Housing options in bushfire-prone areas

Researchers from CSIRO and the Bushfire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) are testing an experimental house developed by the National Association of Steel-Framed Housing (NASH) which is comprised of building design principles.

The house will be built at a test facility in New South Wales, Australia, and then, in mid-April 2010, burnt under simulated bushfire conditions while scientists measure and observe what happens.

Bushfires are part of the Australian landscape. While safe evacuation is the cornerstone of any bushfire plan, it is vital to ensure that houses that end up in the direct path of a fire are as resistant as possible.

Metal roof being lowered onto steel frame of house

Roof being lowered onto the experimental house.

New Building Codes

This study will test the viability of this type of house under a range of the most extreme bushfire conditions. It will also provide supporting evidence for Building Authority approval in relevant Australian state jurisdictions.

This means that the building needs to be resistant enough to protect life and minimise the loss of the building.

This test house has been designed with this requirement in mind and to continue to function as a house after the bushfire exposure.

The test house is a low-rise building of approximately 8m x 4m x 5m high, and is constructed in the same way a full sized family home would be.

Read more about CSIRO's research on Bushfires.