Changes to Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) – Maps and Provisions

Amendment GC13 to the Victorian Planning Provisions was gazetted on 3 October 2017 and introduces new maps for the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) across the State of Victoria.  This follows on from the Gazettal of Amendment VC132 on 19 September 2017 which made a number of technical changes to the bushfire planning provisions. 

A summary of the key changes introduced by both amendments is provided below.

Amendment GC13 (Mapping Changes)

Amendment GC13 involves the updating of the maps for the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) across the State of Victoria to ensure that all areas of extreme bushfire hazard in Victoria are included in the BMO.  The new maps are based on criteria developed in accordance with the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and involves the first comprehensive update of the BMO maps to address this criteria.

The changes to the BMO maps involve:

  • The removal of many properties from the BMO map because they were assessed as not satisfying the criteria for mapping in the BMO.

    Note – Most of these areas are still located in a Designated Bushfire Prone Area under the Building Interim Regulations 2017 and will still require a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment.

  • The addition of many properties into the BMO map for the first time – with an assessment made that those properties satisfied the criteria for mapping in the BMO.

  • The inclusion of many properties in Schedules to the BMO for the first time – including both properties that were already mapped in the BMO and properties that have been mapped for the first time.Schedules provide the opportunity to access a set of codified provisions for meeting the requirements of the BMO without having to undertake an assessment of the bushfire hazard.

You can check if your property is located in the BMO or a Schedule to the BMO by obtaining a free Planning Property Report here – http://services.land.vic.gov.au/landchannel/jsp/reports/ReportsIntro.jsp

A publication from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning setting out the details of the transitional provisions for the BMO mapping changes based on a number of different scenarios can be accessed here – https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/80017/BMO-Transitional-provisions_Sept-2017.pdf

We will continue to update this page once we have the opportunity to review guidance that has been prepared by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

If you have any general questions about how these changes impact on a project that is being handled by our firm please e-mail us at info@foresite.net.au or call 1300 301 088. 

Amendment VC132

Amendment VC132 is a general amendment that makes a number of administrative corrections and other changes to the bushfire related provisions in Victorian Planning Schemes.  Some of the key changes to these provisions include:

Clause 13.05 (Bushfire)

  • Inserts reference to the Bushfire Prone Area Map as a policy guideline in the State Planning Policy Framework to guide improved strategic planning for bushfire resilience.

The new Clause 13.05 can be viewed here – http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/13_SPPF.pdf

Clause 44.06 – Bushfire Management Overlay

  • Administrative changes primarily related to the operation of Schedules.

  • Inserting ‘Service station’ and ‘Warehouse’ in the list of uses where a permit is required for buildings and works associated with these uses.

  • Providing a permit exemption for a building or works with a floor area of less than 100 square metres not used for accommodation and ancillary to a dwelling.

  • Inclusion of the Application requirements for the BMO (previously contained in Clause 52.47).

  • Inserting new Transitional arrangements which provides an exemption from the need to apply for a planning permit where a permit issued under the Building Act 1993 was issued before the commencement of GC13 and where a number of criteria are satisfied.

The new Clause 44.06 can be viewed here – http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/44_06.pdf

Clause 52.47 – Planning for Bushfire

  • Administrative changes primarily related to the operation of Schedules.

  • Removal of the Application requirements for the BMO (now contained in Clause 44.06).

  • Modifying Approved Measure (AM) 2.3 to require building design to be responsive to the landscape risk and reduce the impact of bushfire on the building.

  • Specifying that the applicable bushfire attack level must be noted on the building envelope on the plan accompanying an application to subdivide land under the requirement for AM 5.2.

  • Specifying that the plan accompanying an application to subdivide land must show that each lot satisfies the approved measure in AM 2.1 to ensure a complete assessment of bushfire mitigation issues for subdivision.

  • Modifying Table 2 and 3 to clarify defendable space requirements for sites with a downslope of more than 20 degrees, low threat or modified vegetation.

  • Specifying existing Fire Authority requirements for water supply including capacity, fittings and access under Table 4 – Water supply requirements.

  • Specifying an additional requirement for accessways where the length of access is greater than 30 metres under Table 5 – Vehicle access design and construction.

  • Inserting a new Table 6 that specifies standard vegetation management requirements and inserting reference to these requirements in approved measures or alternative measures related to defendable space.

  • Inserting a new Table 7 that specifies outbuilding construction requirements.

The new Clause 52.47 can be viewed here – http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/52_47.pdf

Clause 52.48 – Bushfire protection: exemptions

  • Replacing reference to the ‘Building Amendment (Community Fire Refuge Construction) Interim Regulations 2011’ with ‘Ministerial Direction No. 4, Construction Requirements for a Community Fire Refuge (1 August 2012)’.

  • Clarifying that the exemption to create defendable space also applies to the removal, destruction or lopping of vegetation for the construction of the dwelling in addition to its defendable space.

The new Clause 52.48 can be viewed here – http://planning-schemes.delwp.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/52_48.pdf

Clause 66 – Referral and notice provisions

  • Removing the need to refer an application for a non habitable outbuilding ancillary to a dwelling to the relevant fire authority providing certain conditions are met including the outbuilding construction requirements now specified in Table 7 to Clause 52.47.

The new Clause 66 can be viewed here – http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/66.pdf

Clause 72 – General terms

  • Removing an incorrect (redundant) reference to ‘outer zone’ in the definition for Defendable space.

The new Clause 72 can be viewed here – http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au/schemes/vpps/72.pdf

A detailed summary of all of the changes to the bushfire related provisions can be found in the Explanatory Report for VC132 – http://dsewebapps.dse.vic.gov.au/Shared/ATSAttachment2.nsf/(attachmentopen)/657E152179662078CA25819F0004561E/$File/VC132+Explanatory+Report+Approval+Gazetted.pdf

If you have any general questions about how these changes impact on a project that is being handled by our firm please e-mail us at info@foresite.net.au or call 1300 301 088.