Shoalhaven Community to Lead Bushfire-resilient FORTIS House Design

Published on 29 April 2021

FORTIS house architects Ian Weir and Kylie Feher

The Shoalhaven community are invited to provide input in the development of a bushfire-resilient house design as part of a community-led project being run by Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA), NRMA Insurance and Shoalhaven City Council.  The project, known as FORTIS House, aims to help residents save time and money by providing a highly resilient, sustainable, affordable and adaptable building design, for free.  

FORTIS will make the re-building process easier, with free architectural drawings, construction manual and consumer handbook that shows community members, building designers and trades how to adapt the design to a homeowner’s site requirements, style and required bushfire attack level (BAL) rating. 

The project was established in response to calls for help from community members struggling to re-build their homes and lives in bushfire-prone areas. 

Council is seeking input from bushfire-affected community members in the Shoalhaven to develop the bushfire-resilient ‘FORTIS House’ through an online community design workshop on 26 May 2021. 

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley encouraged community members navigating their way through the re-building process to participate in the project.  

“Council is proud to partner with the Bushfire Building Council of Australia and NRMA Insurance to the FORTIS house design project.  

“This is a unique opportunity for the Shoalhaven community to have their say in how bushfire resilient building design can look and feel, and it will showcase our region internationally.” 

“Community feedback is incredibly valuable to inform the development and design of the FORTIS House, and it will help other bushfire-prone communities recover faster and become more resilient,” she said. 

BBCA CEO, Kate Cotter, said she was looking forward to working with the Shoalhaven community on a recovery project with a tangible outcome that will be utilised by residents. “Recovering communities may face long planning and re-building timelines. FORTIS will provide an easy-to-understand, adaptable and affordable house design template that meets planning and building code requirements – getting people back in their homes faster,” she said.  

“The Shoalhaven community’s contribution to the FORTIS House design project will help bushfire-prone communities improve their resilience, fast-track their recovery and get their lives back.” 

The FORTIS House public launch will be held in Shoalhaven in October this year. For more information, including how to participate in the project visit FORTIS House website or visit Council’s project page to stay up to date.

Image: Karri Fire House, designed by FORTIS house architect Ian Weir and Kylie Feher