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Ar­chi­tect Ben Wollen from An­der­son Ar­chi­tec­ture says de­sign­ing homes in bushfire-prone ar­eas still leaves own­ers with plenty of scope.

“When peo­ple think of bushfire pro­tected de­sign, of­ten it’s the same thought they had when sus­tain­able de­sign first emerged — there was this idea that it was all straw bale,” he says. “Some think a bushfire-safe house needs to be a bunker but with some care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of de­sign and plan­ning sim­ple forms you can get beau­ti­ful re­sults.”

His firm ren­o­vated this Blue Moun­tains weath­er­board hol­i­day house in a BAL 12.5 zone and man­aged to main­tain the char­ac­ter of the old cot­tage while still meet­ing the code.

Ben says many of the de­sign tools used to create en­ergy ef­fi­cient houses also ap­ply to bushfire pro­tec­tion meth­ods.

“A well-built home works sus­tain­ably but it also pre­vents em­ber at­tack,” he says. “If you have gaps in your house, that’s where em­bers get in.”

He rec­om­mends get­ting a bushfire con­sul­tant on board early so that you can work with the au­thor­i­ties to create a beau­ti­ful house that will be around for years to come.

More: an­der­son­ar­chi­tec­ Pic­ture: Nick Bow­ers

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