New planning laws will add between $10,000 and $20,000 to the cost of building a home in a bushfire-prone area from May 2015.
The reform, the last major recommendation from the Keelty reports to be implemented, will involve a bushfire danger rating being applied to all WA tenure after extensive mapping by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Proposed houses in areas identified as bushfire-prone or within 100 metres of one hectare or more of bushland will require bushfire hazard assessments, which will identify the risk level and necessary protections.
Standards required after assessment may include the placement of ember screens over evaporative air conditioners and window screens and the use of low-combustible building materials.
Planning Minister John Day said it would be too difficult to make the changes retrospective, but encouraged homeowners already living in bushfire-prone areas to get hazard assessments.
The WA Planning Commission also released for public comment new State planning policy and guidelines relating to housing developments in bushfire-prone areas.
Mr Day said he did not think the added homebuilding costs were “unaffordable or unreasonable”.
“Together with all of these changes, it will provide a safer situation, we believe, in high fire-risk areas,” he said.
“We are putting into effect the Keelty recommendations and I think this will produce a better and more predictable and safer situation for residents.”
State-wide mapping should be completed by DFES over the next 12 months, Mr Day said.