The BAL 40 fence that saves time and money
21 November 2018
Our stunning, sunburnt country is not exactly gentle — in fact, she can throw some seriously harsh climates our way. When you need a fence that can take the heat, where can Aussie homeowners put their confidence? We spoke with Tim Fisher of Bangor, NSW, about his recent BAL 40 fence* and the challenges that come with building in a bushfire zone.
Q. What were your priorities when choosing a boundary fence?
Tim: The key elements were compliance with Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 40, visual appeal, design and installation flexibility for the site, privacy/security and noise reduction.
Q. What sort of challenges did you face, needing a BAL 40 fence?
Tim: The BAL 40 fence construction posed a number of challenges:
1. All materials must be non-combustible
There was only three choices – Colorbond, masonry or (what I considered to be the best engineered solution) a Modular Wall.
If Colorbond fencing was used, due to the BAL 40 rating, a Koala Crossing would have to be built in accordance with the BAL 40 requirements and specification. This would come with both additional cost and a major security issue; anyone, including children, could climb the structure to freely access or exit the property!
Masonry was seen, at first, as the easiest — but the footing design and engineering meant significant added cost. However, the Modular Wall didn’t require the engineered footings a masonry wall required, meaning the whole project was more cost effective and easier to install.
2. Council approvals
Sutherland Shire Council were very pedantic about us providing details of construction materials for this build. However, what became very evident was the huge lack of awareness of products and how these actually work in a ‘real’ BAL rated construction zone; they have no material listings as a register. From BAL 40 windows, to the garage door choice; I spent three weeks going back and forth advising that no one in Australia ACTUALLY builds a BAL 40 rated garage door!
For the Modular Wall, however, once a certificate was issued from your office, it was simply included with our construction specifications and nothing more was said.
Q. How did ModularWalls support your experience?
Tim: Your team was simply great! From my initial discussions with the team concerning documentation to submit to Council, through to the assistance provided with installation, the customer support process has been fantastic.
Q. And how did you end up finishing your modular wall?
Tim: Firstly, we finished the fence with a sealer binder undercoat, with any gaps sealed with flexible gap filler. Then, I used Toscani ROCKCOTE fine render on the panels, applied by roller, followed by a top coat of Wattyl Solagard Semi-Gloss, which helps repel water and limit dirt adhesion.
Q. Are you happy with how it turned out?
Tim: I am very happy with the final result! Furthermore, the neighbours have constantly complimented how good it looks, compared to Colorbond fencing; it has truly given them inspiration to use it in some future projects.
*Note: ModularWalls; products offer a standard BAL 29 rating, but a customised BAL 40 compliant solution can be supplied upon request; simply notify your consultant of your specific BAL rating needs.
Our high quality, Australian Made products have been specifically designed to withstand Australia’s harshest environments; from cyclonic wind regions, to bush fire zones, we’ve got your back.