Choosing the Right Materials: Callignee II with Chris Clarke

Rebuilding a house, or want to build or renovate a bushfire house using eco friendly building materials or low tox building materials?

Chris Clarke, builder, when rebuilding after bushfire and creating Callignee II, wanted to go low tox to support his own health and well-being.

In this interview, I speak with Chris Clarke, Builder and Director of SWALE Modular.

After losing his home in the 2009 Victorian fires in the Gippsland region, Chris embarked on the process of rebuilding on the same site. His home Callignee II was featured in the first episode of Grand Designs Australia Season One.

Part of this included choosing building materials that would suit the bushfire prone area, and also support Chris’s health and wellbeing. Chris shares how he did this, and also why he chose hard-wearing materials like corten steel, glass and exposed concrete.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Chris Clarke (Builder and SWALE Modular)

[Amelia Lee]: In regards to your personal health and wellbeing, you made a lot of choices in this home to support your personal health and wellbeing really effectively. From things like the materials that you chose, through to the infrastructure and those types of things that you put into the home.

How did you go about researching all of this? Because it can be a bit of a bottomless pit when you start to scratch the surface of research and information around materials, crack through all the greenwash. What was your process for making sure that you’re making the right choices for you?

[Chris Clarke]: Again, I’m a very practical person, and I reference this against a good friend of mine that I actually met in a hospital in Mexico. She went along … we were both building at the time, or about to start building, and I think she went through three architects and two builders. And came up with this non toxic house and consultants left right in the centre. And that’s one way of doing it.

I think I just went in the other way because I just didn’t want to spend the money. So I went in and I followed my nose, and … I had multiple sensitivity at the time so everything seriously needed to be non toxic. And I can tell you straight away that it wasn’t so… it was get it out of here!

So we just went back. That’s half the reason I’ve got such a raw, I think, passion and style of building that’s … everything virtually just went back … that’s okay, I’m not sensitive to glass, I’m not sensitive to steel. I can put an emulsion on the slabs.

And if you look at my Callignee home, there was nothing that was painted in the whole place. And so you start seeing things through different eyes. And you start removing trades and elements, until it gets to a point where you know it’s non toxic and you know it’s simple.

[Amelia Lee]: Did you notice the difference to your health and wellbeing, being in that house? Did you know that, was it really significant, in terms of how it supported you and your everyday life?

[Chris Clarke]: Sure, and I actually had that tested as well because I had people who … because I healed and wasn’t as sensitive. And I brought people that actually couldn’t live in homes there. And they’d virtually walk in through the door and said: ‘it’s the only home that I’ve actually ever been able to feel comfortable in, and not have a reaction to’.

So, you know, after all of that, that work … Because it is, it’s a lot of work to actually start going against the grain of the building process. Because it is and can be quite a toxic experience. So it was all worth it.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s fantastic. Now Callignee II is built from a lot of, I suppose, hard industrial materials, as you mentioned before, and many shy away from these types of materials when it comes to housing. I mean, corten steel isn’t a common building material, unfortunately. So it’s such a beautiful, stunning material, but we often see it in big public projects, not in individual residential homes.

What I found when I saw the finished home was just the level of elegance and warmth in it.

Did you ever worry that it wasn’t going to feel comfy and cozy, when it was all said and done? That it was just going to feel really hard? And I suppose very masculine?

Or did you think that it would have a softness, you just knew in the back of your mind that it was going to be … It was going to work?

[Chris Clarke]: I guess one of the best assets that I have is that I can actually see things and feel things through vision. So yes, I always knew that was actually going to be quite a tough house. And how I was going to soften that up. But I think that that was a part of the contrast as well, of how we were actually rebuilding in one of the most horrific bushfires we’d had up to those sort of times.

And that needed to me, to be a tough house. I needed to be able to soften it along the way and I knew I had the ability to do that. Even to the point where I had some … a contrast of this harshness and the softness of linen. So I would have changed in amongst it, and things, so it would have softened up further, now that I’m in a different headspace then I was back then.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think it’s … when you see it finished, you can see what an incredible fortress it is for you. But there’s still such a strong connection with the site and the natural qualities of the site.

And I suppose, having started that project when everything was probably still quite decimated, and then to see it come to life and regenerate during the construction and then of course, in the post occupancy of the home … was that an interesting process for you?

I suppose, kind of initiating the rebirth of your own living experience and then starting to see the rebirth and regeneration of the land around you? You know, through these great big walls of glazing and that really strong indoor-outdoor connection that you created?

[Chris Clarke]: It was, and I guess that we didn’t actually see it for a bit. Because we finished this home and Sean Hamilton actually drove down with his entire team and saw me. He was a good friend and architect, and we sat down around the kitchen table and we’re all talking. And I opened the place up with the bifold doors. And of course you got to think that back in those days there was greening on the trees, but not a lot more. And we opened the fold up kitchen top, and the doors beside them and the louvres, and It’s like everyone just … everyone went: ‘Wow, I’m outside, but I’m inside’.

So we nailed certain sections, and that was what we were trying to achieve for the first one. So there was a connection. That’s, you know that … the pool was to the north, and the sun used to hit the pool and flicker through on the corten ceiling. And those sort of things were all planned with Callignee I, and all plans we held for Callignee II. And to try and hold as much of that as we could. So it’s nice to get out the other side and see some of it worked – or most of it.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think it’s an extraordinary exploration in sort of … how do you remember what was there?

How do you take hold of the things that, you know, were particularly joyous about the type of home that you initially had?

How do you build a home that protects you?

How do you build a home that heals you?

And then how do you build a home that still celebrates the site and the things that you love about it, even though they’re not necessarily present anymore. But you have to be patient and wait to see. But you’ll be seeing them through new eyes.

It’s such a cocktail of stuff to bring … I mean, most people are bringing a lot to a project anyway. But that’s a huge amount to load a project with in terms of navigating it.

[Chris Clarke]: Protect and heal at the front of the list and and then start working through them and interesting conversations with Peter Madison, Kevin McCloud and them talking about this because of course they do it every day for a living. And what people actually go through, and the paths that they’ve taken, and quite often the holes they dig themselves by having the wrong values in place.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think it’s just extraordinary.

