Mandatory provisions for the construction of new homes in Western Australia’s bushfire-prone areas will apply from May 2015.
Planning Minister John Day said the areas would be identified by the state or local government, or if the house was located within 100 metres of one hectare or more of bushland.
“If land intended for development is located on a bushfire map or close to a large area of bushland, a bushfire hazard assessment will be required,” Mr Day said.
The assessment will identify the bushfire risk level and the Australian Standards to be applied when the new home is constructed.
“These standards are used in many jurisdictions across Australia and include requirements such as the placement of ember screens over evaporative air-conditioner units, window screens and appropriate construction methods,” Mr Day said.
“These measures could make a difference to how severely a home is affected by a bushfire.”
Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis said Fire Commissioner Wayne Gregson would lead the mapping and declaration process, which was one of 55 recommendations in the Keelty Report into the 2011 Perth Hills bushfires.
The maps will be made available to the public, Mr Francis said.
Mr Gregson last month flagged the declaration of hazard zones, saying it was likely parts of the Perth Hills region would be placed in the same category as Margaret River and Busselton in the state’s southwest.
He said the extra costs for home builders would be worth it if it saved lives.
There has also been debate about who should be responsible for maintaining power poles on private property after more than 50 homes were destroyed in the Perth Hills suburbs of Stoneville, Parkerville and Mount Helena in January, sparked by an old wooden pole collapsing in the grounds of a local home in hot weather conditions.