Bunker down to beat threat

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - JES­SICA HOWARD

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.

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