Bushfire Protected Designed Homes

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Gunderman home in bushfire prone area

 
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New home near Wisemans Ferry in bushfire zone

 
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Home with water tanks, metal cladding, gutterguard, rear deck

 
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New deck using fire retardant treated timber

 

O'Mara Constructions has extensive experience designing & building new homes in high bushfire prone area's. Having lived in Hawkesbury all of our lives and with many of our sub-contractors we have experienced many bushfire's and seen the extent of fire on newly constructed homes & existing dwellings.

 

As per AS3959 which is the Australian Standard for Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas there are six categories of bushfire attack levels. They are;

- LOW

- BAL 12.5

- BAL 19

- BAL 29

- BAL 40

- FLAME ZONE (FZ)

 

BAL simply means "Bushfire attack level"

Flame zone is the highest level of attack and is usually when a site backs directly onto this bush, surrounded by bushland or at the top of a steep embankment.

The BAL rating can be classified by self assessment or by a fire consultant but needs to be approved by council after consultation with the RFS (Rural Fire Service)

 

The categories of attack are determined by:  

  1. The type of vegetation
  2. How close your building is to the vegetation
  3. What the effective slope is (i.e. fire runs more readily and with greater intensity uphill)
  4. The Fire Danger Index applicable to the region
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New deck at Mount Wilson in high bushfire prone area

 
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New deck using fire retardant treated timber

 
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New deck using steel Duragal joists, hardwood & water tanks for bushfire protection

 
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Deck stairs with steel stringers & hardwood treads

 

Homes that are designed in bushfire prone area's need special consideration in design of certain construction elements. The main considerations are for the following items;

- floor framing (stumps, bearers & joists)

- flooring sheeting & decking

- sub-floor area enclosure

- verandah posts & beams

- windows & fly screens

- external doors & garage doors

- fascia & eave slining

- gutter & downpipes

- roofing materials

- roof penetrations & vents

- balustrade & handrails

- water & gas pipes

There are numerous "passive" controls methods of protecting the home from bushfire. Each project needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis but can include any or a combination of the following items to provide protection;

- brickwork & blockwork

- steel

- compressed fibro

- fire retardant treated timber

- wire mesh

- shutters

- toughened glass

- special seals

- gutterguard

- "Promatech 40"

- signage

- Assest Protection Zones

- landscaping

Other considerations need to be made for specific "active" control methods, such as;

- water tanks, swimming pools, dams, wells, rivers

- pumps

- storz valves

- hose reels

- hydrants

- sprinkler systems

- driveway construction & access roads

We also need to consider the materials used, the location of services, access to site, maintenance, just to name a few.

 

We can design & construct a fire bunker. This is NOT design as a safe haven but more as a last option when escape is not possible

 

We can design & construct a fire sprinkler system with back-up hose reels supplied by a pool/tank/dam to protect the home to suit the site conditions and owner requirements

 

More information can be found at the NSW rural fire service website;

www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

We build in many bushfire area's including;

- Blue Mountains (e.g. Lithgow, Hartley, Mount Victoria, Blackheath, Katoomba, Wentworth Falls, Lawson, Hazelbrook, Woodford, Linden, Faulconbridge, Springwood, Blaxland, Winmalee, Yellow Rock, Yarramundi

- Hawkesbury (Wisemans Ferry, Gunderman, Spencer, Maroota, Lower Portland, Sackville, Ebenezer, Kurrajong, Kurmond, Colo, Mount Wilson, Bilpin, Pitt Town, Oakville, Maraylya

- Hornsby Shire

- Baulkham Hills Shire

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