Following the nation's relentless bush fires, Eyre Peninsula residents are being urged to think wisely when it comes to building or rebuilding properties in bushfire prone zones by using practice planning principles.
Professor Helen Lochhead from UNSW Built Environment, says “people planning to rebuild should include a range of considerations, in the majority of cases, we can design much better, more fire-resistant, more sustainable and climate-responsive houses, than what we are doing today."
Professor Lochhead explained adequate clearing is vital alongside the essential bushfire ready protocols around the house and considering the use of fire-resistant materials like non-flammable materials such as masonry, brickwork or rammed earth, and concrete as opposed to timber.
"This doesn’t mean you can’t use timber, but you might use it on the inside rather than the outside of buildings," said Lochhead.
Adequate clearing around the house, self-cleaning gutters, and fire-resistant decking on verandahs. The underside of buildings should be enclosed so embers don’t get trapped underneath the floor, and in more isolated areas there should ideally be adequate stored water, whether tanks, pools, ponds or dams, to fight fires if they do occur.
The Institute is also providing pro bono architectural services for bushfire affected homeowners.
Professor Lochhead says these design considerations are more sustainable and cost-effective in the long term and many architects are already on board and designing this way in fire-prone areas.
“We’re not promoting buildings that are beyond the reach of the average person. We’re just talking about designing sensibly, sustainably and for the long term, acknowledging the climate and environment which we live in.”
For more information and free access to notes on resource base for building in bushfire prone zones visit:
Image credit: https://www.architecture.com.au