Author Topic: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires  (Read 2558 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« on: November 09, 2019, 01:13:41 pm »
As you may have heard, parts of NSW and QLD are on fire and people have died. Hundreds of houses destroyed. Another catastrophe. Yep, we have heard it all before and its going to happen again. I think a bit of common sense engineering based on electronics practices could have saved a lot of homes and lives.

In electronics, we design products to work to a set of requirements. We obey standards and we get approvals. We ensure the PCBs and components are UL-94 or similar fire rated so they don't catch fire. We use components that are to operate within their specifications and environment. So, why don't we apply the same principles to building fire proof homes?

I lived in a bush fire risk area for 13 years. I applied common sense engineering principles to build my home myself out of steel frame brick veneer and solid brick. The roof trusses were steel, the insulation in the walls and ceiling were fireproof, the fascias and verandah ceilings were cement sheet. The floors were tiled and the lounge room carpet was wool. The window frames were aluminium. All around the house there was 2.3m concrete verandah. There was nothing to burn! On top of that, the grass was kept low around the home on the few acres we had and there was always water available. A bush fire came within 500m of our house once, but I was not worried.

Why on earth do the civic authorities in California and around Australia continue to allow wooden framed houses with wooden trusses and wooden gutter fascias and wooden door and window frames to be built where embers ignite these materials? It is insane. A recipe for disaster. I noticed on the news tonight one woman "miraculously" discovered her house did not burn down - it was a rammed earth building. Incidentally, termites don't eat steel frames. If electronics were designed like houses in these fire prone areas, we'd be charged with professional negligence and probably end up to jail.

Note that in electronics we obey standards. Same should apply with houses; and the standard should be no flammable materials should be used in house construction in fire prone areas, make them UL-94 rated! And that includes not allowing inflammable cladding into the country. Or aren't people's lives and homes worth it?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 01:17:05 pm by VK3DRB »
 

Online BravoV

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6273
  • Country: 00
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 01:27:37 pm »
Simple, some just never heard of the 3 little pigs story, or forgotten completely ...  :-DD

« Last Edit: November 09, 2019, 01:29:09 pm by BravoV »
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2123
  • Country: pl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 02:27:01 pm »
You did it well. Good for you! But... please, big brother pokes its nose into too many things already.
git diff *
 

Offline chickenHeadKnob

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 828
  • Country: ca
  • doofus programus semi-retiredae
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 06:01:52 pm »
As you may have heard, parts of NSW and QLD are on fire and people have died. Hundreds of houses destroyed. Another catastrophe. Yep, we have heard it all before and its going to happen again. I think a bit of common sense engineering based on electronics practices could have saved a lot of homes and lives.

-- snip--
Why on earth do the civic authorities in California and around Australia continue to allow wooden framed houses with wooden trusses and wooden gutter fascias and wooden door and window frames to be built where embers ignite these materials? It is insane. A recipe for disaster. I noticed on the news tonight one woman "miraculously" discovered her house did not burn down - it was a rammed earth building. Incidentally, termites don't eat steel frames. If electronics were designed like houses in these fire prone areas, we'd be charged with professional negligence and probably end up to jail.
--snip--


Speaking from a Canadian perspective -- Wood frame houses are the established norm here in North America and you would generate significant pushback from the construction and lumber industries which are huge  employers. The wood frame is not the predominant fire contagion risk, it is the cladding and roofing materials. In particular cedar shake roofs and vinyl (PVC) siding and trim are the worst offenders by wide margin.  Personally I am already biased against the esthetics of shake roofs, but many here on the west coast like them.

The cedar shake lobby/industry used to claim the fire retardant infused into the shakes was sufficient and  would claim it lasts 10+ years. Actual tests suggest the fire retardant weathers out in about 2 years. Which is why they are slowly being banned. However building codes are a local thing so there is no uniformity.

