Why do you need a bushfire consultant? When does a bushfire consultant get involved in a renovation or new build project?
A bushfire consultant is a specific type of professional and an essential team member on specific projects.
Meet Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting to learn more about whether your project needs this type of professional.
In this interview, I speak with Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting.
EMBER Bushfire Consulting is a team of qualified, accredited and experienced fire industry professionals.
Co-Founder, Jeff Dau, has had 28 years of experience as a professional in the fire services industry. For the past 12 years this has been in a range of fire safety fields including fire safety engineering, bushfire protection, building certification and regulation and urban planning.
So let’s dive in.
Amelia Lee + Jeff Dau (Ember Bushfire Consulting)
[Amelia Lee]: Jeff, it’s fantastic to have you here. I’m really looking forward to being able to talk with you about this (your area of expertise) because it is something that can be quite bamboozling to homeowners who find out that they’ve got bushfires owning or some type of, I suppose overlay on their property that they have to then create a building solution for.
And so I think you’re going to be able to provide a huge amount of knowledge and information for people to kind of clarify that process for them a lot more effectively.
Can you first tell us how you actually got into this line of work in terms of bushfire assessments and bushfire consultancy?
[Jeff Dau]: Yeah. So it’s, it’s been the combination of a lot of things. My grounding is as a professional firefighter, that’s the basis. And I started that when I was 20. I love the bush and studied environmental science, and that led to bushfire … it’s allowed me to bring two things together, which I have loved.
I think probably the third thing that occurred was in 2003. We had the bushfires, obviously hit here in Canberra, and really wanted to do something different in terms of the way that we could really address the issue and clearly, fire suppression.
You know, firetrucks are only part of the answer, but to design and to build and to truly understand our environment is kind of what led me to this point where I again, I can bring this experience and the knowledge together to help out homeowners and architects and design and build for bushfire.
[Amelia Lee]: Yes, what I love is that you’ve got this beautiful diversity of experience and knowledge that just comes in from so many different dimensions, to actually give such a comprehensive understanding to what you’re dealing with in terms of the advice that you’re giving around bushfire and building better for resilience around bushfires and performance in those kinds of environments.
So I’m just so excited to be sharing you with the UA Community because I know that your knowledge is going to be incredibly helpful to them.
Can you perhaps just go through some basics for us first. In terms of logistics … I know a lot of people when they find out they’ve got that bushfire overlay, or they’ve bushfire zoning on their property with their early inquiries, and they don’t even know what a bushfire consultant is or why they might need one.
Can you tell us when and why bushfire consultant comes into play in a renovation or building project?
[Jeff Dau]: I guess I’ll step back just quickly. My area of practice is New South Wales so I’ll speak to the New South Wales system.
There are similar systems in Victoria and perhaps where your other listeners are. But certainly the very first trigger is this overlay that you speak of. In New South Wales it’s bushfire prone land that has been declared by the local council.
And that’s a trigger. It’s a red flag. And it’ll be different from Council to Council. So the local, one of the local councils here, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, largely about 90% of it is bushfire prone.
So when someone’s looking to develop their … whether it’s additions or alterations, or it’s a new dwelling, or it’s a greenfield site … the very first question is, is it bushfire prone (amongst other things), but bushfire prone then triggers that need to do an assessment.
So that’s that’s the first point. It’s just a simple yes or no. And if you’re fortunate enough to not be in a bush prone area, then there’s no further consideration at all.
But it’s worthwhile keeping in mind that the mapping changes, I know that local Goulbourn-Mulwary recently updated their bushfire prone map. So while you are not in a bushfire prone area at the moment that could well change, I’m sure post this season, we might see that in some councils.
[Amelia Lee]: Yes, definitely. I think there’s going to be quite an overhaul of all of that process because it was such a surprise to see some of the areas that were threatened by bushfires.
THIS IS PART 1 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DAU, EMBER BUSHFIRE CONSULTING.
This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.
Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.
Resources mentioned in this video:
Get in touch with Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting >>> https://www.bushfireassessor.com.au/
Find a qualified bushfire consultant by searching for an accredited provider on the Fire Protection Association Australia website >>> http://www.fpaa.com.au/