THIS IS PART 6 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CLARKE, BUILDER + SWALE MODULAR. WATCH OTHER PARTS HERE: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Lifestyle >>> LEARN MORE ABOUT CALLIGNEE II HERE

Grand Designs | Season 1, Episode 1 >>> WATCH THE EPISODE HERE

Swale Links and Resourceshttp://www.swale.com.au/http://www.dakinihideaways.com.au/https://www.facebook.com/SwaleModularCommunityhttps://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/transportable-modular-boat-house-on-pontoon/

Callignee Links and Resourceshttp://www.swalehomes.com.au/callignee-ii.htmlhttps://gippslandia.com.au/forged-in-the-fire/https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/houses/calignee-ii#
The post Choosing the Right Materials: Callignee II with Chris Clarke appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Creating a Design Brief: Callignee II with Chris Clarke

How do you create a design brief? Particularly after a traumatic event such as losing your home to bushfire?

Your home design brief is an important communication tool. Yet, when recovering after losing your home to bushfire, you can overlook creating one.

Learning how to write a design brief will help you in any renovation or building project, especially when rebuilding after bushfire. It will help establish the vision, and keep everyone on track towards the project outcome you desire.

In this interview, I speak with Chris Clarke, Builder and Director of SWALE Modular.

After losing his home in the 2009 Victorian fires in the Gippsland region, Chris embarked on the process of rebuilding on the same site.

His home Callignee II was featured in the first episode of Grand Designs Australia Season One.

Chris has an incredible story to share, and a lot of insights that are both practical and mindset related to really help anyone who is rebuilding or building in a bushfire prone area.

In this video, Chris talks with me about how to write a design brief, and how his home design brief helped with rebuilding his home.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Chris Clarke (Builder and SWALE Modular)

[Amelia Lee]: Can I just touch on that brief?

Because I tell the Undercover Architect community how important it is to create a brief for your project. And some of the briefs, best briefs that I’ve read, actually almost treat the home like an extended family member. And tell the story of how the home is going to be, and what kind of life it’s going to create for them.

How did you go about writing your brief, particularly after such a traumatic event of losing your home on that site?

[Chris Clarke]: I think that your brief becomes your plan, doesn’t it? You know, you don’t achieve too many things until we can visualise them. So I really needed to get that brief right, and connect to it, you’ve got to put so much energy into. So, the other thing, you know, the great saying that ‘if you’re sailing west, you have to tell everyone where you’re sailing’. Because no one wants to be on board unless you’re going to somewhere that has some nice stops along the way.

So, that to me, it was a bit like: here’s the course. This is where we’re going. This is what’s going to happen amongst it. And this is where we’re going to end up. And Sean Hamilton used to always say ‘I’ve never met someone who holds the brief so well’. So that’s where you connect to your passion, that’s what you’ve got to achieve.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think the power of the brief is to give you a place to come back to and ensure that you’re getting clarity around the decisions. That they’re always in alignment with that holistic vision that you had at the beginning. But so many people write it and then shelve it, and don’t remember to revisit it as they’re traveling their journey.

[Chris Clarke]: Probably a bit of it is robbed as well along the way. So many people have, for their own, probably, self interests and whatnot, steer people in directions that they don’t really want to go. It’s not so easy to hold your brief.

[Amelia Lee]: Did you find it difficult to stay committed to your vision? Particularly with a TV crew following you, and a bunch of well meaning people offering advice along the way? Did you find that you had to fight for your vision on the project?

[Chris Clarke]: I think in the industry, people offer advice all the time and I think it’s then working out whether it’s good advice or bad advice. It’s a big one. And so many people have opinions. And so many people like … (e.g.) even with the driveway in. And this driveway used to meander through and you would see the home from a different angle. And then it would actually take you away and then you’ll come back and it would bring you up to the house.

I remember a good friend of mine, who actually was a surveyor, saying, ‘why don’t you just put a driveway that just went straight?’ It’s like … because I didn’t want a straight driveway! So it, you know, we are who we are. So we build, and I think that the beautiful part is that we need to build, art, style properties that reflect who we are.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s music to my ears, Chris. I think it’s having … I think, if anything, for me … I see really strongly demonstrated in you and this project is that you got really clear on what you wanted to create. And you held really fast to that vision, and had courage in your decisions as you moved along the way.

So many people would question their judgment in certain ways and would have straightened the driveway or, you know, and lost that opportunity … Or being talked out of things that they thought that they were convinced by.

But I think it’s quite amazing to see, that particularly off the back of such a traumatic event, like losing your house for the first time, that you were still able to hold on to that sense of self. And that sense of connection with who you are, to deliver the home in a way that really reflected who you are. So it’s, yes, total kudos to you that you were able to do that.

[Chris Clarke]: Thank you. To me, it’s all about connection. It’s connecting to the environment. It’s connecting to what you want this place to be, and how you want it to actually look after you. Instead of being something that you’ve got to look after for the rest of your life.

THIS IS PART 5 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CLARKE, BUILDER + SWALE MODULAR. WATCH OTHER PARTS HERE: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Lifestyle >>> LEARN MORE ABOUT CALLIGNEE II HERE

Grand Designs | Season 1, Episode 1 >>> WATCH THE EPISODE HERE

Swale Links and Resourceshttp://www.swale.com.au/http://www.dakinihideaways.com.au/https://www.facebook.com/SwaleModularCommunityhttps://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/transportable-modular-boat-house-on-pontoon/

Callignee Links and Resourceshttp://www.swalehomes.com.au/callignee-ii.htmlhttps://gippslandia.com.au/forged-in-the-fire/https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/houses/calignee-ii#
The post Creating a Design Brief: Callignee II with Chris Clarke appeared first on Undercover Architect.

How to Recycle and Reuse Building Materials: Callignee II with Chris Clarke

Many people who are rebuilding after bushfire wonder how to recycle and reuse building materials.

When Chris Clarke, builder, was rebuilding his house, Callignee II, after bushfire, re-use and recycling was a big focus.

In this video, I speak with Chris Clarke, Builder and Director of SWALE Modular.

He shares how he was able to recycle building materials and components, and why this was his choice when rebuilding after losing his home during the 2009 Black Saturday fires.

