Learning about timber solutions for bushfire-prone areas

 The unprecedented bushfires of 2019/20 resulted in the destruction of many properties, a devastating impact on our wildlife and the tragic loss of human life. 

With climate modelling predicting that the extent of wildfires will continue to increase in Australia, it’s more important than ever that appropriate building design and active management of surrounding bushfire risks is taken into consideration when building in bushfire-prone areas.

The 290 webinar attendees, who logged on from 9 different countries, learned about the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) system, which is used in Australia to assess risk and severity of potential fires in particular settings. This enables design and construction to be completed in accordance with appropriate standards, thus enhancing the probability of a building’s survival in a fire event. 

The occupations of those in attendance at the webinar ranged from architects to builders and building surveyors, certifiers, designers and inspectors, as well as teachers, sustainability managers and engineers.

During the webinar, FWPA’s timber fire experts, Boris Iskra, National Codes & Standards Manager, and David Kearsley, Standards and Codes Technical Manager, shared details of the different timber options available for construction at bushfire-prone sites and recent changes to the related standards. 

The presenters also described various types of compliant, fire-tested timber solutions and shared details of WoodSolutions resources on this topic, including Technical Design Guide 04 - Building with Timber in Bushfire-prone areas, and the WoodSolutions BAL Bushfire Calculator

“Reducing bushfire risk to the home also includes active management around the home,” said Kearsley. 

“For that reason, this webinar focused on the key practical measures that can be taken to assist in minimising the potential fuel load that could impact on a building. 

“These measures include the planting and management of surrounding vegetation, the placement of landscaping elements, the location and storage of combustible materials including wood piles and gas cylinders through to the use of active water suppression systems.”

The webinar was recorded and can be viewed in full by clicking here.

WoodSolutions hosts free webinars every second Tuesday at 11am AEST, with a wide range of topics, presenters and panellists, and formal CPD points on offer to attendees. The series has been developed for design and build professionals seeking to learn more about how they can optimise the benefits of wood and wood products in their work.