Building Resilience

Anastasia Globa, Dagmar Reinhardt, Adrienne Keane, Peter Davies


The UNSDG 11 has a focus to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. For those living in bushfire-prone areas, this presents a major challenge as demonstrated by the over 3000 homes lost in Australia’s 2019/20 Black Summer fires. The risk of bushfires continues to rise, driven by climate change and how our homes, neighborhoods and regions are planned, built and lived in. Government agencies, councils, architect chapters, and researchers are committed to improving Australia’s resilience to bushfires yet are grappling with ways to further mitigate future disasters and respond to the challenge of what it means to build back Better. This research contributes to the understating of the contributory bushfire risks of secondary or ancillary structures and outbuildings are largely unregulated thus not subject to development assessment or approval processes. These include permanent to semi-permanent structures such as storage sheds, garages, and fences, but also include temporal assemblies which can play a significant role in elevating fire risks such as wood stacks, garden furniture or domestic debris. This study compares Grasshopper3D and game engine Unity3D modeling simulations to assess the fire risk of secondary structures and examines their value as a visualization tool to support awareness and decision making. Both models offer different and valuable outputs to explain bushfire risk. The Unity software has an additional advantage in that it can offer immersive first-person VR or AR applications that may support greater education, communication and engagement. The modeling does not purport to model fire behaviour and future research will be needed to develop these 3D data and simulation packages. Future iterations of this study will also need to involve testing their value with stakeholders as to its role in how individuals to governments consider secondary structures. Through benchmark testing, collaborations with councils and stakeholders on open-access data resources, we aim to provide crucial information on structural resilience and guide and support individuals one step closer to future proofing their house and local communities.