His use of recycled building materials, and reusing his concrete slab, as well as recycled timber, were all part of creating Callignee II.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Chris Clarke (Builder and SWALE Modular)

[Amelia Lee]: I’d love to talk about the reuse and recycling component of your build. Because you had the tank that you found, that you ended up repurposing. You reused your existing slab. There was some glass and steel structure. And you talked in the Grand Designs episode about the difficulties around testing the stability of these things and the reusability of these things.

A lot of people are curious about when they might see their home completely destroyed, but the slab still in place. Or there might be some components of the structure, whether they can reuse those things.

What was the physical process that you went through to test the viability of your reusing these components? And whether they were going to be useful and worthwhile, and not cause headaches in your actual project?

[Chris Clarke]: I think finding the right consultant and trying to work with an open mind to say: ‘Okay, if this disappears I’ve actually got to replace it with X amount of money and X amount of time’. And a lot of that stuff … we live in a very wasteful industry, and it’s very easy for someone to actually say, just put it in the truck and take it away. And it might be easy for some but not so easy for others.

So Jim Cosentino was the engineer, and a guy that I’ve worked with on quite a few projects beforehand. And he was just amazing. So, he has a wealth of experience and he could come in and virtually take a look at something and say: ‘I know when it’s lost its strength and when it hasn’t’. And because of the way that it’s lost its paint or it’s still got its paint. Or it hasn’t lost any of its strength because it’s still straight, and this may be an issue. So let’s just spend a small amount of money in actually adding elements to prop those things, instead of just completely taking them away.

So in that case, we were trying to work with all of those elements that were there … Our concept was that … there’s a shower that took me two weeks to find that was beautiful. It was burnt and bent, rusted and I think it’s one of my favorite places when we put it back into the home. But the home needed to actually suit that.

So when I found the tank, it was another recycled product. And is the structure able to hold the tank? Yes. And these sort of things, just sort of started to go together. But it’s only just communication with good consultants. And being able to make these decisions real, instead of making the terrible decision just to wipe the slate clean and start again.

Don’t worry, I had consultants come in and say ‘just wipe it’. And of course back then you had some, I think, free demolition at the time. But to me it was worth a lot more to actually hold what was there.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s an interesting value proposition, actually, that you assessed … ‘Well, it might be free for it to be taken away, but it’s going to cost X amount for me to put it back. And so, if I can save a certain amount by having the head start’, then I can imagine too that that would have layered a whole another level of constraint over your design process. Because you would have been working with that existing footprint or that existing structure.

Did you find that constraint helpful? Or did it not even sort of occur to you because it was just a given and that’s what you’re working with?

[Chris Clarke]: No, I think it was helpful. I think that the more things that I say that you can lock in place along the way, that makes the journey in front of you a lot easier. And some people can’t believe the way that I work because they say ‘what are you going to do here?’. And I say, ‘I don’t know yet. But we’ll work it out when we get there’. That’s because I have complete confidence in that area, it’s just that we’re not there yet.

So it wasn’t, I suppose, until we had a really good look at the building, and there was a little bit of greenery coming under … when it poured with rain, if you remember. And so, we thought, this could actually come back, and it’s not dead yet. There’s some elements there. And, you know, the structure really stood there in its glory and after going through such a belting so, ‘why should I put it in my truck?’

[Amelia Lee]: I really commend the structural engineer for being willing to, I suppose, assess that in person. Because a lot of engineers would just be wanting to manage their risk and not invest that effort and energy. So you’re so … I mean, finding the right people to put on your team is such a key part of you being able to achieve success in these types of you know, different combinations, different approaches, to be able to get that result.

[Chris Clarke]: Exactly right. And I think they’re getting harder and harder to get, the people who actually will go outside of the square and do these sorts of things.

[Amelia Lee]: What did the fire actually do to the concrete slab? Did it take the top off it? Or what did it actually sort of look like, after the fire had been through?

[Chris Clarke]: There were, actually three levels to my place. One had a timber floor on it, so I wasn’t worried about that section, of course. The middle section was only slightly damaged, and the top section was completely destroyed. And so the heat had blown a lot of the concrete to pieces, so we put a screed on top.

We had hydronic heating in there as well. So we were trying to use the sections with hydronic heating, because all that stuff again is more and more money. So, we put a screed on the top section and started rebuilding and patching in the pool. But some … most of it was there.

But if you understood the amount of exact work that actually went into the polished slabs, for every window and every door and whatnot. It was all pocketed and you wouldn’t want to do it again. So it’s a good excuse for you to reuse it.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, that’s very true. To actually create a slab that’s worthwhile polishing and getting a good result, you have to be very, very exact in your slab in the first place. So, I can completely understand that, having invested all of that once, you wanted to be able to capitalise on it, the second time around!

Now, the use of recycled timber may seem like a strange inclusion in a bushfire prone area, including timber at all. And it was fantastic to see you in the Grand Designs episode, the adventure that you went on to, you know, source the timber and to get it out to site and reuse it in the various ways that you did in your project.

What made you consider including it? Because obviously preparing that timber is a lot of effort when it’s got bolts and all those kinds of things in it, and a bit of a labor of love to include it. Why was it important to have it in Callignee II?

[Chris Clarke]: I think it was … Number one, it’s just passion. And it was also that everything that I actually buy needed to be non toxic. So, something that had been around for so long … And the wharf timbers, I think you are referring to most of the wharf timbers. I knew that I could put them in, and that would fit into that raw, rustic element of the building. I probably went a little bit far by building actually structural elements out of it. And then, because of course we couldn’t have timber with any structural elements … And then actually covering them and cladding them with corten steel.

The bespoke feel that came out of that is what I was looking for. So it was worth taking the risk. And some of the other ironbark timbers that were used as louvres and things like that were just because that’s what was in the first one (Callignee I). And that’s what I wanted to try and hold for the second one, to try and keep some continuity with the concepts and things that I loved. And to also soften the steel look because we were working with some harsh elements. And of course we even now, in our modular days, we soften everything up with timber.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, it’s quite amazing how even the chunkiest of timber sections can still add a huge amount of warmth and softness to what feels like quite an industrial material palette. So, when you look at the ceiling of Callignee II and the use of the timber sections through there, and that being offset against the rusted metal and the concrete, it’s quite an extraordinary palette of materials. So it was it was really fantastic to see that timber got included and also all the history that it brings to your project as well as, you know, that other layer of storytelling that goes into the home.

