Tim­ber deck­ing in bush­fire-prone ar­eas

Australasian Timber - - DECKING -

THE AP­PEAL of nat­u­ral el­e­ments in home de­sign is en­dur­ing and, ac­cord­ing to Bo­ral Tim­ber, Aus­tralian tim­ber re­mains one of the most de­sir­able ma­te­ri­als for do­mes­tic deck and ve­ran­dah con­struc­tion.

To min­imise the risk to prop­erty dur­ing a bush­fire, Bo­ral Tim­ber is re­mind­ing deck­ing pro­fes­sion­als to con­sider a num­ber of de­sign and land­scap­ing rules and year-round main­te­nance mea­sures. “New struc­tures must com­ply with the re­quire­ments of the Aus­tralian Stan­dard (AS3959 -2009) Build­ing in Bush­fire Prone Ar­eas,” says Leon Travis from Bo­ral Tim­ber.

“In ad­di­tion, check that deck­ing is spaced at around zero to five mil­lime­tres, as larger gaps of five to 10 mil­lime­tres have been shown to be par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to em­ber at­tack*. Fill in small gaps around the deck struc­ture where an em­ber might be able to lodge - larger open­ings can be fit­ted with em­ber guards, such as per­fo­rated mesh with two mil­lime­tre open­ings.

“Use mesh or bush­fire re­sist­ing tim­bers to en­close the sub­floor of the ve­ran­dah. Black­butt and Spot­ted Gum deck­ing from Bo­ral are suit­able for use in bush­fire prone ar­eas up to BAL 29, as set out un­der Aus­tralian Stan­dard AS3959,” says Travis.

As part of wider prop­erty pro­tec­tion mea­sures, Travis also en­cour­ages con­trac­tors to dis­cuss deck main­te­nance with their clients. “A few sim­ple steps can help to pro­tect an ex­ist­ing ve­ran­dah be­fore and dur­ing the fire sea­son, such as trim­ming back or re­mov­ing shrubs near an open­ing to the house, re­mov­ing leaves and twigs from roofs and gut­ters, seal­ing ve­ran­dah’s with a non-com­bustible seal, and sub­sti­tut­ing flammable wood­chips and shrubs with dec­o­ra­tive stones and more fire re­sis­tant plant species. If they are in any doubt, home­own­ers can con­tact the lo­cal fire au­thor­ity for more in­for­ma­tion.”

Bo­ral Tim­ber rec­om­mends Aus­tralian hard­wood species for the build­ing of decks and a va­ri­ety of other ex­te­rior home im­prove­ments, be­cause of their high den­sity, tough­ness and dura­bil­ity.

De­rived from AS3959-2009 (Con­struc­tion of build­ings in bush­fire prone ar­eas) - Clause 5.7.1

Hill­top House-Si­mon Wood.

Black­butt deck­ing.

Ex­tend­ing the liv­ing area.

Spot­ted Gum Hen­ley Deck.

Out­door Deck.

SG Schanke deck.

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