 When you see the results of a crowning fire that has swept by a housing division and has only selectively burned a house here or there you can see striking differences in fire performance of cladding materials side by side. I am thinking in particular of a fire in the interior of British Columbia, perhaps the big Kelowna fire. That fire was dropping embers 100's of meters ahead of the fire front. It magically selected some shake-roofed houses to burn and left the others houses alone, cluestick time. After the big Fort Mac fire some of the suburbs burned out completely which is what the news outlets focused on but occasionally the camera would pan and you could see  the houses on the periphery of the burned area. One house would look fairly unaffected while the neighbour with PVC siding would exhibit half of the siding melted off,  dripping and scorched simply from radiant heat.
 

Offline German_EE

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2309
  • Country: de
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 07:44:44 pm »
I've watched dozens of episodes of a programme called 'Holmes on Homes' and the type of materials used to build a home in North America continue to amaze me, and not in a good way. I've seen internal walls made from wood and plasterboard rather than brick, roofs covered by some thin artificial material designed to look like overlapping slate, wires joined by wire nuts, cables not in conduit and the whole thing slapped together using nails rather than screws. Crazy!

In sixty years I've never lived in a European property that wasn't built of brick or concrete and It's been so long since I saw a house fire that I don't remember when it was.

So, build a home solid enough to last a hundred years and the fire risk will probably be reduced as well. Add to that proper management of the land around the building including clearing away anything on the ground that can burn and maybe a few lives could be saved.

Finally. plastic cladding, NO! It looks ugly, it's a fire risk and it means that the outside surface of the wall can't breath.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Warren Buffett
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2019, 05:35:02 am »
A metal framed home should last about 150 years, only needing the corrugated zincalume roofing replaced every 50 years. I built my old place to withstand cyclonic winds.

In Australia many of the fires start with hot embers or ash in gutters where the wooden fascia and trusses are nearby.

I am aware too a lot of houses in the USA are poorly built, having lived there. When Hurricane Andrew hit, the media asked one bloke why his home was the only one standing in the neighbourhood, to which he replied "I built it myself and followed the building code."

But in the house I live in now, the wiring was done not by by professional sub-contractors, but by professional sub-morons who left earth wires off a number of points (earth wires not connected but left clearly dangling in mid-air behind the wall).

It is estimated by an architect that about 70-90% of all recently built high-rise apartments (flats) here have structural problems. Many were built with illegal flammable cladding imported from China. Our state government has announced they will get the taxpayer to foot much of the bill to replace this cladding, rather than making the perpetrators (govt ministers/developers/builders) FULLY accountable. The architect said the problem here is so bad, another Grenfell Tower episode in Australia is not a matter of if, but when.

https://www.afr.com/property/residential/australia-s-high-rise-apartments-face-crisis-of-our-own-making-20190724-p52a8g


 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2019, 08:44:07 am »
I feel for those who lost their homes, possessions and loved ones, but I don't think the responsibility just rests with authorities. I myself live in a bush fire prone area and was a fire fighter for 5+ years. Although I built my home from a timber frame (on purpose), I took other steps to ensure my house is protected, even simple things like metal fly screens can make all the difference when it comes to ember attack.

Fire season after fire season I've seen homes destroyed where the occupants put off maintenance such as keeping gutters clean, trees lopped and general fuel cleared from around the house. It's far too late when a fire approaches.

 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2019, 09:31:02 am »
Most of the older houses in the suburbs around Perth, WA are double brick, with, yes, wooden rafters & usually  trim.
They are not too bad for fire safety, but they will burn, if the fire gets inside.
In the older forestry areas, many homes were built with "weatherboard"(for non Oz folks, they are "boards" specially shaped to overlap neatly).

They are, in many cases, very neat & picturesque, but after 80--100 years of sitting there drying out, they are a bushfire's "favourite food".
In many cases, back in the day, the frames were retained, but reclad in (aiiieeee!!! :scared:) asbestos.

