Mr Justin Leonard is a project leader for bushfire research at CSIRO’s Sustainable Ecosystems.
Mr Justin Leonard: improving urban design for bushfire defence
Mr Justin Leonard is investigating the design of buildings on bushfire prone areas to improve their survival prospects during extreme bushfire events, and providing understanding of infrastructure loss, relative risk and design improvements for risk mitigation.
20 August 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Mr Justin Leonard is currently leading CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems’ Bushfire Urban Design project.
The work is delivering risk assessment tools and urban design solutions for clients who include:
Mr Leonard's experience with experimental science indicates that people living in bushfire prone areas need to first accept the natural occurrence of bushfires, then effectively assess the risk these bushfires present.
Mr Leonard joined CSIRO in 1993 and initially gained experience in the areas of materials flammability and fire test methods as well as combustion science and air quality.
In the following years his research focus has moved to bushfire related infrastructure impact.
This has seen Mr Leonard managing:
CSIRO’s bushfire building damage survey effort from 1995 to present, including the 2003 Canberra fires in the Australian Capital Territory, and the 2005 Eyre Peninsula fires in South Australia
the People and Property Protection research initiative in the Bushfire CRC
a variety of projects on infrastructure and town planning design for improved Bushfire performance.
People living in bushfire prone areas need to first accept the natural occurrence of bushfires and then effectively assess the risk that these bushfires present.
As a member of the CSIRO Bushfire Taskforce, Mr Leonard was involved in defining and implementing a CSIRO-wide approach to bushfire research.
He has lectured on the performance of buildings in bushfires to a variety of audiences which include:
Country Fire Authority (CFA)
Municipal District Fire Wardens
Community Fire Guard Coordinators.
Mr Leonard completed a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 1992.
Some of Mr Leonard's career highlights include:
CSIRO representative on the standards committee for the development of the Australian Standard AS3959, Building in Bushfire Prone Areas
research provider to the Polymer CRC in the development of ceramifiable polymers which formed the basis of a spin off company known as Ceram Polymerik
designed Controlled atmosphere Cone Calorimeter, a unique small-scale fire test apparatus which is able to operate within a controlled atmosphere, meeting standard operating requirements - the only apparatus in the world to achieve this outcome
contributed to the development of risk assessment tools with University of California Berkley, USA
international expert panel member for the European Union funded Fire Paradox Program
led the project for the development of a spray defence system to increase the potential for fire crews to survive if caught in an accidental burnover in their fire truck.
Listen to Mr Leonard speak about Protecting your home from bushfire (Podcast 27 Sep 06).