Bushfire Screens Vs Fire Attenuation – Are these the Same?

by | Nov 30, 2022 | Security Screens

With bushfires growing increasingly common in Australia, it is no surprise that homeowners are looking for measures to protect their homes in case of a fire. The destruction in 2019 and 2020 served as a stark reminder of how rapidly things may shift, making Australian homeowners more concerned about fire safety.

But how can they fireproof their homes? We suggest using bushfire and fire attenuation screens.

Below is a comprehensive look at these screens and how they work to protect Gold Coast homes and businesses during a bushfire.

What Are Bushfire Screens?

Bushfire-rated screens are a tried-and-true, practical solution for Queensland homeowners looking to protect their property. Bushfire screens fitted to your home’s windows and doors work to keep fire out, giving you peace of mind even when your home is under threat.

They also deflect, disperse, and reduce radiant heat.

How Do Bushfire Screens Protect Against Fire?

When correctly installed, bushfire screens can shield a Gold Coast home from the direct onslaught of flames and embers that may travel ahead of the fire. Therefore, all openings in windows and doors, regardless of how often they are used, should be screened.

Understanding Bushfire Screen Ratings

The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) evaluates how vulnerable a building is to the effects of bushfire dangers such as ember attacks, radiant heat and direct flame contact. Simply said, the greater the distance from the fire, the lower the heat flow and the less stringent the construction requirements.

They range through six levels, as shown below:

  • BAL-LOW: These are buildings at the lowest risk of a potential bushfire. Standard fly screens or security screens can be used.
  • BAL-12.5: The risk to these buildings is primarily from potential ember attacks.
  • BAL-19: These buildings are at risk from increasing ember attack levels and burning debris ignited by wind-borne embers with a heat flux of 12.5 and 19.
  • BAL-29: These are buildings exposed to an even higher risk of burning debris and ember attacks with a heat flux between 19 and 29.
  • BAL-40: Buildings have a very high risk of flame exposure due to increased levels of burning debris and ember attacks.
  • BAL-FZ: These buildings are at extreme risk and are directly exposed to the fire front’s flames.

The screen recommendation, according to the AS 3959:2009, for openable windows in a building rated between BAL 12.5 and 29 is a metal mesh made from aluminium, bronze, or steel, with aperture sizes not exceeding 2 mm ember attacks and 3mm for radiant heat. Our Bushfire Screens (Fire Attenuation Screens) meet these standards.

What Are Fire Attenuation Screens?

Attenuation is a reduction in the force of something. In the case of fire attenuation screens, this means our bushfire screens reduce radiant heat and the risk of fires spreading between buildings. By installing bushfire screens in Gold Coast homes, it increases the opportunity (time) for people to evacuate safely during a bushfire.

How Do They Protect Against Fire?

Fire attenuation screens function similarly to traditional fire guards in front of an open fire. They slow the spread of the fire by preventing flaming embers and debris from getting in or out of a building.

They also significantly reduce radiant heat by spreading it out across the surface of the screen. The reduction in radiant heat prevents the spontaneous ignition of combustible items in a building.

Security Screens Gold Coast

When Are They Needed?

Clause C3.2 of Volume 1 of the National Construction Code (NCC) instructs that external wall openings need to be protected from fire when they are in close proximity to adjoining property boundaries. Fire attenuation screens are one method of protection you can use.

The code states that protection (such as screens) is needed when the distance between the fire source to which it is exposed, and the opening is:

  • Within 6 m of a building in the same allotment
  • Less than 3 m from the rear or side boundary of the allotment
  • The results of an assessment of fire safety by a fire safety engineer

With over 40 years of experience, Scorpio Screens & Blinds are the market leaders in manufacturing and installing fire security screens on the Gold Coast. Our screens adhere to all necessary industrial specifications and offer practical solutions for protection against bushfire.

Contact us for a free quote and more details on our fire safety screens and installation procedures on the Gold Coast.