"Asb" or "fibro" is fire resistant, but has a habit of shattering if exposed to enough heat for long enough.

Meanwhile, back in the city, increasing numbers of homes are made, using softwood framed "brick veneer" .
A few years back,there were a lot of steel frames being built, but the softwood ones seem to be in the majority now.

In the "hills" east of the city, there are some very nice properties nestling amongst quite large eucalypts.
To add insult to injury, many are either all wood construction, or have very large polished wood feature walls.

For us peasants, the new houses on "postage stamp" blocks (I don't have one of them) have about a hand's width between them, so if a fire starts a one end of a group of them...

Some of them are made of premade concrete panels & assembled on site, so should be pretty good, but I
don't know whether they have compromised that with other materials added later.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2019, 12:57:58 pm »
I feel for those who lost their homes, possessions and loved ones, but I don't think the responsibility just rests with authorities. I myself live in a bush fire prone area and was a fire fighter for 5+ years. Although I built my home from a timber frame (on purpose), I took other steps to ensure my house is protected, even simple things like metal fly screens can make all the difference when it comes to ember attack.

Fire season after fire season I've seen homes destroyed where the occupants put off maintenance such as keeping gutters clean, trees lopped and general fuel cleared from around the house. It's far too late when a fire approaches.

I agree, some homes up in the Dandenong Ranges here need serious fire prevention maintenance. Surrounded by undergrowth and eucalyptus trees. These people seem to forget the fires of '83 when 47 people were burnt to death up there. People need to be protected from their own stupidity by government legislation. "Give me a home among the gum trees" is asking for trouble. In the Black Saturday bush fires, no amount of clearing and maintenance could save some homes, as embers could travel several kilometres. Building material paradigms need to change, and good engineering design will help define standards.

Personally I dislike trees, unless they bear fruit or are suitable to host a ham radio antenna. The Europeans have the right idea, having their cities devoid of trees. Home owners should be allowed to demolish any trees they want on their own land without a permit, and without the Greenie-infested councils fining them.
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2123
  • Country: pl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2019, 01:50:04 pm »
[...]
People need to be protected from their own stupidity by government legislation.

Oh please.

Personally I dislike trees, unless they bear fruit or are suitable to host a ham radio antenna. The Europeans have the right idea, having their cities devoid of trees.

Watt? You are talking complete bollocks.
git diff *
 

Offline SeanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 15167
  • Country: za
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2019, 04:32:16 pm »
Years ago I was watching CNN, which was then ( for us) giving realtime Gulf War ( still just Gulf War, later Gulf War 1) coverage from Bhagdad. Switch to the London offices, and are reporting on the heatwave hitting London then, with temperatures exceeding 30C, and people dying from heatstroke, and bathing in the fountains. Sitting down for tea at 10, and asked my colleague Raven when was it 30C in here. His reply was "just after quarter past seven", and please note this was winter as well in the southern hemisphere.

Then they popped over to LA, where there was yet another fire burning, and the CNN anchor is out there in a burnt out subdivision, talking to a resident. Korean engineer, standing there outside his house, standing alone in the whole subdivision as being the only one left, and asked him why his house was still there.  He looked at her, told her "I built it myself, and thought everybody know, wood burns".
 

Offline andy3055

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 229
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 05:25:18 pm »
I always wondered about this wild idea: What if each household was allowed to have a locally pressurized water storage system that is connected to an external sprinkler system that would cover the roof and the outside walls that will get activated in case of a fire?

If I lived in my own remote piece of land, that is what I would do.
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB

Offline Bud

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3631
  • Country: ca
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 06:10:25 pm »
, cables not in conduit and the whole thing slapped together using nails rather than screws. Crazy!
Do not know what they use these days but my 30 years old house has twist nails all around. It is nails with spiral flute along the shank. I can tell i have hard time each time i renovate something and need to pull the nails out. It is freaking hard and I wish i'd rather had screws. Twist nails hold extremely well.
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 

Offline RandallMcRee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 372
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 06:28:42 pm »

Timber-frame construction in California has saved countless lives...from earthquakes.

