If you’re building a new home in a bushfire-prone area, then you probably understand that it needs to be compliant with AS3959–2009.
This Australian Standard was developed in order to improve the ability of homes to withstand bushfire attack.
The standard mandates different construction requirements based on your designated BAL (bushfire attack level) rating.
These requirements can affect everything from your choice of construction materials to your window glazing options, and everything in between.
They also affect one of the most unassuming items around your home: gutter guards.
What is a gutter guard?
A gutter guard is any item that’s designed to keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters and/or downpipes.
One of the most popular forms of gutter guard is gutter mesh such as Blue Mountain Co Gutter Mesh. This mesh is installed over your gutters in order to keep leaves, debris, pests and other unwanted items out, while still letting rainwater in.
In bushfire-prone areas, the advantages of keeping leaves out of your gutters need almost no elaboration. As a potential fuel source during a fire, leaves are one of your worst enemies during bushfire season. That’s why many home owners choose to use gutter guards – especially gutter mesh – on their homes. But if you’re building in a bushfire-prone area, your gutter guard needs to be compliant with AS3959–2009.
What does the standard say?
According to AS3959–2009, gutter guards are optional for anyone building a new home in an area with a BAL of 12.5, 19, 29, 40 or FZ.
However, if you choose to use gutter guards such as gutter mesh on your home, the standard is clear: “if installed, gutter guards shall be non-combustible”.
Both aluminium and steel gutter mesh fall into this “non-combustible” category, so regardless of your BAL rating, you can use any Blue Mountain Co gutter mesh product as a gutter guard around your home.
Although all our products are gutter guard compliant for bushfire-prone areas, we recommend that you consider other key factors when selecting gutter mesh for your home.
In particular, we recommend that you choose gutter mesh with an appropriate aperture (hole size) for the leaves in your area. If your home is in an area with smaller leaves, you may want to use gutter mesh with a smaller aperture to more effectively prevent leaves in your gutters from becoming a source of bushfire fuel.
We also encourage you to consider choosing gutter mesh with an aperture that’s designed to keep embers out of your gutters too. To do this, you’ll want to choose an ember guard compliant mesh such as our 2mm steel gutter mesh.
Ultimately, AS3959–2009 doesn’t hugely affect your choice of gutter guard if you’re planning on using steel or aluminium mesh. However, there are many other factors worth considering when choosing gutter guard products for your home. Which is why Blue Mountain Co has developed Mesh Matcher.
Mesh Matcher asks the right questions to help you determine which gutter mesh options are best suited to your needs. It’s quick and easy to use.
Blanchi & Leonard, Investigation of Bushfire Attack Mechanisms Resulting in House Loss in the ACT Bushfire 2003, 2005
Standards Australia, Construction of Buildings in Bushfire-Prone Areas, 2009
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure these guidelines are consistent with AS3959–2009. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any of the information on this web page. As such, we recommend that you refer to the Australian Standard yourself, or seek tailored advice from a qualified expert.