Interim Fire Bunker Guidelines

Regulations Tighten for Fire Shelters

Interim fire bunker guidelines / standards have been introduced by the Victorian Government while they struggle to regulate the industry, which currently has no Australian Standards or reference in the Australian Building Code for manufacturers to meet.

The testing required to develop an Australian Standard for fire bunkers / shelters has not yet been undertaken, and is not expected until at least April 2010, while demand for bunkers has skyrocketed since the February 2009 fires in Melbourne.

The new interim safety standards in Victoria require that companies who sell bushfire bunkers need to be have their designs assessed and accredited.

Those considering building their own bunker, need to have it approved by a qualified engineer.

It has already been seen that in the Black Saturday bushfires, some people survived in makeshift bunkers, but others did not. Bushfire shelters/bunkers are high risk structures, it is important to get the scientific results so that we know what's going to be safe.

Extensive testing has been done on materials, but not on how a person would actually survive within a structure exposed to fire, in terms of temperature, oxygen supply or other fundamentals to maintain life.

For now home owners are recommended to have any bunker design accredited by the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) or the Building Appeals Board (BAB).

More details and the Interim Regulations (PDF) at the Building Commission website.

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