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Expert advice for your rebuild

Your local Rebuild Support Service (RSS) is here to help  

The RSS is a free one-stop shop that provides support to people who are rebuilding. 

To get started, contact your local Rebuild Support Service:  

East Gippsland Shire

Towong Shire

Access advice from rebuilding experts

Rebuilding after a bushfire is a big job. Everybody has different circumstances and will make different choices, and that’s okay.

We know that not everyone wants to rebuild straight away. You can access support when you are ready.

This page highlights the expert advice you have access to from the Rebuild Support Service (RSS), such as:

  • access to Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessment information
  • access to experts who can help if your rebuilding may be more difficult due to high levels of bushfire risk.

Registered building surveyor

The Victorian Building Authority regulates Victoria’s building industry to keep communities safe and to empower building practitioners.

The RSS can help you access a VBA registered building surveyor who can explain the building permit process and requirements.

You can get advice on:

  • building in a bushfire prone area and responding to bushfire risk
  • information on BAL assessments and other assessments (eg land capability)
  • construction requirements in line with BALs
  • building permit requirements
  • registered practitioners
  • warranty insurance provided by builders
  • owner builder responsibilities and registration
  • occupancy permits
  • timelines to commence and complete building work
  • private bushfire shelters
  • emergency Accommodation provisions in the building legislation
  • building disputes and issues during construction.

Bushfire Attack Levels

Free Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) assessments are available for bushfire affected property owners

BALs reflect the level of bushfire intensity that a home may experience during a bushfire and help to determine your bushfire construction requirements for rebuilding.

In most cases, a BAL assessment is needed for both your planning and building permits.

It is just one of the many considerations in rebuilding to improve bushfire safety. Other measures that increase bushfire resilience:

  • Considering how and where a house is situated or sited on a block of land to reduce a home’s exposure to a bushfire.
  • Considering the need to provide a firefighting water supply, emergency service access and defendable space (an area around your home where vegetation is managed).
  • Designing and building houses that are resistant to radiant heat and ember attack are fundamental to bushfire resilience and community safety.

The BAL classification is important because it helps indicate the materials and construction methods required for your build.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria has worked with your local Council and Country Fire Authority to prepare preliminary bushfire hazards assessments for all properties with a home destroyed in the 2019-20 bushfires.

You can get a copy of your preliminary BAL assessment by making an appointment with the RSS.

Rebuilding experts available for complex sites

For a small number of properties, rebuilding to meet contemporary building and fire safety standards will be more difficult due to high levels of bushfire risk. These sites are called complex sites. It may be more difficult to position new homes and avoid bushfire risk.

The Complex Site Taskforce is a free independent service that has been established to support property owners with complex sites. It exists to ensure every option has been explored to rebuild safely, and to meet current standards.

The Complex Site Taskforce consists of rebuilding experts. They provide free advice to property owners to help them achieve a successful outcome. The Complex Site Taskforce has skillsets in:

  • architecture
  • planning
  • building
  • fire behaviour and risk
  • bushfire resilience and adaptation
  • clinical psychology.

If following the advice of the Complex Site Taskforce, there are no options for safely rebuilding back on a property, then there is support for the owner to resettle. This includes voluntary purchase of land by Government through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Retreat and Resettlement program.

Owners of complex sites can access advice from the Complex Site Taskforce by contacting the RSS.

Download this information as a factsheet:

Reviewed 16 October 2022