[Chris Clarke]: Sure it gives it the soul and of course it was still a very risky move and I remember the producer of Grand Designs saying to me: ‘I think you’ve screwed this one up’.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s like a red rag to a bull!

[Chris Clarke]: Yes, I said ‘you haven’t seen the end yet! Wait to the end!’ So we were playing on the edge and we like to play on the edge. We always say that if we want a 50/50 house, just paint the thing a beige/white. And you’re not going to win and you’re not going to lose because you’re going to catch the people in the middle. But if you’re playing the 95% rule, you know, you got to nail it at 95. Otherwise 95% of the people are going to hate it, but only 5% are going to like it.

[Amelia Lee]: Wow, I love that you had a team of critics in the production crew as you tried to rebuild this project. It’s like: ‘guys, I’m rebuilding after a fire here, give me a break!’.

[Chris Clarke]: She did say at the end, ‘I just reread your brief’ and she said ‘it brought me to tears because it was just exactly like the brief’, so … I said ‘Well, you should have read the brief. It was middle of the building’. But of course you start placing all of that cold steel in amongst it when it’s black. And you can see where they’re coming from. It hadn’t come to life yet.

THIS IS PART 4 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CLARKE, BUILDER + SWALE MODULAR. WATCH PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE and PART 3 HERE.

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Lifestyle >>> LEARN MORE ABOUT CALLIGNEE II HERE

Grand Designs | Season 1, Episode 1 >>> WATCH THE EPISODE HERE

Swale Links and Resourceshttp://www.swale.com.au/http://www.dakinihideaways.com.au/https://www.facebook.com/SwaleModularCommunityhttps://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/transportable-modular-boat-house-on-pontoon/

Callignee Links and Resourceshttp://www.swalehomes.com.au/callignee-ii.htmlhttps://gippslandia.com.au/forged-in-the-fire/https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/houses/calignee-ii#
The post How to Recycle and Reuse Building Materials: Callignee II with Chris Clarke appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Rebuilding House After Fire: Budgeting Tips

Budgeting for a renovation or new home is essential.

Yet when rebuilding a house after bushfire, budgeting for your project can be complex and challenging, especially if your funds are not enough.

In this interview, I speak with Chris Clarke, Builder and Director of SWALE Modular.

After losing his home in the 2009 Victorian fires in the Gippsland region, Chris embarked on the process of rebuilding on the same site.

His home Callignee II was featured in the first episode of Grand Designs Australia Season One.

Chris has an incredible story to share, and a lot of insights that are both practical and mindset related to really help anyone who is rebuilding or building in a bushfire prone area.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Chris Clarke (Builder and SWALE Modular)

[Amelia Lee:] You also had financial challenges, of course to tackle. Because, you know … many people when they’re rebuilding might find that they’re under insured, or that their insurance policy doesn’t cover the extent that they thought it would.

You personally talk about the fact that your insurance was covering the end of the build rather than the value of the project as a completed home. And so you had a smaller budget to work with, then probably would have been ideal for that area and dealing with a BAL Flame Zone.

How did you go about mapping out that budget to get the result that you did? You know, in terms of juggling where you would invest and what you would spend money on and tackling all of those kinds of additional requirements?

[Chris Clarke]: I guess I’m a very practical person. So to me it was virtually taking the whole project often, and working out what I wanted amongst it, and reducing it in size and, and trying to, as I say, put two hands around it … and not let it escape.

And in order to do that we were actually lucky to have it insured. So I was working with a budget that we needed to control and, of course, if you need to control those sort of things, you need to provide your own backup plans in every situation.

Of course when it’s your own project, and it’s a design-construct, you can do that. It makes it a lot harder when you’ve got a camera waving around you all the time. And in some cases, it would have been a hell of a lot nicer actually not to have a camera and you can, you know … do things whenever you liked and wanted to do, and whenever the funds allowed you to do things.

I’ve always said in life that you need to have so many backup plans behind you. So, we would just say okay, what do we want to spend the money on? And sum what’s more important. And if that was very passionate about that and close to your heart, boom. You would push more money over there and less somewhere else.[Amelia Lee:] It would have been interesting having the crew from Grand Designs there. I mean, it’s pretty typical for the episodes that somebody blows out their budget and it always costs more than they anticipated. But did you find that there was a level of accountability for you to a) get the project finished and b) to be measuring it and tracking it against your budget? And demonstrating that, you know, that that was part of your process?

[Chris Clarke]: It was an interesting process, because the premise … I was the last one on two grand is virtually one of the first ones finished and … They said to me, do you want to actually build a house for Grand Designs or go to Europe? And I said both. So I hopped on a plane and went to Europe and they tried to put a lot of pressure on us, because of course they had a lot of pressure.

It was the first series, so we were sort of pushed into really trying to finish. And now you’ve got an idea of this. We’re still putting paintings up and standing on the kitchen table and I’m trying to work out what we’ve spent. They were really wanting to actually get this to Sydney, to, I think to get another series, and get the whole shooting match organised. Because they were losing homes as well pretty quickly, in amongst it.

But yes, it does add a lot of extra pressure and financial pressure. One of the guys that I was speaking to from Grand Designs … he had a place and I don’t know how he ever got through it, because he was trying to find money under every rock.

[Amelia Lee:] It looked like you all had it completely in hand. So, very calm, cool and collected! Although I did note that your team had a lot of pleasure attacking you in paintball so I thought there must have been some behind the scenes argy-bargy happening in the background!

[Chris Clarke]: There’s always a little bit of argy-bargy in building isn’t there? Oh, we need someone on the client side, you know? That’s where I love what you’re doing. And I say it’s a very confusing space out there for homeowners. I need all the assistance they can get.

THIS IS PART 3 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CLARKE, BUILDER + SWALE MODULAR. WATCH PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE.

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Lifestyle >>> LEARN MORE ABOUT CALLIGNEE II HERE

Grand Designs | Season 1, Episode 1 >>> WATCH THE EPISODE HERE

Swale Links and Resourceshttp://www.swale.com.au/http://www.dakinihideaways.com.au/https://www.facebook.com/SwaleModularCommunityhttps://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/transportable-modular-boat-house-on-pontoon/

Callignee Links and Resourceshttp://www.swalehomes.com.au/callignee-ii.htmlhttps://gippslandia.com.au/forged-in-the-fire/https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/houses/calignee-ii#
The post Rebuilding House After Fire: Budgeting Tips appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Rebuilding After Bushfire: Callignee II with Chris Clarke

So, picture this. You’ve spent 10 years planning, designing and then building your dream home. And two weeks after you’ve completed it, it’s completely destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.

