It is the season for bushfires again in Australia. The black summer tragedy that occurred last time comes to mind. It was a day many Australians will never forget. Lives and properties were lost. In the aftermath of the incident, building regulations have become more strict and building materials must be bushfire resistant.
One of the major problems of bush fire in Australia is building houses close to bushland. This is the reason why Enrico Conti gave some tips on how to design a high-quality house that is bush-proof to prevent another bushfire tragedy. Enrico Conti is a Green architect that uses sustainable products to make eco-friendly designs and construct an energy-efficient building. Therefore, his suggestions come from his wealth of experience and expert knowledge.
How to identify if your surrounding area is prone to a bushfire?
According to Enrico Conti, the most basic step is to hire a skilled expert to perform planning regulations and an appraisal of the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL). It will summarize any risk your property might face and determine the type of materials and construction method used. It takes the closeness of the property to the major roads, bush, the inclined form of the property into consideration. BAL is a stringent means of preventing bushfire outbreaks.
To build a bushfire-proof house, you have to deviate from the normal traditional designs and move to fire resilient designs and building materials.
Things to consider when building your property
Enrich Conti advised builders and homeowners to be wary of fire embers confined between the getaway plans and small areas in case of emergencies. He further explained that if you decide to use timber for your deck if there is a fire outbreak, is there another escape route? If the answer is no, use another material instead of timber for the deck.
When you are developing your property, design the whole wall structure with popular steel frames and outer claddings to make it fire resilient.
The porches, lawns, window frames, decks, should be built with galvanized iron, concrete, or earth materials to curb the quick spread of fire in case of a fire outbreak.
“If you decide to use timber materials, please make it your top priority to use the ones that are fire retardant” , cautioned Enrico Conti.
What are the riskiest areas of a building?
Pay particular interest to these areas if your property is in a bushfire prone zone:
Terrance and Decks: Reduce the space between the decking timbers and seal off the deck underneath to prevent fire embers from being trapped beneath the house. Ensure the timbers used are fire retardant.
Yards: Do not design your yards or lawns with only the present in mind. Pay extra attention to the design to make it accident-free for future use. Let the space between the garden and the house be five meters in width. The gap will prevent the house from catching fire quickly. Use plants or flowers that slow down the spread of fire, and have a long life span during the bushfire season. Use plants that do not have leaves or limbs falling into the gutters. This will minimize the fire outbreak risk.
Gutters: Use gutter appliances like fireplugs that can be attached to the hose to fill the gutter with water should there be a fire emergency.
Roofs: Use an uneven roof that has a slant on both sides. Avoid tiny gorges that may entrap embers.
In summary, carefully inspect the surroundings where you intend to build your property to know the risk during bushfire season. Integrate preventive standards into your building designs. Follow state building regulations to protect your property and your life.