Our aim is to build houses which can survive extreme weather and the same is true for the bushfires. While building a house you need to keep in mind that your house should not only withstand the direct onslaught of the high temperatures and flames but also maintain its integrity at times of high winds with flying embers and debris blowing inside your house. A house which is struck by a bushfire is likely to face with three different ‘waves’ of assault. The very first threat is the radiant heat which arrives just before the fire arrives. This is most likely to arrive around half an hour before the flames arrive.
How should a house be made bushfire-proof?
A house to be perfectly bushfire-proof, it should ideally be made up of a concrete bunker and there should be no windows. However, the bushfire-proof house designs are not attractive and thus there are not many takers. Often houses that are made of simple plywood, or softwood varieties suffer rigorous losses due to bushfire. On the contrary, cement and concrete can be of high quality and reliance when it comes to creating a full bastion against bushfire.
Using the researches to set the new standards
There are set standards in Australia for the areas which are prone to bushfire. These areas are referred to as AS3959. This particular standard was set after the devastating Black Saturday bushfires which happened in Victoria in 2015. This standard is referred to as the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating.
The National Association of Steel-Framed Housing (NASH) bushfire standard takes an evidence-based and rigorous approach in defining how the steel-framed houses can be designed for avoiding destruction due to bushfires. This is not only the frames but the entire floor, wall & roof system are safely built in order to make the building complaint to bushfire. The new standards which are being developed suggest that the whole wall system rather than only the frames be made in such a way that it becomes a strong barrier to the bushfire.
Which are the special distinctions to be made while designing bushfire prone areas home?
- For example, the insulation experts are able to specify the various requirements for the purpose of effective insulation that would act as a strong barrier to the embers and flames.
- The location and the type of insulation are carefully considered so that the concerned house can effectively meet as well as exceed the standard of energy efficiency for the new buildings in the higher risk zones.
- There are specific buffer zones with relation to bushfire prone areas home, and this includes the management of additional fuel to reduce the impact of bushfire on major and minor assets of home. There is also a difference in the rate to which bushfire spreads from a vegetable land to non-agricultural land.
- There are few major distinctions while designing the bushfire protection for the steel framed houses which are in the ‘flame zone’ and the others which are located in the lower bushfire attack level zones. In such cases, a layer of protection like a superior quality layer of reflective foil backed glass wool insulation blanket is being placed under the roof sheeting.
There have been some new records set in terms of resisting high levels of bushfire. The specific use of Tantalum carbide and Hafnium carbide materials have been consistently helping in fighting major bushfire attacks. So it is important that when you start the building design of your home, you use a specific fireproof design and also use special frames for your doors and windows.