Myths on building with wood in bushfire-prone areas busted

Friday 13 Mar 2020

A new episode in the Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) series of WoodChat podcasts was launched last week, sharing best-practice methods on building with wood in bushfire-prone areas to help educate the community. It focuses on the important work FWPA is doing to provide resources for the construction industry and consumers about building resilient homes with timber.

It’s a particularly pertinent topic considering national tragedies such as the Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday fires, and more recently, the unprecedented fires over late 2019 and early 2020. Hosts Sam and Georgia speak to Boris Iskra, National Codes & Standards Manager at FWPA, on the importance of building with fire in mind, focusing on the relevant building standards and how timber can be used compliantly.

Mr Iskra said many Australians want to continue living in these areas and also want to build with wood because of its environmental and aesthetic advantages. “There are no guarantees that a building will survive a bushfire regardless of the materials used in its construction. What we can do is build using the materials and methods we know will best protect the structure and its occupants. It’s all about what’s used, how it’s used and what it’s used in conjunction with,” said Mr Iskra.

“We can predict how timber will perform in specific circumstances and can therefore design properties using timber to help meet the performance requirements of the structure. “For anybody considering building with timber in a bushfire-prone area, my advice would be to talk to the Local Government Area, seek advice about the Bushfire Attack Level and any other requirements that must be adhered to.”

In addition to presenting educational workshops in bushfire-prone areas, FWPA offers a wealth of free resources on the topic via its WoodSolutions website. During the episode, the hosts also speak to Nigel Bell, Principal of ECOdesign Architects + Consultants who builds in bushfire-prone areas, to gain some insights into what concerns he tends to hear from clients, and how he responds.

You can listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Source: FWPA, Photo: Peter Bennetts

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