Bunker down to beat threat
ONE Tasmanian couple is taking extra precaution for the state’s bushfire season.
BYA Architects director and project architect Drew Edwards designed a home extension for his client and sister Wendy Edwards and her partner Michael Rowan for their Birchs Bay property, which also includes a personal fire bunker.
“In January, Wendy and Michael were so frightened by the fires they put this in recently to be ready before this fire season as a last resort if a fire approaches and they cannot leave,” Mr Edwards said.
The bunker was made by Victorian company Wildfire Safety Bunkers and can hold six people for more than an hour. There is also a 12-man version.
Mr Edwards said the prefabricated bunkers were easy to install.
“They are designed, certified and constructed so that you do not need to be a registered builder to install them, some basic skills and anyone could install one,” he said.
“Wildfire told me people are buying two bunkers so they can fill the second with their personal effects, important identity information and records so they are not lost with the house if they leave.”
Mr Edwards said it had cost $15,000 to install the product, but a reduction of red tape could bring the price down.
“They are a National Construction Code class 10c structure, pre-engineered, prefabricated and certified as a personal bushfire shelter – the trouble is the Tasmanian director of building control has not addressed these in his 2017 determination allowing them to be building-permit exempted, so people need a building permit to install one and that also means they need a building surveyor and more time and money spent than necessary,” he said.
Wildfire Safety Bunkers director Anthony Tratt said they were getting more and more orders from Tasmanians.
“I wish there’d be more of them because you live in a bad area for bushfires so it’d be great to see more people become more resilient and have not just a fire plan, but a back up like this,” he said.