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Fire shutter ratings explained

Shutter Fire Ratings Explained

In many regions across Australia, the threat to property and lives from bushfires is a real and constant concern. 

It is little wonder then that for so many, finding measures through which homes and lives can be better safeguarded against the ravaging effects of these bushfires is paramount.  

One such measure that is gaining popularity in this space is bushfire shutters, which are fixed to the outside of a property’s windows and can be highly effective at defending against damage.  

However, not all shutters share the same fire safety rating and ensuring you understand what these ratings mean and how to interpret them is essential to choosing the most appropriate solution for your circumstances. 

In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of window bushfire shutter fire safety ratings, explaining what they mean and how to apply them at your home for the best outcomes. 

An Introduction To Bushfire Shutters 

While the majority of aluminium window shutters offer some level of protection against bushfires,  bushfire shutters are specifically designed for this purpose.  

Acting as a physical barrier against radiant heat, ember attacks and direct flames, these shutters actively prevent fire from penetrating a building’s interior. 

Typically made from high-strength, fire-resistant materials such as steel or aluminium, they must also meet strict standards for fire safety.

Fire Safety Ratings Defined

Fire safety ratings quantify the performance of standard or bushfire shutters under specific fire conditions. In Australia, you will come across fire rating systems BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) and FRL (Fire Resistance Rating)

These ratings are determined through rigorous testing procedures conducted by accredited laboratories, following internationally recognised standards such as AS/NZS 1530.8.2 and AS 3959.

Window shutters are typically rated using the BAL system and home construction materials using the FRL system. 

Bushfire Attack Levels (BAL)

Bushfire Attack Levels or BALs are used to categorise the severity of bushfire exposure that a property may face. 

For example, a higher BAL rating would be attributed to a property located close to the bush whereas a property in the middle of the city would have a much lower rating as it is at lesser risk.

In terms of your home, the BAL rating assigned to its location dictates the minimum fire safety requirements for building materials used in its construction. This should also inform your choice of window shutters.

BAL ratings range from BAL–Low (least severe) to BAL–FZ (most severe), with corresponding fire safety standards for shutters.

BAL Ratings for bushfire shutters can be deciphered as follows:


Shutters with a BAL–LOW rating are suitable for areas with minimal bushfire risk. They typically have lower fire resistance requirements but still provide basic protection against ember attacks.


This rating indicates shutters designed to withstand low levels of radiant heat and ember attack, suitable for areas with moderate bushfire risk.


Shutters with a BAL–19 rating offer increased protection against ember attacks and moderate levels of radiant heat exposure.


Designed for high-risk bushfire zones, BAL–29 shutters provide enhanced resistance to radiant heat, ember attack, and direct flame contact.


These ratings signify shutters capable of withstanding extreme bushfire conditions, including intense radiant heat and direct flame impingement.

Fire Resistance Levels

Fire Resistance Levels (FRL) are used to indicate the duration and intensity of fire exposure that a home’s structural components can withstand without failing. 

FRL ratings typically consist of three components: 

  1. Structural adequacy – their ability to maintain structural integrity under fire conditions
  2. Integrity – their capacity to prevent flames and heat from passing through
  3. Insulation – their capability to reduce heat transfer

FRLs are expressed using a rating system that represents the fire resistance duration for each aspect and are commonly presented in the format of X/Y/Z, where:

  • X indicates the fire resistance duration for structural adequacy,
  • Y represents the duration for integrity, and
  • Z signifies the duration for insulation.

For example, an FRL rating of 90/60/30 can be interpreted as a shutter, during a fire, being able to maintain structural adequacy for 90 minutes, integrity for 60 minutes, and insulation for 30 minutes.

Window shutters in Australia are not usually given an FRL rating, however, this is not cause for alarm as the BAL system is used instead. 

This is in part because FRL compliance is legislated as essential for all components, such as doors and windows when building a home.

Shutters, in contrast, are not considered an essential but rather an add-on, so a different rating system is applied. 

Factors Influencing Fire Safety Ratings

Several factors influence the fire safety rating that can be attributed to standard and bushfire shutters.  

This includes things such as the materials used in their construction, how well they are constructed and whether these comply with regulatory standards. 

Compliance & Certification

It is worth noting that any shutter that is marketed as BAL-rated must comply with relevant regulatory requirements and industry standards. This demonstrates their proven reliability and efficacy in case of fire.  

To ensure you are investing in properly tested and effective bushfire shutters, always look for companies that hold compliance certification from relevant authorised bodies.

Enhance Your Home’s Fire Safety With Titan Shutters

With a range of high-quality shutters rated between BAL-29 and BAL-40, Titan Shutters is a leading choice for fire-rated shutters in Melbourne. 

Whether you specifically require bushfire shutters or standard shutters, we guarantee to deliver the ideal solution that is the perfect blend of form and function. Enjoy enhanced security, privacy, noise and light control, energy efficiency and more alongside vastly improved fire safety.

Unsure which BAL rating is best suited to your location and circumstances? Our team offer unmatched expertise and advice, supporting you to make the right choice for your home. 

Manufacturing all our shutters right here in Australia and handling their installation ourselves, we offer rapid turn-around times of just 4-weeks. When compared with the 10 weeks or more offered by our competitors, this can see you ready for the next bushfire season in record time.  

To learn more about shutter fire safety ratings or to book a free measure and quote, call Titan Shutters today at 1300 020 001.

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