Fires are somewhat new on the scene, I suppose we need to find some compromise. But still, its probably more cost-effective to have appropriate fire breaks around the property than to use, say, brick, which is never recommended in an earthquake area.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e7a3/d7e79d63ddc7b501b6d992a73f45c7d1abf4.pdf
 
The following users thanked this post: SiliconWizard

Offline richard.cs

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 682
  • Country: gb
  • Electronics engineer from Southampton, UK.
    • Random stuff I've built (mostly non-electronic and fairly dated).
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 06:39:51 pm »
I always wondered about this wild idea: What if each household was allowed to have a locally pressurized water storage system that is connected to an external sprinkler system that would cover the roof and the outside walls that will get activated in case of a fire?

If I lived in my own remote piece of land, that is what I would do.
This was discussed on the California fires thread. It looks like it's been done and works well. It needs a big tank and a reliable, low-maintenance pump that will operate without external power, and ideally can be triggered remotely or by the fire. It's clearly an expensive thing to implement so the economic benefit is unclear, but then saving your house isn't just about the rebuilding cost.

I suggest it's better as an addition to rather than substitute for non-flammable roof coverings.
 
The following users thanked this post: andy3055

Offline chickenHeadKnob

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 828
  • Country: ca
  • doofus programus semi-retiredae
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 07:12:40 pm »
, cables not in conduit and the whole thing slapped together using nails rather than screws. Crazy!
Do not know what they use these days but my 30 years old house has twist nails all around. It is nails with spiral flute along the shank. I can tell i have hard time each time i renovate something and need to pull the nails out. It is freaking hard and I wish i'd rather had screws. Twist nails hold extremely well.

Nails are in the building code for a reason - shear strength at 90 degrees to the shaft is better than screws. Ardox nails do have good pull out grip.
 

Online SiliconWizard

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3774
  • Country: fr
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2019, 07:32:03 pm »
[...]
People need to be protected from their own stupidity by government legislation.

Oh please.

Personally I dislike trees, unless they bear fruit or are suitable to host a ham radio antenna. The Europeans have the right idea, having their cities devoid of trees.

Watt? You are talking complete bollocks.

That was fun.
 :-DD
 

Online Zero999

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 13187
  • Country: gb
  • 0999
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2019, 10:06:10 pm »
Years ago I was watching CNN, which was then ( for us) giving realtime Gulf War ( still just Gulf War, later Gulf War 1) coverage from Bhagdad. Switch to the London offices, and are reporting on the heatwave hitting London then, with temperatures exceeding 30C, and people dying from heatstroke, and bathing in the fountains. Sitting down for tea at 10, and asked my colleague Raven when was it 30C in here. His reply was "just after quarter past seven", and please note this was winter as well in the southern hemisphere.
The UK is mostly north of 50 parallel and exposed to sea breezes all the time, so temperatures are normally in the low 20s in summer, although 30C is not that uncommon in south east England. There are normally a few days that temperature near London every year. Above 35 is rare, although it happened the last two summers.

People get used to the local climate. If to got below freezing where you live, not far from the tropics, people would drop like flies.
 

Online nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 18017
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2019, 10:12:02 pm »
Timber-frame construction in California has saved countless lives...from earthquakes.

Fires are somewhat new on the scene, I suppose we need to find some compromise. But still, its probably more cost-effective to have appropriate fire breaks around the property than to use, say, brick, which is never recommended in an earthquake area.
Still a fire-proof cladding of the home would help. I don't think there is much you can do against embers hitting your home so making sure they won't set anything on fire is probably the best option. A fire break will help though even if it just limits the amount of fuel to the fire.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB

Offline andy3055

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 229
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2019, 12:39:41 am »
I always wondered about this wild idea: What if each household was allowed to have a locally pressurized water storage system that is connected to an external sprinkler system that would cover the roof and the outside walls that will get activated in case of a fire?

