In the media: Building Smarter to Keep Property and Surrounds Fire Safe

Headline: Building Smarter to Keep Property and Surrounds Fire Safe

Journalist: Annie Mills

Source: The West Australian New Homes pg 4, Saturday 9 December 2023

December marks the start of bushfire season in Western Australia, a time when property owners need to be extra vigilant to the risks associated with hot, dry and windy conditions.

To lessen the risks in bushfire prone areas, WA builders are employing clever designs to create homes that are both safe and practical for everyday living.

The Rural Building Company Building and Design Consultant Brook Leber said it was important for buyers and builders alike to consider implementing particular features when building in locales with higher bushfire risk.

“People consider home insurance essential, but designing and building your home to withstand a bushfire is probably more vital,” he said.

“A home meeting today’s bushfire requirements will endure a fire without the need for firefighters or putting anyone’s lives at risk and will still be standing after the event.”

family’s adapting needs over the years.”

What these modern fireproof requirements entail depends on the area’s Bushfire Attack Level (BAL).

“BAL is based on the type and density of vegetation surrounding your property,” Mr Leber said.

“The thicker and larger it is, the more intense the fire could be and the higher the BAL rating will be.

“The more intense the fire, the more protection is required in the construction of your home to withstand the attack.”

According to Mr Leber, increasing your house’s protective elements comes down to using different materials, including specially rated doors and windows at higher BAL levels. “Essentially your home needs to survive an ember attack, which is where the embers try and get inside your home,” he said.

“All openings are sealed with vents or mesh, Bradford Anticon roofing blanket is added to the roof space, glass is upgraded and mesh screens are installed to all opening windows and doors.”

As a higher BAL-rating generally means more upgrades are required for your build’s materials, Mr Leber said this could also change the abode’s construction detailing.

Therefore, he recommended seeking professional guidance for what should be included in the new build and how to approach your budget.

“Prior to purchasing a block, you should consult a builder or a designer who is experienced with bushfire protection and the necessary requirements,” Mr Leber said. “These aspects need to be considered when establishing your design brief and budget, as what you desire might not be possible.”