We are here to help you get back on track after a bush fire. 

On this page

Access to site
Rebuilding after a fire
Living on site during rebuilding

Access to the site/make safe works

Before you access the site a property impact assessment is required. This assessment identifies risks. In identifying risks take every precaution, including the use of protective outfits and P2 masks for contractors and yourself.

Entering your property before you have approval can be very dangerous as a range of safety risks may be present, including:

  • Live power lines or active solar panels.
  • Buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over.
  • Sewerage and septic systems may be disrupted causing health risks.
  • Hot, smouldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble. 
  • Asbestos dust and fibres have the potential to present a health risk during and after a fire if not properly managed.

Council maintains a register of properties affected by bush fire. Among other things the register identifies potential hazards and is used to inform the impact assessment, make safe works, the rebuild process, fee concessions and donations. If you are uncertain about potential hazards on site, the condition of trees, septic tanks or swimming pools and make safe works call us on 4780 5000.

If you are insured, contact your insurer. In some cases, risks assessments and make safe strategies are included as part of the claim.

Rebuilding after fire

If you have lost structures there are 4 key steps to take to rebuild.

Step 1 – Clean-up / demolition works

Before rebuild commences a site clearance certificate will be required for properties with asbestos. Talk to your insurance company to see if asbestos remediation is covered by your policy and / or whether they organise demolition and / or removal. If so, request a copy of the site clearance certificate. If not, you will need to engage a qualified specialist who is licensed to remove asbestos. SafeWork NSW publish a list of licensed contractors. As part of this process an occupational hygienist report / clearance certificate will required.

Removing rubble does not require Council’s consent, but demolishing partial structures or heritage items might. Please contact Council to find out what approvals you may need. Structures over 4 metres in height do require demolition by a licensed contractor.

When cleaning up your property, make sure you:

  • moisten ash with water to minimise dust and keep it damp, but do not use high pressure water sprays.
  • don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.
  • don’t bury building rubble as it may contain hazardous materials.

Step 2 – Design

Depending on the age of the building we may have a copy of the existing plans. You may however take the opportunity to redesign structures. Current building codes will apply and often this means that buildings in bush fire prone areas will need additional measures in place. Take advantage of a free advisory service offered to fire affected properties. Bookings can be made on 4780 5000.

Consider whether you will be using a builder or if you'll be an owner builder.

Step 3 – Lodging an application

The type of approval needed will depend on the build. If development approval (DA) is required, we will waive the infrastructure contributions and the BMCC portion of the fees that may apply. We cannot waive State levies.

Development approval looks at the conditions of the land and the provisions of planning instruments. Among other things, it considers impact of fire on structures.

Along with the development application you will need to apply for a construction certificate (CC). This can be issued by Council or a private certifier. In some circumstances, you may be able to apply for a Complying Development Certificate. This is a fast track approval process.

Lodge your application online

Step 4: Construction

Seek quotes for building work as soon as you have the development consent and construction certificate. At this point and prior to commencement of works you will need to appoint a Principal Certifier to complete a series of mandatory inspections at key stages throughout the build. On completion an occupation certificate will be issued. This can only be issued if all mandatory inspections have been completed.

Living on site during rebuild

A special concession is in place. In order to provide an opportunity for property owners to live on site while their homes are reconstructed, the Council allows for temporary housing including caravans, manufactured homes or moveable dwellings. Conditions apply. For example, reticulated water and sewage systems or onsite sewage management / water supply (min 20,000 litres), must be operational. Further information on the conditions that apply can be found in Council’s Local Approvals Policy.