Suncorp
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Fire: Building Design & Materials

Foreman checking plans on a laptop

With the threat of bushfire likely to become more severe and extreme, trying to fireproof your home is more important than ever. While it can be difficult to stop a fire in its tracks as it approaches your property, conventional and emerging technology for the home has shown promising results in withstanding the embers, radiant heat and flames that may reach the house.

Here are some tips to consider from the future of bushfire-proof construction.

Materials

Do you know what your walls are made of? That knowledge may not be top of mind, but in fire-prone areas of Queensland, the materials used to construct your external walls can help save a home.

While timber has been traditionally used for centuries, it unfortunately burns in the hot dry conditions of a bushfire which can lead to cavity fire within the walls, ceiling, roof, or subfloor.

There are now modern options available. Many new homes now use material designs with non-combustible and strengthening features. A key strengthening option is a core-filled designer block, a style suitable for internal and external walls which can withhold incredible instability in case of a weather emergency.

Another option to consider is steel framing clad in autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) which is specifically manufactured to contain many closed air pockets. Cladding your home with AAC can help make a house more energy efficient, and most importantly it can also be a fire barrier.

In fact, depending on the application and the thickness of the blocks or panels, fire ratings of up to four hours can be achieved with AAC. If renovating, consider the use of materials for external areas such as decks and stairs.

Mesh Screens

If your house is facing a bushfire, strong mesh screens may be able to halt flying embers — the most common cause of homes catching ablaze in a bushfire.

For more information, see the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s (QRA) Bushfire Resilient Building Guidance.

Sources: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/newscentre/news_centre/story_archive/2019/how_a_bushfire_can_destroy_a_home
https://www.thebushfirefoundation.org/how-fire-behaves/
One House research

The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.
Foreman checking plans on a laptop

AUTHOR:

Suncorp

DATE: 

April 8, 2022

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