Australia — Victoria’s PLanning Minister Justin Madden said the guide would potentially help about 470,000 householders in bushfire-risk areas.
Mr Madden said the detailed guide had been developed by the Building Commission and CFA in consultation with fire specialists to help people improve their preparedness using the six Bushfire Attack Levels as a benchmark.
“This is Fire Action Week and all Victorians are being encouraged to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season, Mr Madden said.
“While newly-built homes are required to meet new national building standards, it is vital to encourage the 470,000 homeowners in high risk areas to look and see what can be done to improve the ability of their home or building to better withstand a bushfire.
“While retrofitting is not mandatory, it is highly recommended that owners and occupiers consider retrofitting homes that may be exposed to bushfire.”
Mr Madden said the guide contained a range of practical suggestions for flooring, walls, windows, skylights, external doors, eaves, gutters and vents for each bushfire attack level to minimise the risk.
“This includes measures such as sealants for areas around windows or roofs, building materials that are fire-resistant, recommended distances from the ground for combustible materials and installation of sprinkler systems,” Mr Madden said.
“While retrofitting does not guarantee a home will survive a bushfire, it can substantially increase the buildings resilience to bushfire attack.”
Mr Madden joined the McCowatt family at their Langwarrin South home to inspect their new extension built to the new standards and to discuss what other retrofitting measures would be suitable for their home.
“The McCowatts have been proactive in seeing what can be done to improve their homes resilience in the case of a bushfire,”Mr Madden said.
“I recommend all householders in bushfire-prone areas to also check their dwelling and see what action is appropriate for their individual circumstances.”
The Building Commission has started holding seminars for building practitioners, architects and building surveyors about the benefits of retrofitting existing homes.
The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) referred to in the Guide provides owners and builders with a reference to the level of potential risk to their property during a bushfire.
The Bushfire Retrofit Guide will also be available at local councils, from the CFA and Rebuilding Advisory Centres.