February 4, 2016
CSIRO bushfire urban design research leader Justin Leonard said the best way to protect homes against embers was simple – use materials that don’t burn. He said using a steel frame for the house was a good place to start, along with building materials like brick or rammed earth.
Queensland University of Technology consulting research architect, Ian Weir told the SBS recently “there is a common misconception bushfire safe homes are very expensive to build. Simple design elements can be relatively cheap whilst minimising the amount of vegetation required to be cleared.”
Dr Weir said it was often complying with energy regulations that cost homeowners a lot of money, and many of the measures taken to keep a house energy efficient, like using rammed earth, would also keep it safe in a bushfire.
He said bushfire-proofing elements such as toughened glass, window mesh and window shutters could also fulfill everyday roles such as fly screens or shades. “Bushfire prone areas are often really hot in summer but quite cold in winter…and a lot of the things you need to make a house thermally comfortable are also bushfire proof,” Dr Weir said.
As a member of the Rural Fire service it would be good to see common sense prevail in respect of both building design and land clearing. Non combustible building materials would also have a big impact on house fires that claim more lives and houses than bush fires. Read the full story here.