Site planning and design for bushfire

A house designed by Thomas Caddaye Architects to BAL-FZ requirements, Rosedale, NSW (Image: Ross Caddaye).A summary update has been provided for this note in June 2023. This summary reflects updates to this topic on the National Construction Code 2022 bushfire protection provisions.

The climate is changing. In the past decade Australia has experienced increased levels of bushfire frequency, unpredictability and severity in Australia. Disasters such as Black Saturday in 2009 catalysed advancements in legislation, guidelines and public awareness for building and living in bushfire-prone areas. The Black Summer of 2019/2020 tested many of these advances and will no doubt spur further changes.

This Note provides guidance, case studies and methodologies in relation to bushfire attack for siting and landscaping; planning and design and the issues of active defence and emergency shelter; with a particular focus on residential structures.

This Note significantly updates DES 55 Planning and design for bushfire protection by Nigel Bell. It should be read in conjunction with Development in Australian bushfire prone areas.

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note summary
  1. Introduction
  2. Site planning for buildings in bushfire-prone areas
  3. Case study: Rosedale house
  4. Designing for bushfire-prone areas
  5. Case study: Blue Mountains house
  6. Functional considerations
  7. Private bushfire shelters – life savers or death traps?
  8. Conclusion