Built experience

After the recent devastating bushfires, with the loss of property, I make some suggestions on rebuilding or upgrading people’s present home.

More and more people choose to live in an area that is prone to bushfires and if I were asked to design and build a house in a bushfire area, I would set certain specifications.

Floors were to be concrete with walls of double brick.

The roof of concrete or double-skin, heavy-gauge corrugated iron with 50mm fireproof insulation between sheets and built with four hips, or a straight gable with brick ends. No valleys or box gutters and roof gutters 150mm wide.

A bullnose veranda all round would be an added advantage and the veranda floor either brick paved or concrete.

All windows and door openings to have double-skin hinged metal shutters, with 50mm fireproof insulation and ready to be closed should a bushfire approach.

There would be a sprinkler system on the main roof with water drawn from an adequate storage tank and powered by a petrol or diesel pump.

The land around the house be cleared to a minimum of 20 metres of high trees and all flammable material and replaced with lawn.

Finally, buildings in bushfire areas should not have an evaporative airconditioner.

Some of my suggestions could be made to existing buildings.

In addition, a small auxiliary diesel generator to operate essentials and a small airconditioner would be a welcome help should the need occur.

Those specifications would no doubt make a house more expensive, but I have no doubt it would have a good chance of surviving in a bushfire.