Above-ground Fire Shelters


  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • Frankston Concrete Products Pty Ltd
  • Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing
  • Pyropanel Developments Pty Ltd
  • Exova Warringtonfire Aus Pty Ltd


Victorian building act1993, regulations2006, codes2013 and bushfire standards were used to design and construct an above ground bushfire shelter. CAD and FEA models evaluated the shelter capacity, structural integrity, and constructability. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) simulations evaluated the functionality, safety and ergonomic performance. Computational models and VR/AR based simulations were used to mimic live system environments for auditing and fine-tuning the shelter designs. VR/AR based evaluations reduced substantial time and costs (prototyping). VR based evaluations further used to establish shelter essentials (axe/gloves), furniture (seating), and tool box. The shelter has undergone the fire test compliant to AS1530.8.2-2007.

Key Features


Bushfire occurrence is a recurrent and still serious concern in Australia. In such emergencies, domestic fire shelters provide temporary protection to ‘able’ persons during bushfires. Unlike other subsurface fire shelters, a special design of 5 people capacity, above-ground high-tech wall fire shelter has been developed, to meet extreme bushfire attack levels of BAL-FZ with heat flux of > 40 Kw/m2, i.e. as per AS3959:2009 (Standards Australia, 2009). Beneficial advantages targeted by the novel above-ground design strategies are optimal costs, improved constructability and maintainability, pre-fabrication and modularisation potentials, compliance to prevailing standards and guidelines, reliable safety performance.

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