Fire resistant / retardant building materials

Wouldn’t it be great if Choice were to do some research and test traditional and new building materials to examine for their fire resistance and structural integrity after fire? and make it freely available?
It would be a great gift for those needing to rebuild.
There is some info out there just not formulated for easy consumption or comparison and it relies on advertising dollars to get the word out which is biased as we know.


Welcome to the forum @Regenerate.

Assuming you are familiar with the typical requirements for building approval and certification. There is a national system of rating any building site in Australia for fire risk. IE Bushfire Attack Level or BAL. All new properties constructed in areas at risk need a BAL assessment from a professional.

The design and construction of any new building in a location subject to a Bushfire risk needs to be rated according to the determined BAL.

There are numerous guides on typical design requirements. These include the methods of construction and materials. The ratings are determined through testing of actual products and designs. The CSIRO was involved with development of the ratings system.

Australian Standards - AS1530.8.1 and AS1530.8.2 cover testing of housing materials for fire rating.

It is a very detailed and complex topic. It would be unlikely Choice could replicate this level of testing which is also provided by others as a paid service. The actual test results are intended to deliver national certification to any product submitted for assessment.

Perhaps there are gaps in the current information. Choice might be able to get some expert comment. I suspect that most of the critical design and product selection is a more specialist area.

For anyone looking to up grade an older home that may be in a higher risk area, the same principles apply. There is nothing to prevent an owner upgrading to a higher level, cost considered. For many older homes simply replacing or upgrading cladding may not be effective. There is currently no requirement to upgrade older homes at risk, and for some homes physical upgrades may not be practicable. There are curtain or high intensity water spray systems as an alternative for older homes, assuming you have independent water and high capacity stand alone pumps. I’m looking at such a system, although the water pump may need to be up to 10kW or 2 of 5kW.

In discussing whether existing features or materials of our house satisfy any of the design or certified materials requirements, the exact details are long lost to the 19th century.


There is a bit out there on fire resistant house designs,

As @mark_m said, there’s more to it than cladding. It’s a bit like solar passive house design, in that there are a lot of things you can do to improve the situation, and if done at the planning stage doesn’t add a huge impost on the overall building cost.