters

 

The final option is the use of Bushfire shutters installed in conjunction with a non-fire rated window or door. However, the shutter has to be tested from the outside per AS 1538 part 8.2.

The disadvantages of using shutters include:

  • Fully tested shutters are quite expensive.
  • There has to be enough space either side of the window to accommodate tracks or hinged panels of the shutters.
  • Shutters can detract from the aesthetic quality of your home.

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