Key standard for construction in bushfire-prone areas

Standards Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Adrian O’Connell and Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology have announced a joint funding agreement for all Australians to access to AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, for all Australians.

O’Connell said, “This is a difficult time for many individuals and communities. When the scale of the disaster became apparent, I wanted to make sure that Standards Australia was directly contributing to the broader Australian response.”

AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas provides guidance to professionals in the building and construction industry and is primarily concerned with improving the ability of buildings in designated bushfire-prone areas to better withstand bushfires. By funding access to this standard together with the Commonwealth Government, Standards Australia hopes that as communities rebuild after these most recent bushfires, they do so with access to Australia’s construction standard that deals with bushfire prone areas.

The announcement comes just months after Standards Australia put in place a new distribution and licensing framework to provide more options for delivering access to Australian Standards. Standards Australia and the Commonwealth, through the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will be jointly funding the access until 30 June 2021 using the sponsored access pathway outlined in the distribution and licensing framework.

“When we announced our new distribution and licensing framework in November, being able to announce a partnership like this so quickly is a significant achievement for all involved. I would like to thank Minister Andrews and her Department for working with us over the last few weeks to make this happen,” added O’Connell.

Standards Australia’s Distribution and Licensing Framework Policy launched last year and has been paramount in the company’s ability to fund and open access to this standard and is an important example of how the new framework can support communities.

O’Connell also said that it was too early to say what if any work needs to be done with technical standards following the bushfires. “Everything that we’ve heard so far is telling us that houses built to the standard performed well. We’re currently looking for data about how AS 3959:2018 homes held up and working with relevant committees to support their ongoing work to help in this rebuilding phase.”

AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas, will soon be available as a PDF to all Australians until 30 June 2021. Standards Australia is working with its distributors on making the access available. Standards Australia will make a further announcement on access points in the coming weeks.