Planning and design for bushfire protection

This note has been retained for legacy and is in the process of being updated for currency. A series of relevant Acumen notes have been made available for free via our dedicated National bushfire response website page:

Bushfires are a natural part of Australian landscape ecology. However increasing pressure is being placed on building design professionals to be proactive in planning, design and construction management in bushfire prone areas – including major parts of urban areas. Just as firefighting techniques are developing, so are the requirements for passive and active methods of protection of both life and property.

This note outlines the practical considerations and necessary methodology in planning and design for bushfire protection, which in some jurisdictions, has been elevated to a primacy never seen before. Irrespective, ignoring proactive bushfire management strategies is no longer an option. Denial of our role in proactive design solutions is equally naive. The question remains as to whether bushfire management will dominate design and construction in bushfire-prone areas, or whether it will be balanced with other ESD considerations.

note summary
  1. Introduction
  2. How bushfires attack buildings
  3. Bushfire planning principles
  4. Building design and construction issues
  5. Management and maintenance
  6. Conclusion