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Solar Homes are the Answer to Fire Risk

The horror has past but the reality remains

Understanding the BAL Requirements

The basic BAL requirements should be seen as a minimal requirement, not a set of rules for designers and builders to get around when building a house.  Like all rules, they are to stop worst practice and help protect peoples’ lives and property. However, if one is intent on living close to a bush setting you can still do a lot more to protect your family and your home.  It will cost extra money but it will be an investment in your future.

Extra Design Solutions

With most widows facing north in Australia, they need to have a cleared solar access zone of 25 to 30 metres so there is a natural buffer between the house and a raging bushfire if it approaches from the solar access zone.  Incorporating double-glazing is an added barrier thermally and will be an extra barrier to infrared radiation from a wall of fire.

The use of solid mass materials as an outside skin, with concrete slab on ground and thermal insulation to walls will greatly buffer occupants away from the ravages of the peak of the fire. Avoidance of suspended timber floors open to the outside where a scrub fire can get underneath is mandatory. Having the home built on a plinth will also stop this occurence.

Timber floors and roofs are generally a risk as is extreme heat exposure to steel and should be carefully enclosed and insulated from the outside.  Roof spaces with timber structures should be avoided wherever possible, as this is a dangerous pathway for fire once the roof material has been penetrated by heat and flame. Stopping the fire from getting into a roof space is fundamental to de-risking a structure. Expert design and detailing is important before building or reconstruction occurs. Having open eaves is absolutely prohibited.  Making sure that all gutters are leaf build-up-proof is an imperative, or we recommend to have no gutters at all.

An all-year-round water source is ideal for a roof sprinkler system. It is important that this can have a battery driven emergency pump to spray water over a heavily metal roof. Tight air sealing to any roof space or cavity is required. This insulation of the roof, although primary protection insulation from hot and cold weather, makes the structure more resilient to heat during fire. The sprinkler system should be operable from inside an internal escape zone in the house (in the case of being trapped) or an automatic system thermostatically controlled in the case of evacuation.

Fire retardant landscaping planted around the surrounds of the home will widen the buffer zone and lessen exposure risks. Provision of a safe escape-zone accessed from inside the house will ensure you won’t have to try and out-run a fire in an extreme crisis. This all adds costs but will probably be a better option than losing the asset if the situation arises again.

Free Advisory Service for Bush Fire Regions

The architects at Ecotect-Architects have offered to help the community by providing a 1 hour Free of Charge consultancy to improve your planning strategy. Before embarking on a new project or retro for re-buildings after a fire catastrophe, or for those considering building in fire risk areas please contact us. We can provide guidance to retrofitting your home for natural comfort using passive solar principles and increasing fire resilience.

Please telephone for a face to face in the Perth region or arrange a skype session for regional and eastern and other states towns in fire risk areas. See or phone:
+61 (08) 9286 3811


Our recent multi- home project demonstrates all these principles. There is zero risk that these homes would ever catch fire or be at risk in anyway.

For more information on Ilios:

Masters of Professional Solutions

The reality is that ocean is increasing on average of 3.3 mm per year and is increasing at the rate of

In 1980 it was about 1.2 mm pa and increasing at about +0.1%. So wake up Australia! The facts are clear and have been for some time. Now we can see the results of inaction and false hope of it going away next low tide season. The burying the head in the sand article aptly points this out.

We am tiring of having to be a ‘Prophet of Doom’, instead we (myself and my colleagues) prefer to be masters of professional solutions. I have initiated and am developing a network of a multi disciplinary team of planners, science and engineering experts to help Local and Regional coast governments to scope out what they are facing with this issue heading towards 2030 and beyond to the end of the century.  This issue alone throws most Councils planning scheme into obsolescence.

Way before their review of their next planning scheme we can help them scope out these problems and offer a range of solutions and concepts, via Wise Earth’s NatSCOPE – ‘National Sustainable Collaboration of Planning Ecology’. We are adding experts continually and can take on any commissions around Australia and refer continually to NASA satellite data, so we are not making up stories, like our populous deniers who think it is storm events, holes in sea channels lack of groins …… anything except ocean level rise.

We as a team are fully aware of the reality of the problems but we are creative and intelligent professionals that can come up with solutions that will save Billions of dollars in infrastructure wastage. It is potentially an economic disaster for our country if we do not move sooner rather than later.  Those who seem intent of not wanting to recognise Climate Change need now to join in with positive progress? If not, whose side are they on? The National interest needs to recognise the facts and stop the ignorant delaying tactics at all levels of society.

Let’s together (including the media) encourage government have the confidence to transcend all unsubstantiated dogma and nonsense conflicts over climate change and at least look into creative solutions that could avert future socio-economic-cultural calamities. This now has to become apolitical and for sustainable answers to be formulated way ahead of the pending problems. The last 20 years have been lost. We could have been way down the track by now.

NatSCOPE will be launched late 2019

NatSCOPE will be launched late 2019.

Co-coordinator Sasha Ivanovich and Garry Baverstock are assembling and impressive list of consultants to solve any coastal problems ahead of the impending impacts to the Australian Coastline.