Glossary of terms

This is a glossary of terms that appear in the plain language explanation of CFA’s standard planning permit conditions. The glossary will help you understand the terms used in the permit process.

Download the full glossary of terms (PDF 144.4KB)


A | B | C | D | E | F | H | P | O | R | S | T | U | V




Accessway A road or driveway intended to provide ingress and egress for vehicular traffic from the primary road network to a part of a property.
AS 2419 Australian Standard 2419 Fire hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning.
AS 3959 Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas (AS 3959-2009)
All-weather surface (accessway) A surface which is capable to accommodating heavier vehicles, usually should be 150mm depth asphalt or concrete.

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Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) A means of measuring the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat and direct flame contact, using increments of radiant heat expressed in kilowatts per square metre, which is the basis for establishing the requirements for construction to improve protection of a building from potential attack by a bushfire, as defined in Australian Standard AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas (AS 3959-2009) or the NASH Standard - Steel Framed Construction in Bushfire Area (National Association of Steel Framed Housing Incorporated).
Bushfire Attack Level Ratings Used as the basis for establishing the requirements for construction to improve protection of a (proposed) building from potential bushfire attack. There are 6 BAL ratings in total: LOW, 12.5, 19, 29, 40 and FZ. BAL-LOW does not apply in the Bushfire Management Overlay or Bushfire Prone Areas.
Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO)        Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) as defined in the Victoria Planning Provisions (Clause 44.06). 
Bushfire Management Statement (BMS) A bushfire management statement (BMS) must be prepared in accordance with Clause 44.06 of the planning scheme to demonstrate the way the application meets the relevant requirements of the scheme (i.e. it is an assessment of the application).
Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) A bushfire management plan (BMP) is a document that sets out how the applicant intends to implement the bushfire mitigation measures. It will usually include a plan and a schedule.
Bushfire Prone Area (BPA) Bushfire prone areas are designated under Regulation 155 (Building Regulations 2018) as areas that are subject to or likely to be subject to bushfires.
Bushfire Hazard An area where there is fuel available for a bushfire. Fuel includes any material which can be ignited and sustain a fire (e.g. vegetation, leaf litter, timber and brush fencing).

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Canopy The highest layer of branches in a forest or on a tree.
CFA Country Fire Authority.
Classified Vegetation The vegetation that presents a bushfire hazard within 150 metres of the development and is classified in accordance with Section 2.2.3 of AS 3959-2009.
Combustible A material that has the ability to catch fire and burn. Further information can be found in AS 2419.
Corrosive A substance that has the ability to destroy or eat away other substances such as metal, by a chemical reaction. Further information can be found in AS 2419.

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Defensible Space An area of land around a building where vegetation is modified and managed to reduce the effects of flame contact and radiant heat associated with a bushfire.
Dedicated Water Supply A water supply that is dedicated to the purpose of fire fighting.

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Egress An exit. A way to get out of a place (e.g. a property or building).
Ember Attack Ember attack occurs when small burning twigs, leaves and bark are carried by the wind and subsequently land in and around buildings. Ember attack is the most common way buildings catch fire during a bushfire.
Excludable Vegetation Vegetation that does not need to be classified as part of the bushfire site assessment. It may include ‘low threat’ and ‘non-vegetated’ areas as defined by Section of AS 3959-2009.

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Fire Front The fire front is the fastest moving part of the fire. It is the hottest and most intense part of the fire and is the area from which most embers will come.
Fire Danger Period CFA declares the Fire Danger Period for each municipality at different times in the lead up to the fire season. It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions.
Flammable objects Any material such as vegetation, plants, leaf litter, mulch, timber and/or fencing which can be ignited and sustain a fire.

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Hydrant A facility on a pipeline/water main where water can be drawn for fire fighting purposes and includes a below-ground, L-type or pillar hydrant, but does not include a Millcock Hydrant.

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Passing bay An area where fire trucks can pass in an accessway, which is least 20m long and have a minimum trafficable width of 6m.
Personal Fire Fighting Fire suppression activities undertaken by the owner/occupant of a property with appropriate resource equipment and personal protection. This may be with or without active fire suppression support from the emergency services.

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Offset A native vegetation offset is any works or other actions to make reparation for the loss of native vegetation arising from the removal of native vegetation.

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Radiant Heat Radiant heat is the heat created from combustion during a bushfire.
Reticulated Water Supply Permanent infrastructure provided to deliver water to lots from a water supply external to the general vicinity of the subdivision.

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Section 173 Agreement An agreement entered into between the responsible authority and the owner of the land which is prepared under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. A Section 173 Agreement is registered on title and is therefore easily accessible by all affected parties – including land owners, purchasers, Council planners and building surveyors. In this context it will set out the relevant bushfire protection measures that apply to the land.
Shrub A shrub is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, the standard planning permit conditions assume a shrub is under 3 metres in height.
Shrub and canopy cover The proportion of the ground surface that is covered by a vertical projection of the tree or shrub crowns.
Short cropped and maintained Grass which is kept to approximately 5cm in height.
Strategic Water Supply A strategic water supply is an additional source of water (e.g. a large communal tank) located to serve a number of properties that is maintained by a public authority or Body Corporate for fire fighting purposes.

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Trafficable (accessways) The part of the accessway which is designed to accommodate emergency service vehicles. It should, usually should be 150mm depth asphalt or concrete.
Turning area (accessways) A turning area for fire fighting vehicles can be provided by any of the following: turning circle with a minimum radius of eight (8) metres; the driveway encircling the dwelling; or a T head or Y head which meet the specification of Austroad Design for an 8.8 metre Service Vehicle.

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Unmanaged Vegetation Vegetation that has not been modified for the purpose of bushfire risk mitigation, that presents a potential hazard.

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Vegetation debris Includes organic matter that may accumulate on the ground such as leaf litter, sticks, twigs, branches, mulches and/or fine plant materials.
Vulnerable parts of a building Parts of buildings such as windows, doors, decks or eaves. These are parts of the building where there is a greater chance that embers will lodge and/or enter your house and start a fire.

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Page last updated:  Thursday, 17 June 2021 1:50:15 PM