Why bushfire safety rooms could be next home renovation trend

  • April 14, 2023


As Australians look to climate-proof their properties with solar panels and water tanks, perhaps bushfire-safe rooms could be next on the home improvements list.

Researchers have tested a bushfire-safe room that could protect people and valuables in an emergency.

“In theory, people could survive in this shelter for up to two hours, but we need to test other conditions like air quality before recommending human survivability too,” lead researcher Anthony Ariyanayagam said.

It’s the first time a bushfire-proof room has been built and tested using realistic bushfire exposure conditions.

The Queensland University of Technology team tested the room for more than an hour to simulate fire approaching, immersion by fire and residual heat.

The insulated room was made with steel-framed walls and fire-resistant concrete on the roof. It maintained an interior temperature of 29 degrees Celsius despite testing temperatures of nearly 1000 degrees outside.

Unlike safety bunkers, which are built as stand-alone shelters, the design has the potential to form part of an everyday house, or for its principles to be expanded to the whole house.

More than two million Australians live in areas that have a high or extreme risk of bushfire.

Australia’s only Pritzker Prize-winning architect Glen Murcutt has designed sleek, deceptively simple houses that respond to the nuances of their environment, including bushfires, since the 1980s.

Water features, sprinkler systems, heat-reflecting ceramic tiles and gutters that reduced leaf clutter are some of the design elements he’s used to make his houses more bushfire-resilient.

Yet despite this, a high level of bushfire resilience is not a compulsory part of Australia’s building standards.

That’s because the standards are designed to help protect human lives, not buildings, said Ian Weir, one of Australia’s only specialists in bushfire architecture.

Dr Weir, who used to work with the

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Richmond resident builds map of his city – from Lego

  • November 6, 2022

He’s recreated some of Richmond’s most historic and iconic buildings, now Peter Grant has built a map of the city

Richmond’s “Lego Man” has been hard at it again.

This time, Lego Man, aka Richmond resident Peter Grant, has recreated a map of his home city, using the famous toy bricks.

Grant showed off a miniature version of the map – for which he used 14,000 pieces – at the recent Family Farm Day at London Farm.

In the completed larger project, Grant even placed yellow dots, in Lego of course, of the sites where he has already replicated some of the city’s historic buildings.

The Richmond News has shared many of Grant’s creations with our readers in the past, including the likes of Abercrombie House, which was built in 1895 on the south dyke, Goldie Harris house on No. 4 Road, which was built in 1912, and Eldstrom house, which was built around 1912 on Finn Road by settlers from Finland.

Of a less noble nature, but still historic, Grant recreated Canada’s first McDonald’s, which is still open today on No. 3 Road, just south of Granville Avenue.

Grant often spends months sourcing tiny pieces of Lego from around the globe to make sure his creations are as close to the actual design as possible.

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