Close up view of the pattern formed as smoke spreads from a fire.


Improving fire safety, control and prevention

Expertise and a first-class research and testing laboratory makes CSIRO a global leader in the area of fire safety, control and prevention.

  • 3 February 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011


CSIRO offers solutions to the challenges posed by fire safety issues in buildings, transport infrastructure and Australia’s bushfire-prone environment.

We have a track record of success in addressing complex issues created by the requirements of building codes, standards and regulations at the design stage of projects.

Additionally, ongoing research is leading to the development of new methods of fire safety design, fire-safe materials and advanced fire detection systems.

The work is undertaken at the Fire Science & Technology Laboratory (FSTL) in Sydney and Melbourne.

Ongoing research is leading to the development of new methods of fire safety design and new fire-safe materials.

Skills and experience

The specific areas of expertise include:

  • material flammability technology and reaction to fire
  • materials of improved fire performance
  • bushfire impact on urban infrastructure
  • fire detection technology.


The FSTL facility gives CSIRO the capacity to conduct research and development that is boosting the competitiveness of Australian industry and improving public safety.

Our research is assisting in the development of:

  • better performance prediction methods and measurement technologies
  • technical advances that drive improvement in the built environment
  • improved fire hazard and risk evaluation in bushfire prone areas
  • development and evaluation of new fire-safe materials.


FSTL capabilities will be further enhanced with the construction, starting in 2005, of a new fire research laboratory in NSW.

FSTL is only one of two laboratories in the world to win the approval of the Japanese Government for the fire resistance testing of building materials and systems for the Japanese housing and construction market.

The small-scale material flammability research is supported by the Microflammability Laboratory in Highett, Melbourne.


The research initiatives involve extensive collaboration with fire agencies, research bodies and services, including:

  • Australasian Fire Authorities Council
  • Country Fire Authority, Victoria
  • International Association for Fire Safety Science
  • New South Wales Rural Fire Service
  • New South Wales Fire Brigades
  • Queensland Fire & Rescue Service
  • Society of Fire Safety
  • South Australia Country Fire Service.

We also collaborate with government agencies and universities, including:

  • Australian Building Codes Board
  • BRANZ, New Zealand
  • Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • CRC for Polymers
  • University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering, Victoria University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, UK.

Read more about our research in Fire Safety & Control.