15 - External Exposures

External exposures relate to those features which can expose a property to the risk of fire from its surroundings. 

External exposures are created by features not included within the Property insurance program of the customer. This can include buildings, structures, yard storage, tank farms, and vegetation on adjacent properties. This can also include the property of others within a shared building.

External exposures are not only limited to the risk of direct fire damage but can also involve non-thermal damage from fires such as smoke and water damage.

What do we look for?


  • Level of fire threat presented by neighboring properties.  Fire threats may combustible buildings, combustible building contents, combustible yard storage, flammable liquids and gases in tanks, etc.
  • Level of fire threat presented by other tenants in a shared building
  • Level of fire threats from wildfire
  • Fire threat level considers factors such as the threat fire loading, threat distance, ground slope (e.g. for flammable liquid exposures), and construction fire resistance.

Risk improvement ideas

  • Maintain physical separation from surrounding properties and eliminate combustible yard storage between buildings that would promote fire spread.
  • Provide a fire wall or external sprinklers to mitigate the adjacent high hazard exposure.
  • Provide 60 m (200 ft) of open space to form a fire break to separate the property from adjacent bushfire or wildfire exposures.
  • Evaluate exposures when selecting a new site or expanding an existing site.

NFPA standards

  • NFPA 80A, Recommended Practice for Protection of Buildings from Exterior Fire Exposures
  • NFPA 221, Standard for High Challenge Fire Walls, Fire Walls, and Fire Barrier Walls.