Grampians business co-owner Drew Sutherland has shared his experience rebuilding under the Bushfire Attack Level rating system.
It comes as Northern Grampians Shire Council says it is up to property owners to ensure their homes are built to a standard that reflects their bushfire risk.
The BAL rating system began in Victoria in March 2009. It determines the type of construction required for people to obtain a building permit, and factors in the Fire Danger Index, the slope of the land, types of surrounding vegetation and its proximity to buildings.
In the 2014 Northern Grampians Complex Fires, the duo lost their two-storey residence, four self-contained guest cottages, and six small bunkhouse cabins.
Mr Sutherland said some of the cabins had been built more than 20 years ago by the time they were destroyed.
"We got involved first of all with the insurance company. They came out and then we had to draw up plans of all these buildings we had lost for them to help with the rebuilding," he said.
"It was at that point NGSC said there would be additional things that would need to be done to these buildings to reflect the new BAL rating they were assigning us.
"The trickiest part at first was everyone agreeing what the BAL rating was. There was a bit of debate around that because the first people sent out declared the entire property 'Flame Zone', which is the highest rating. That would have made it nearly impossible to rebuild what we needed to.
"But once everyone started looking into it a bit deeper, they sent some more people out and assigned areas of the property to different ratings. In the end we were told some parts of the property around the boundary, where some of these old buildings were, were definitely 'Flame Zone'. The property borders on heavily-forested national park - and we weren't allowed to rebuild anything there.
"But they assigned some parts of the property BAL 21. We ended up having to replan the whole camp and build in those areas, though we were allowed to rebuild some of the bunkhouses in the same spots."
Mr Sutherland said the materials he and his mother were required to use to rebuild cost more.
"Things like the decks around some of the buildings instead of just being timber we had to go to modwood, which is a composite fake decking board almost - it does still burn but it's more flame-resistant," he said. "
"We got a lot of the cabins rebuilt in Ballarat, and I believe the company that did them had to make some changes - things like the glass had to be thicker."
Mr Sutherland said finding people - including at the council - to help them work through planning permits was the most valuable thing they did while building to BAL standards.
"They can be overwhelming at the best of times but when you are trying to rebuild after a fire and you've got 100 different things to do, those permits can be very difficult," he said.
"We found an independent contractor that helped, and I don't think we could have got through without them."
A spokeswoman for Northern Grampians Shire Council said it did not have a database of building permits that reflect buildings that are required to have a Bushfire Attack Level as part of their construction.
"Post-construction there is an onus on the owner each of these buildings to maintain the surrounds to a standard that minimises the potential of ember attack," she said.
"The levels of protection required to and around each building is specified in Australian Standard 3959 for the construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas."
A spokeswoman for the Victorian Building Authority said many of the building materials required to withstand bushfires were already in common use for house construction.
"Constructing to BAL 12.5 is mostly about resistance to ember attack, so screening of windows and other gaps in the building fabric, such as weepholes, will be required," she said.
"Construction standards become more stringent as the BAL increases, except for 'Flame Zone', where common materials such as cement sheet panels or weatherboards can be used along with certain bushfire-resistant timber. Glazing must be toughened glass.
"As the costs are marginal at the lower BALs, and the industry now knows how to factor in these costs during the design stage, the state government does not provide financial assistance to help owners cover the cost of building in bushfire prone areas.
She said a useful reference to typical construction materials could be found in the VBA document 'A Guide to retrofit your home for better protection from a bushfire'.
On Friday December 20, the VBA made several suggestions as to what people in bushfire-prone areas could do to protect their properties. These included:
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