Would you start rebuilding after bushfire on the same site? Chris Clarke did, and created a stunning home he called Callignee II.

In this interview, I speak with Chris Clarke, Builder and Director of SWALE Modular.

After losing his home in the 2009 Victorian fires in the Gippsland region, Chris embarked on the process of rebuilding on the same site.

His home Callignee II was featured in the first episode of Grand Designs Australia Season One.

Chris has an incredible story to share, and a lot of insights that are both practical and mindset related to really help anyone who is rebuilding or building in a bushfire prone area.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Chris Clarke (Builder and SWALE Modular)

[Amelia Lee]: You mentioned obviously the change in codes … 2009 accelerated the introduction of the bushfire attack level ratings, and increased standards for bushfire resilience and building in bushfire prone areas. How did you actually go about wrapping your head around these? And the changes in standards and, I suppose, tackling the various components that were going to enable you to meet code, and be able to satisfy the requirements for your property.

[Chris Clarke]: It wasn’t an easy one. They were still making up their mind as we were actually building. And I was lucky I had a great building surveyor, meaning that actually we hit the table … we talked about … but they also were doing lectures in local areas, and I remember sitting in there and they’re saying: ‘Well there’s a new glazing code out now and for flame zone it’s this, this and this’. And I’ve gone ‘I’ve already got my windows in, what are you changing the bar now for?’.

And we’re not just talking about small price tags connected to this sort of thing, you know, we’re talking, you know, tanks and gushes, and window gushes and all sorts of things. And there was $150,000 or $160,000 just in that comment. There you go. Thanks guys. Do you want us to seriously live under a tree, or? No we can’t live under a tree either. Let’s just live in the city because you’ve just made living in the country unaffordable.

So that sort of stuff was a challenge. But obviously we try and take those challenges … like Callignee I was an indoor/outdoor house, and it was all connected on the slope by decks. And then of course we, being in BAL Flame Zone and we couldn’t get a decking system and … so what do you do? So we placed huge amounts of rocks around the areas and tried to paint another landscape in, closer to us, while like the one behind it actually started to rejuvenate. And I guess it was just one after the other and after the other, things like that.

The corten was a non combustible material that was forced to use because we weren’t going to live in a, you know, a concrete bunker without any windows, which is what we’re sort of forced to try and live in. So it’s a big one for me. I don’t necessarily believe that a lot of that actually went in the favors of the people. That’s a … it looks great on paper, and some will seem to want to do the right thing but I think it may have done more damage than good.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, in my conversations with some other people and researching for this, you know, this content project, it’s been really interesting. That query of ‘how do we know that about flame zone actually makes your house resistant during these types of fires?’.

We finally, unfortunately through such a horrible event like the 2019 and 2020 fires, we’ve actually got now the opportunity to collect some data on houses that have been built in these areas to bow flame zone. And say, did they actually manage to protect themselves in these fires? Is this a good outcome?

A lot of people are really hoping that that information does get collected properly and informed in what the next round of changes or improvements might be to the codes for building in bushfire prone areas. Because it is a big undertaking to build in a flame zone area, and it does put a lot of impulse back onto the owner to be jumping through a lot of hoops to make sure that that happens in order to get a house to meet code.

[Chris Clarke]: It sure is, but some of us really love living amongst the trees. And Callignee I had just made front page of Live the Dream Magazine, as in “A tree house grew in Callignee”. It was, you know, that place was amazing. It’s like, there was nothing nicer than waking up in that environment in the morning. So now we’re talking about it being in the same position. Are we allowed to knock the trees down? Or do we have to build something that we don’t want to spend the money on? Or we don’t want to build? Or we don’t want to live in? Which is insane. It’s always been a rock and a hard place.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, very challenging.

THIS IS PART 2 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS CLARKE, BUILDER + SWALE MODULAR. WATCH PART 1 HERE.

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Lifestyle >>> LEARN MORE ABOUT CALLIGNEE II HERE

Grand Designs | Season 1, Episode 1 >>> WATCH THE EPISODE HERE

Swale Links and Resources

http://www.swale.com.au/http://www.dakinihideaways.com.au/https://www.facebook.com/SwaleModularCommunityhttps://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/transportable-modular-boat-house-on-pontoon/

Callignee Links and Resources

http://www.swalehomes.com.au/callignee-ii.htmlhttps://gippslandia.com.au/forged-in-the-fire/https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/projects/houses/calignee-ii#
The post Rebuilding After Bushfire: Callignee II with Chris Clarke appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Save Money – Owner Build

Owner Builders you may have missed out of the Federal Government’s hand out but each state has increased their First Home Owners Grant or have a stamp duty discount, a Building Bonus even a grant for household goods.

Below is a list of what you are entitled to when building, so check out your States/Territory’s incentives for you as an Owner Builder.

Since 1987 we have been helping Owner Builders and the two main reasons to Owner Build have not changed – Control of the project and to save money, and how you save money is to take the place of the builder and save his margin and this can be up to 40%-50% in the case of renovations.

So take advantage of the governments offers.

Original article from Domain

NSW – $35,000

On top of the new HomeBuilder grant of $25,000, NSW first-home buyers already have access to a $10,000 grant for new properties costing less than $600,000 and owner-builder/building contracts worth less than $700,000.

If you’re buying land to build a new home, the total price – including the land and home – must be no more than $750,000.

There is also no stamp duty payable on property under $650,000, or vacant land under $350,000, while properties between $650,000 to $800,000, or vacant land between $350,000 to $450,000 get discounted stamp duty.

That’s a saving of up to $24,740 on a $650,000 home.

Victoria – up to $45,000

Victorians already had a $10,000 grant available for new first homes, and $20,000 for new homes built in regional areas, valued at $750,000 or less. They also don’t pay stamp duty on property under $600,000, with discounted stamp duty applying on property between $600,000 to $750,000.

That’s a saving of up to $31,070 for a home worth $600,000.

