Windows and doors

Learn how to retrofit window and door systems to improve bushfire resilience

This section describes a range of design and construction principles for retrofitting your window and door systems.

Guiding principles

Windows and doors are another vulnerable part of the house. By burning through, being left or blown open or the glass breaking; they can allow flames and embers to enter your home. This can be cause by flame contact, wind loads, radiant heat or debris build-up on the windowsills or door thresholds. For more information, see Windows and doors in the New Builds section of the Bushfire Best Practice Guide.

Make sure to adapt your strategy to your level of exposure. Before outright replacing windows and doors, consider using other protection strategies such as shutters. This may be less expensive than replacing the entire system and provided they’re closed if your home is impacted by a bushfire will offer a similar level of protection. A suitable tight-fitting non-combustible shutter which is permanently fixed to the house can protect against radiant heat, flames and embers (see AS 3959:2018 for guidance on installing bushfire shutters).

Retrofitting for bushfire protection

The following table contains information on window and door systems and the level of bushfire protection they provide, if you consider changing your window or door systems to protect against the predicted level of exposure (consider the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) at your building). These measures will provide some protection against most bushfire hazards, however they may not protect against direct flame contact from burning vegetation or consequential fires.

If you have identified a source of Consequential fire, consider removing or relocating the source or installing a wall or other barrier. The risk of a consequential fire (e.g., fire spreading from a neighbouring house) is often not economically viable to mitigate through house design. For example, mitigating the risk completely may require drastic changes in building materials and design, whereas removing the source of the consequential fire may be more practical and cost effective. As such, it is important to acknowledge the risks of a consequential fire and include it as a factor in your bushfire plan.

Retrofitting options

Type of opening Material Frame Exposure protection BAL
Window Annealed glass (i.e., standard glass) Non-combustible material or Class 1 durability timber BAL-12.5
Toughened glass Non-combustible material BAL-29
Fire rated glass Non-combustible material BAL-40
Non-combustible material with non-combustible shutter BAL-FZ
Door Non-combustible material or solid core Class 1 durability timber Non-combustible material or Class 1 durability timber BAL-12.5
Non-combustible material Non-combustible material BAL-29
30min fire rated material 30min fire rated material BAL-FZ
60min fire rated material 30min fire rated material BAL-FZ and consequential fire