NRMA Insurance backs launch of new disaster-resistant house designs and manuals to help Australians build better


The Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) today launched free architectural drawings, specifications and manuals to make it easier and cheaper for Australians to build sustainable homes that are resistant to bushfires, floods, storms , heat waves and cyclones.

The resources have been developed as part of the FORTIS House project, led by the BBCA in partnership with NRMA Insurance and Shoalhaven Town Council, alongside leading independent resistance experts, engineers and architects bushfires, storms, floods and cyclones.

The project includes:

  • Free architectural drawings and construction specifications of ‘FORTIS House’ – an adaptable home design that is highly resistant to bushfires, storms, heat waves, floods, cyclones, mold and pests.
  • Free manuals for community members, designers and builders explaining how to adapt FORTIS House and its principles to any home design, site and local hazards.

The resources were developed through a globally unique community design process with members of the Shoalhaven community who have been affected by flooding and bushfires.

FORTIS prefabricated homes will be available for purchase and can be built in as little as 12 weeks, providing another fast-track solution for rebuilding.

Bushfire Building Council CEO Kate Cotter said: “We are contacted by thousands of people every year asking for help building resilient homes. Most disaster-affected families never thought they would have to rebuild and they find the process costly, complex and stressful. Meanwhile, those considering building a new property want to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect themselves, their families and their communities.

“FORTIS House will save time and money, speed up the construction process and help people create an affordable, durable, adaptable and highly resilient home. It also has the potential to help improve the resilience of our communities and save lives and property, so we are very pleased to release the drawings and manuals free of charge to all Australians.

A cost-effective and flexible solution that sets a new benchmark for resilience

“Australia is exposed to increasing extreme weather and disasters, but less than 10% of our homes are resilient to local hazards. FORTIS House aims to help solve this problem by providing a new benchmark and practical support for resilient construction based on scientific research, first engineering principles, community collaboration and practical advice from builders, the construction industry. insurance and home builders,” Ms. Cotter said.

Climate and resilience experts from the NRMA Insurance team worked closely with the BBCA and the community of Shoalhaven to develop the resources for FORTIS House.

Luke Gallagher, Executive Managing Director of NRMA Insurance, said: “As an insurer, we see firsthand the heartbreaking impact of extreme weather and disasters on our customers and communities. So it has been exciting to watch the community of Shoalhaven lead the design of FORTIS House.

“It’s amazing to be part of a project that empowers people to protect themselves against these climate and disaster risks and gives them practical solutions so they can build back easier, faster and stronger. We are proud to have worked with the BBCA team over the past three years on projects like this to help communities better understand disaster risk and to help them reduce and mitigate that risk.

FORTIS House incorporates best practice design principles for disaster resilience and is energy efficient, 100% electric and solar powered. Its sturdy construction means it’s low maintenance and designed to last for generations. FORTIS House offers flexible specifications that can be adapted to any home design and local hazards. It uses cost-effective building solutions and readily available materials, allowing builders and households to adapt the design to any lifestyle and budget.

Developed with the community, for the community

To ensure FORTIS House designs and manuals are practical, adaptable and informed by real-life needs and circumstances, the team worked with members of the Shoalhaven community who want to build better homes for them. themselves and help other Australians avoid the agony of losing their homes. .

The community developed their own design brief which included the importance of light, connection to nature, indoor and outdoor family living and the need for a home to provide a sense of security and hope for the future, especially after a disaster.

Ms Cotter said: “The community of Shoalhaven experienced the compounded trauma of bushfires, storms and floods, all within a few months over the summer of 2019-20. This experience and their desire to help everyone build stronger, safer and more sustainable homes has been truly inspiring.

“There is also significant potential for other benefits, with the FORTIS House benchmark providing a platform for insurers, lenders, governments and property markets to recognize and reward resilient homes with best practice.

“The reality is that we have to build better and we can. FORTIS House provides people with the best available science, innovative new solutions and really practical information to help them do it faster and easier.”


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