First-home buyers building or buying a property in regional Victoria can claim $45,000, while those buying closer into Melbourne will receive $35,000.

Queensland – $40,000

Queensland first-home buyers already got $15,000 towards buying or building a new house, unit or townhouse valued at less than $750,000. With the federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme, that will take the total available to claim to $40,000.

Queenslanders also don’t pay transfer (stamp) duty on homes costing less than $500,000, and a discounted rate up to $550,000. That translates to a saving of $15,925 on a home under $550,000.

Western Australia – $55,000

First-home buyers in Western Australia already had access to $10,000 to put towards the cost of building or buying a new home, but the past week has seen their incentives go next level.

On Sunday the state government announced it would spot home buyers a bonus $20,000 for new residential builds on top of the $25,000 already offered by the HomeBuilder scheme.

For first-home buyers, that takes the total cash pool to $55,000 – and that’s before the stamp duty concessions. 

Based on a purchase of $430,000, a first-home buyer would save $14,440 in stamp duty.

ACT – $25,000

Despite the ACT receiving the least amount of help, all ACT first-home buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty on all properties under a concession scheme which applies to new and established homes as well as vacant land, and at any price, as long as the buyer earns less than $160,000.

Prior to the scheme, ACT first-home buyers had $7000 available to them, but the grant was scrapped to make way for stamp duty abolition.

Tasmania – $45,000

Tasmanian first-home buyers were already eligible for a $20,000 grant from their state government. This applied to any new property, of any value.

Tasmania provides a 50 per cent stamp duty discount on properties below 400,000, which equates to a saving of nearly $7000.

South Australia – $40,000

A grant of $15,000 is already available for new properties valued at less than $575,000, so the HomeBuilder grant will take the total for South Australian first-home buyers to $40,000.

All first-home buyers pay some stamp duty in South Australia, although there is an off-the-plan stamp duty concession available of up to $21,330 on properties under $500,000.

Northern Territory – up to $55,000

A number of grants are available in the NT, as outlined on the Home Owners Assistance web page, but they include a $10,000 grant for first-home buyers, as well as a BuildBonus grant of $20,000.

Any home owner is eligible for BuildBonus but it is limited to the first 600 applications.

There is also a discount on stamp duty that could get first-home buyers up to $18,601 off the cost of stamp duty, as well as a scheme that gives them up to $2000 towards the cost of household goods.

Not including the stamp duty exemptions or the household goods grant, first-home buyers in the NT could get up to $55,000 in cash incentives once the new HomeBuilder grant is factored in.

The post Save Money – Owner Build appeared first on Australian Owner Builders.

Building in a Bushfire Prone Area: BAL Ratings BAL 40 and BAL FZ

You’ve discovered that your property has a BAL 40 or BAL Flame Zone (BAL FZ) BAL rating on it. And everyone is telling you this Bushfire Attack Level, or BAL rating simply means your home will cost A LOT more to build or renovate.

However, there are specific things to know and ways that you can navigate this, to simplify the process overall. In your material choices, your project strategies and the help you seek.

Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting, shares what to target in your bushfire resistant design strategy for rebuilding, building or renovating in a smarter, more resilient way.

In this interview, I speak with Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting.

EMBER Bushfire Consulting is a team of qualified, accredited and experienced fire industry professionals.

Co-Founder, Jeff Dau, has had 28 years of experience as a professional in the fire services industry. For the past 12 years this has been in a range of fire safety fields including fire safety engineering, bushfire protection, building certification and regulation and urban planning.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Jeff Dau (Ember Bushfire Consulting)

[Amelia Lee]: I can imagine you get a lot of pushback from people saying “it’s just going to be so much more expensive. Do I seriously need to do this?” Particularly if a BAL 40 or a BAL Flame Zone rating comes in.

That can be a horrendous shock to people to see what that might mean.

How do you talk through clients in terms of … I know that you’ve had a client who had a property that didn’t have a building on it that went through the recent fires, and they’re now kind of considering how they’re going to actually build on that property to be better performing?

How do you, once you deliver your assessment, how do you talk through clients, that process of ‘Okay, this is the scenario, but this is actually the opportunity’.

[Jeff Dau]: So I think the hardest part is, is that when I look at a site, I see a, you know, I try very much to visualise what it’s like on a bad day. And trying to relay that to the client. And they obviously say “What is the, you know, what is the threat? I don’t see any threat here, you know, like, it hasn’t burned in 50 years, it’s not going to burn again”.

So that’s, you know, they’re not seeing what I see. And that’s often the hardest part of it. Even like in a grassland setting (they’ll say), “it’s an empty paddock for goodness sakes”. But we know that grass fires can still be very, very destructive, very dangerous.

So that’s the first part is that, you know, you know, ‘why do I have to do this?’ I think that argument now is becoming less and less. We can just see that when we’re vulnerable, and more and more areas are vulnerable. So that’s hard.

But what I do try to do, obviously again, if there’s opportunity to move, and this is again that he planning system working, is push you to areas where it’s a lower BAL rating, so it’s safer. It’s also less to build. So that’s the response.

Luckily, the places that I’ve assessed, where they haven’t built yet, that that BAL Rating wasn’t that high. The trick will be, as I said, in these spots where it was always BAL Flame Zone, and the houses 40 – 50 years old or older, and now they have to rebuild.

But I think if it’s been burnt out, then the argument speaks for itself, I think. But it is going to be very hard, you know, just being straight up, it’s going to be hard for some people to deal with that BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone.

And also councils when they let, you know, people rebuild. But I don’t think that’s going to be the case. You know, Rosedale will still continue to re built, but they’ll have to have some pretty tough ones there.

But what I would say is that it is what it is, you know. Let’s … don’t try to duck and weave. And it’s when we duck and weave, that it ends poorly from a planning and a DA (Development Application) point of view, because they can see that you’re trying to avoid that.

And the council doesn’t want to, you know, sort of have a bar of that. They don’t want to have ownership in under-constructing or building in places that you probably shouldn’t build.

Don’t be fearful of it, get good advice, and then you know, and listen to that advice as well.

But don’t … I think soon as we start to avoid, then that’s when you start running into trouble. Or put it on the shelf … “Oh we’ll deal with that later”. That’s when it really hurts. Because then you have to retrofit. Or that design that you’ve had, that hasn’t taken into account is all of a sudden, you know, you begin to lose all your timber facade or your timber deck, it’s gone. So get in early.

