Bushfire Building Safeguards

November 21st, 2013

The early start to the bushfire season across Australia, which caused widespread property damage in New South Wales and Queensland, has highlighted the need to stop relying on emergency fire fighting management and controlled burning. Instead, we should consider better planning and fire safety factors for house building, according to The Conversation.

Following the 2009 Victorian bushfires, the Royal Commission recommended housing be signficantly restricted in areas highly prone to bushfires.

The Victorian State Government acted on the recommendations and introduced amendments to its planning laws which included mapping of areas with a high risk of bushfires. This meant that property development in those areas will only be approved if deemed that the potential risk to human life, property, and infrastructure was acceptable.

Bushfire mitigation adopted for new building developments must now incorporate improved construction standards and information on defendable space, amended building envelopes and access to water supply.

Bushfire experts point out that one of the biggest problems is not confined to new building developments but the ongoing risk to large residential communities that have suffered extensive property damage due to bushfires that seek to rebuild in the same location. These areas require more effective management of future risks.