Posted by Accent Windows on 31 October 2018

Bushfires have increased in both frequency and severity in recent years, inflicting massive damage to many Australian homes.

With summer fast approaching, now is the time to ensure your property is resilient against bushfires. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an old one, it’s crucial that your doors and windows are built to withstand a potential fire.

Do I need to worry about bushfires affecting my home?

Bushfires have been reported in every state of Australia, and some areas have a higher risk than others. But living outside of a Bushfire Prone Area doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe.

Embers can travel many kilometres and start fires in completely new areas. Your home could still become caught in a bushfire even if you’re not in an active fire zone. This is why it’s so important to make sure your home is protected, no matter where you live.

How can I protect my home from bushfires?

One of the best ways to make your home as safe from bushfire as possible is to make sure your windows and doors are compliant with the new safety ratings.

Following the devastating 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL) were expanded. The current six levels are:

BAL Low: There is insufficient risk to warrant specific construction requirements BAL 12.5: Ember attack.

BAL 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, together with increasing heat flux.

BAL 29: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, together with increasing heat flux.

BAL 40: Increasing levels of ember attack and burning debris ignited by windborne embers, together with increasing heat flux and with the increased likelihood of exposure to flames.

BAL FZ: Direct exposure to flames from fire, in addition to heat flux and ember attack.

This meant that fire safety ratings (BAL Ratings AS3959) were also revised to improve fire safety standards for all new or renovated Australian homes. Fortunately, the Australian Window Association has released detailed BAL Ratings guidelines explaining how to choose the best windows and doors to withstand bushfires.

Which doors have the best fire rating?

There are many factors that decide a door’s level of fire safety. Some of these features include:

  • The thickness of the door
  • Screens
  • How tightly the door is fitted
  • The combustibility of the materials
  • Glazing
  • The type of material used for the frame, glass and seals
  • Weather strips and draught seals
  • Distance from the ground and other structures
  • The type of door (for example, folding doors or French doors)

Thanks to the use of aluminium and safety standard-compliant glass, Accent’s range of doors are all up to code when it comes to BAL Ratings. In fact, every Accent product conforms to the Australian Standard (AS3959).

Which windows have the best fire rating?

Just like with doors, there are several features that decide if a window is compliant with BAL Ratings. Some of these features include:

  • Glazing
  • Screens
  • The type of material used for the frame
  • The type of glass used
  • Distance from the ground

All of Accent’s products are compliant with the Australian Standard— just one of the benefits of choosing aluminium frames.

What can I do to make my windows and doors more fire safe?

Something as simple as replacing windows and doors can make a big difference when it comes to making your house more resilient against bushfires.

The best thing you can do to increase the bushfire safety of your home is to choose materials and features that are resilient against bushfires. Luckily, Accent’s entire product range complies to BAL Ratings. Not to mention the added value that aluminium doors and windows can add to your home.

Still confused about the most fire-safe choices for windows and doors? The knowledgeable Accent Windows team are happy to help. Get in touch today to find the best options for your home.

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