[Amelia Lee]: And I think that’s the key thing, isn’t it that if you actually understand these assessments and rating up front early and can factor them into your design process, then it’s not a budget shock down the track. It’s actually creating a different strategy.

And I think that’s going to be key for rebuilding in a lot of these areas. That you’re not necessarily just replicating what you had before, but you’re actually using it as an opportunity to strategise something different.

And something that’s much more resilient.

Can you perhaps … just with the BAL 40 and the BAL Flame Zone (or BAL FZ) … could you just talk through some of the detail of what that can mean for the construction of a property?

And also I suppose other strategies that could come into play?

You touched on bunkers. I had heard that somebody was able to, in a recent project, they were able to include a bunker and that gave them some leeway in the construction of property itself.

How can BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone be approached and what kind of strategies can you use to get good results in those kind of ratings of areas?

[Jeff Dau]: Well, I think the first thing is in BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone is (having) absolutely no combustibles at all. So timber is off the shelf all together. That said, you can use products like Modwood for decking and any number of other products that are still reasonably visually appealing.

So that’s, I guess that’s the first thing. As I said, there’s more and more products that are becoming available. And then BAL Flame Zone it gets up there.

One of the recent changes has been the shutters. So in AS3959 if you can, and certainly in New South Wales, you can use shutters. So you can go for good traditional sort of window set, if it’s protected by the by an appropriately rated shutter.

So that opens up some opportunities. And I can hear people saying “Well, yeah, but shutters are ugly”. Yes, but there are ways of putting within the reveal. There’s … there are you know, there are design, there are techniques, there are ways to address that.

So there’s a little thing there, is the shutters, and that can also reduce the price, particularly if you’re in the BAL Flame Zone area. There is some benefit. So that’s BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone.

Going on to the bunkers. Bunkers is an area of kind of new work. There’s only recently a standard that came in. At the moment, I can only speak to New South Wales. I know in Victoria where, from what I heard through the industries that where you were in Flame Zone, if you put in a bunker that was built to the standard, then you could possibly come down a BAL rating.

So that I think that they do … Again, I think there’ll be more …. there’ll be improvement here. New South Wales RFS (Rural Fire Service) are kind of not sold on it. They’re certainly not opposed to the idea, but from my understanding, it’s not going to get you any concessions.

That said that, you know, I think that personally, I think they’re a great idea. There was a client down in Smiths road down in the area adjacent to the ACT. Great, you know, quite an impressive story that the owner of that property had survived or … they had survived for 2003 bushfires, but their property didn’t. And rather than becoming fearful of it, and I think obviously this took some time, they moved out to the bush.

They were in a very bushfire prone area, but that didn’t let them … it didn’t put them off. They accepted the, you know, accepted the threat. And they put a bunker in, and they just they had everything in place. They knew that they were going to leave early.

But the fact that they did that … rather than I guess running away from this …. going, ‘you know what, for 10 years, this place is going to be beautiful every day of the week, you know, and we’re going to enjoy this.

But if the inevitable does happen at some stage, then we do have a plan B which was this bunker’. I was very impressed by that attitude. And I think that it was quite cheap too. I think it was between $10,000 and $15,000 and, you know, that’s a fantastic insurance policy.

And their road was about 20km out. It’s one way in, one way out. So it is a bushfire prone area, you know, and it also has many access issues there. So I think, again to the question, I think with bunkers, you will see more in this space.

And with a hope that, that they may, they may offer some concession to these BAL 40 / Flame Zone areas. And that’s where we hope. The RFSS are always sort of adjusting … so …

[Amelia Lee]: I think it’ll be interesting. It was a report that I read after the 2009 Victorian fires that had mentioned that, that that thing of somebody was then rebuilding and they were a BAL Flame Zone.

And they were told that they could spend $15,000 on installing a bunker to standard and then lower the house to BAL 40. And it was going to save them about $80,000 overall, because to make the house BAL Flame Zone was a significantly bigger investment than putting the bunker in and dropping it to BAL 40.

So it will be interesting to see if these strategies … there’s a lot of contention I hear around bunkers. But I think it’s because we have so many that are kind of just DIY built things that mould ridden, are not properly ventilated, are not actually fireproof at all and end up being traps for people.

So I think that actually to create some legislation around how they’re constructed and what they need to be, the standard that they need to be built with in order to be an offset measure could actually be a huge opportunity to have holistic kind of solutions to to dealing with construction in those areas. So it’ll be really interesting won’t it?

[Jeff Dau]: Yes, I think so. I think that’s the good that comes out of these not so good events, you know, is that there’s these improvements. So yeah, it would be good to see.

THIS IS PART 6 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DAU, EMBER BUSHFIRE CONSULTING. WATCH OTHER PARTS HERE: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Get in touch with Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting >>> https://www.bushfireassessor.com.au/Find a qualified bushfire consultant by searching for an accredited provider on the Fire Protection Association Australia website >>> http://www.fpaa.com.au/Get access to the Australian Standards AS3959 (instead of Hardcopy, change to PDF Download for 1 user to change the fee to FREE) >>> AS3959 IS HERE
The post Building in a Bushfire Prone Area: BAL Ratings BAL 40 and BAL FZ appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Bushfire Building Standards | BAL Ratings and AS395

Bushfire building standards and codes: What do you need to know about BAL Ratings and AS3959?

When you first discover your property has a bushfire overlay, or is bushfire prone, the various building standards and codes can become overwhelming.

How do the Bushfire building standards and codes relate to each other? And what do BAL Ratings and AS3959 mean for your future home?

And how do ember attacks and the rate of bushfire spread need to be factored into your design approach for a new home or renovation in a bushfire prone area?

In this interview, I speak with Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting.

EMBER Bushfire Consulting is a team of qualified, accredited and experienced fire industryprofessionals.

Co-Founder, Jeff Dau, has had 28 years of experience as a professional in the fire services industry. For the past 12 years this has been in a range of fire safety fields including fire safety engineering, bushfire protection, building certification and regulation and urban planning.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Jeff Dau (Ember Bushfire Consulting)

[Amelia Lee]: We’ve got the BAL rating, so the Bushfire Attack Level. We’ve also got the Australian Standard AS3959. How do those two things factor into each other and talk to each other as part of your creating solution in a bushfire prone area?

