When a builder with 40 years’ industry experience selects a building product for construction in bushfire-prone country, it’s safe to assume it is going to tick the fire safety boxes. Such was the case for Greg Woon, who, as a volunteer firefighter, understands the realities of Australian bushfire and the importance of being prepared. After considering various construction options for his family’s new fire shelter, located in the picturesque Yarramalong Valley in the NSW Central Coast Hinterland, he chose Dincel
Structural Walling for a number of reasons.
‘For a start we needed a four-hour fire rated underground structure and Dincel walling has been tested by the CSIRO and shown to provide four hours fire resistance, so it certainly met that safety requirement,’ Greg explains.
With the property’s remoteness and a hillside site, Dincel offered other benefits. ‘Two big issues everyone faces when building out here are getting tradespeople and materials to site,’ Greg says. ‘Dincel resolved both issues – and more. The lightweight panels mean you don’t need special cranage, manual handling is easy, and it’s simple to trim them onsite.’
With the Dincel Construction Manuals, Greg found the construction process went smoothly. ‘We actually poured the walls and the roof in one go, so we didn’t need to get a pump in at different stages; apart from doing the base slab and the starter bars out of that, the structure was all done in one straight pour.’
The surface also allows a variety of finishes, and for this project, Greg opted for 125mm thick sandstone blocks for the external cladding, and slate, native teak or paint for the internal walls. Since Dincel is waterproof, it is also suitable for above or below ground water storage tanks of any size or shape for potable water or firefighting purposes, without the need for waterproof membranes on the Dincel wall.
‘From Dincel & Associates engineers drawing up the structural designs, through to support and advice on product use and finishes, Dincel were unbelievably helpful; it’s not just the product that makes a project much easier,’ Greg says.
In accordance with the CSIRO report, Dincel concrete walls can be used in BAL-FZ conditions, which are the most severe bushfire conditions. Assisting with this bushfire resistance is the fact that the system does not require weep holes or crack-control expansion joints, which in turn prevents embers from entering through the wall.