Bushfire Information

Bushfire Tips

Flaming Ember Attack During Bushfires

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During bushfire season it is critical that all your gutters are clean from leaves & debris. The quickest and easiest way a house can be engulfed with flames occurs when flaming embers (the little pieces of lit fire particles which travel in the air) come to rest in your gutters. Once the embers make contact with dried old leaves and debris then its blazing glory. Within in minutes the roof is a light and the house is destroyed. Flaming embers can travel up to 5 kms ahead of a bushfire. To ensure that this problem does not happen to you and you do not become another statistic, ULTRAGUARD have developed the UltraGuard Aluminium Mesh & MetalGuard which once fitted will work to eliminate the build up of leaves and debris in your gutter system.

New Bushfire Standard AS3959:2009

New statutory regulations, AS3959:2009 (Building in a Bushfire Prone Area) recommends that all new or renovated buildings within bushfire prone areas have non-combustible leaf guards installed. In order for a system to comply with this standard it must have a fire rating of 5 or less (5 being the lowest rating) and be tested in accordance with AS1530.2.

New Victorian Building Regulations

ULTRAGUARD Aluminium mesh & MetalGuard has a FIRE RATING of "0" (zero-the highest rating) making it fire proof ! Beware that during council inspections a certificate of test is required in order to pass the relevant inspection. With all UltraGuard installations in bushfire prone areas a comprehensive documentation set is provided for compliance and council requirements including test certificates.

In March 2009 Victoria adopted a new building standard (AS3959:2009) coupled with new planning standards as an amendment to the Victorian Building Regulations 2006. The Standard applies to all new homes and to significant extensions and additions in Victoria. The Standard sets guidelines for assessing which of six bushfire attack levels (BAL) a site falls into (BAL: LOW, 12.5,19, 29, 40 and FZ) and then specifies additional construction requirements for houses in the more bushfire-prone areas. The goal is to reduce the risk of fire and ember penetration.

UltraGuard - Your Ideal Bushfire Solution

UltraGuard as been heavily involved in updated research and testing of its product to comply with both the new AS3959:2009 standard and the new Victorian Building Regulations.

UltraGuard is proud to offer two (2) complying product solutions, UltraGuard Aluminium Mesh and MetalGuard. Both products are UltraGuard very own patented inventions.

UltraGuard Aluminium and MetalGuard meshes are suitable for use across all six BAL (BAL: LOW, 12.5,19, 29, 40 and FZ).

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UltraGuard Aluminium & MetalGuard have been tested, by CSIRO, and have passed the AS1530.2 and thus are non-combustible leaf guards. This makes UltraGuard products fully compliant with AS3959:2009 and the BCA.

Non-Complying Gutter Guard

The key feature of any leaf guard installed in bushfire prone areas is that it must be NON-COMBUSTIBLE.

The AS3959:2009 and BCA (Building Code of Australia) define non-combustible products as those that when tested under AS1530 are not deemed combustible or not deemed combustible in accordance with the BCA [Ref: AS3959:2009 1.5.19]

There are several plastic systems which claim to have flame retardant additives which make the plastic “Self-Extinguishing” but not fire proof. All self extinguishing means is that once the flaming ember makes contact with the mesh it will burn the plastic but the plastic has a special additive which will extinguish the flaming ember. However there will still be a hole in the mesh and thus making the product vulnerable to other ember attacks with little or no protection. So once the mesh is burnt it will need to be replaced.

The AS3959 also calls for “leafless gutters”. There are several metal and plastic solutions that simply sit inside the gutter and act as an accumulation barrier for leaf & debris. Thus the leafs & debris will sit on the surface of the gutter guard and the build up will result in a potential fire hazard. Recommendation to stay away from gutter guard products that only protect the gutter opening. UltraGuard works on protection from the roof and gutter and not gutter only.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The new Victorian Building Regulations Act and AS 3959:2009 call for “Non-combustible” ember guard to be installed. Plastic by nature is a petrochemical derived product and thus is extremely combustible.

Leaf Guards vs. Ember Guards- Confusion Explained

The new standards and building regulations have also introduced the need for all bushfire prone buildings to be guarded using an ember guard. Ember guards and leaf guard are two different products for different applications and should not be confused in determining compliance with the standards & codes. Ember Guards are not designed to act as a leaf guard, and leaf guards are not designed to act as ember guards. With the exception of being non-combusitble there is no other requirement of a leaf guard product. However ember guards need to be non-combustible but also have to be of a special hole gauge of less than 2mm.

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