[Jeff Dau]: Okay. So the BAL rating is a product of Australian Standard 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. AS3959 is a methodology to conduct a site assessment, first off. So it’s broken into two parts.

The first part is how you would actually conduct a site assessment. It’ll help you classify the vegetations or talk about slope. It’ll talk about setback distances and how you measure that. That’s the first thing.

So it gives you this methodology on how to come up with this, the BAL level. Once we’ve established what the BAL Level is, then we have the BAL rating, then we have a prescription on how to actually then build a house that’s either BAL 12.5, 19, 29, 40, Flame Zone.

So there’s the six settings, there’s also BAL Low. So two parts: how to assess it, and then how do we then construct to that level. So that’s the first point.

And it’s very, very descriptive. It’s very clear. There is a bit of detail in there but if you’ve come up with your BAL 12.5, then you can go to the relevant chapter.

It will tell you what your expectations are for your glazing. What the roof system needs to be. What materials you can use for the facade, and about the decking. It’s really quite comprehensive.

And so that’s how it works, the methodology and then the recipe on how to put a structure together that will match or meet that fire intensity.

So … I hope that explains it.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, fantastic. I think it’s hard because because the Australian Standards, ofcourse, are paid documents. So you see this number crop up as a homeowner. And yes …

[Jeff Dau]: So the good news here is that Standards Australia are releasing AS3959 for free. Yes, it’s very good. Just to have as it as a reference.

So they’re all obviously acknowledging that, and it’s giving that you know, the whole community a chance to have a look at it. And I’d encourage anyone who’s, you know, obviously very interested … the homeowner is very interested in the parts … it’s not that difficult to go through.

But again, a good bushfire practitioner will guide you through that process and material selection as well.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s brilliant. Thanks, Jeff, I have to find a link to that and pop that in the resources.

Now with these bushfires, we saw a rate of spread, and we saw ember attacks, I suppose in ways that people hadn’t necessarily experienced before.

Can we talk through … you mentioned some of the research that Justin Leonard at the CSIRO has been doing … just in terms of what the impact might be for rebuilding in some of these areas and understanding how to build more resiliently around dealing with that right of spread and those ember attacks.

[Jeff Dau]: So what I might do, is I’ll connect the construction with those BAL levels.

So at BAL 12.5 and BAL 19, we’re predominantly looking at ember attack. There’s a bit of a radiant heat there … and I sort of missed that point is that the BAL rating is a measure of radiant heat flux in kilowatts per square metre, which is just basically … to give you an idea, five kilowatts per square metre is, you know, a human can withstand it for a very short period of time. 10 kilowatts/m2 a firefighter in full PPE can withstand that for a very short period of time. Beyond that, then it escalates. So at 29 kilowatts/m2 and above, we have unpiloted ignition of timber. So it means, just through radiant heat alone, you’ll get something that will combust.

So, how that then ties in, is that BAL 12.5 and BAL 19 are predominantly to deal with ember attack so we’re screening windows etc. So at those lower levels that’s the expectation, that the new dwelling would have good ember protection.

There will be some other parts … obviously largely non combustible. Although there area number of timbers that can be used at that level.

At BAL 29 very select few timbers but we’re now starting to see that radiant heat. So as I said, a bushfire will pull apart a structure through the ember attack, through radiant heat, and then through flame contact.

So at BAL 29 and BAL which is the dominant factor there. And then above BAL 40, we’re starting to actually get flame impingement. So we’re getting … the structure is immersed in flame. And obviously, that’s the highest level.

So I think, to answer the question, a lot of these places may come into higher ratings and that’s obviously going to prescribe those higher, those higher levels. There’s a cost associated with that.

And this will be a challenging time for councils, for homeowners. So where once was … and I’m probably speaking of somewhere like Rosedale … there was the beautiful, beach shack that was made out of, you know, some sort of fibro … they find the site now is a BAL 40 or Flame Zone.

And then obviously, there’s going to be a decision point there. And I don’t … the the story from 2009 was that some some sites, you know, not many, but some sites were verydifficult to rebuild. But yes, that will be the challenge.

I think the good news here is that, because this has been underway for quite some time, or you know, AS3959 has been around for some time, there are more products that are available.

The price is coming down, it’s more achievable. People understand the standard. And yes, it’s becoming more and more doable at higher end. But at the lower end, it’s pretty straightforward.

I think, the numbers that are thrown around in terms of cost, is that for, you know, BAL 12.5, BAL 19 ember proofing … the glazing is minimal. Looking at about $10,000 – $15,000 on top of a, you know, very standard build.

So I hope that’s answered the question. But that would be the expectation there.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think that it’s really interesting to see … you know, before you and I, in our correspondence before we jumped on this interview, we were talking about how the Australian Standards for construction … and this is the standards in most places around the world … they’re the minimum that construction needs to adhere to. They’re not the gold standard. They’re not the best performance standard. They’re the bare minimum of what a home needs to, to be, obviously, a shelter.

And it’s really interesting to see homeowners becoming more and more informed about the need to actually exceed standards in order to have a functioning, performing, durable, long lasting home, that is comfortable and is going to last them for the decades that they want it to.

So I’m seeing homeowners actually desiring to build beyond their standards, because they understand that. And many feel that we’re on the cusp of a realisation that these standards need to shift. And there’s obviously pushback in other parts of the industry that makes that a little bit slow to happen.

But it’s quite interesting to see how much this has been led by consumers saying, “look, no, actually, I want something better for my home. I want to protect myself and my family and my asset. And I want to understand what’s involved in that”.

THIS IS PART 4 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DAU, EMBER BUSHFIRE CONSULTING. WATCH PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE and PART 3 HERE.

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Get in touch with Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting >>> https://www.bushfireassessor.com.au/Find a qualified bushfire consultant by searching for an accredited provider on the Fire Protection Association Australia website >>> http://www.fpaa.com.au/Get access to the Australian Standards AS3959 at no charge for a limited time (instead of Hardcopy, change to PDF Download for 1 user to change the fee to FREE) >>> AS3959 PDF STANDARD
The post Bushfire Building Standards | BAL Ratings and AS395 appeared first on Undercover Architect.

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