If I lived in my own remote piece of land, that is what I would do.
This was discussed on the California fires thread. It looks like it's been done and works well. It needs a big tank and a reliable, low-maintenance pump that will operate without external power, and ideally can be triggered remotely or by the fire. It's clearly an expensive thing to implement so the economic benefit is unclear, but then saving your house isn't just about the rebuilding cost.

I suggest it's better as an addition to rather than substitute for non-flammable roof coverings.

That is exactly my point. If saving valuable property and all what a family has that can be "valued," not to mention the destruction to their lives, I think it is well worth it.  It may not be that costly if it is done on a large scale. After all, you need very little hardware other than the space for a tank to hold sufficient water for a couple of hours worth.  Spraying with high efficiency sprinkler heads pointed only at the walls and a pipe line laid on the roof that ends in sprinkler heads to put out  falling embers, can very well make a difference. I bet some one will get the idea soon and make it a business! Insurance companies will love the idea. Imagine the savings they will have!
 

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2019, 05:55:12 am »
I always wondered about this wild idea: What if each household was allowed to have a locally pressurized water storage system that is connected to an external sprinkler system that would cover the roof and the outside walls that will get activated in case of a fire?

If I lived in my own remote piece of land, that is what I would do.

Not such a wild idea at all, in fact some homes in Australia which are at the highest risk bush fire have exactly this kind of system. If you're at the top end of the scale, your construction is deemed "non-compliant" and you will need to satisfy the council that you can reasonably mitigate risks before your development application is approved. In fact, water tanks are mandatory on most new homes and the size is determined by the footprint of house. The smallest tank I was allowed to have on my property was 15,000 litres.
 
The following users thanked this post: andy3055

Offline Berni

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2526
  • Country: si
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2019, 06:50:34 am »
These cheap wooden houses aren't just a issue for fire. In Florida hurricanes rip them up too.

So in response after the disaster they build them again because they are cheap and quick to build. I once saw a press photo after a huricane that showed such a typical wooden house shattered in pieces all over the road, not a single wall left. But then in the background you could spot a old fashioned brick house that was still standing just fine and was only missing some of its roof.

Here in Europe brick houses are by far the most common and i don't think i have ever seen a natural event like that bring one down. Sure nature is a bit more forgiving but we do occasionally get weather extremes in small areas. Things that knock over entire trees causing blocked roads, damaged power lines... etc but the houses are fine. About the worst is that the strong winds throw some of the brick roof off or in rare cases rip parts of the roof straight off. The rest of the building is fine.

But that being said not all houses here are solid brick all trough anymore. Drywall is becoming more and more popular for interior walls due to how cheap and convenient it is. Even the doors are not solid wood anymore. These cheep hollow corrugated mesh material doors are more and more common, i'm guessing you can kick right trough one of those just like in the movies. With the doors we used to have 20 years ago all you would do is hurt your foot and leave a bit of dirt on the door.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2019, 08:18:38 am »
[...]
People need to be protected from their own stupidity by government legislation.

Oh please.


Why do you think the government enforces speed limits on the road.

People who live in bush fires areas where their house is surrounded by undergrowth and have a plethora of eucalyptus trees very close to their home (ie: a fire trap) should be fined for their own good. That is good government.
 

Offline Moshly

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 117
  • Country: au
  • What's wrong with this thing
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2019, 08:20:24 am »
This house was protected in the 2009 Kinglake fires


But I heard that some systems failed because ->
A: Electric pump with no backup generator.   :--
B: Feed pipes plumed above ground, made from PVC.  :palm:
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB, andy3055

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2019, 08:30:41 am »

Timber-frame construction in California has saved countless lives...from earthquakes.

Fires are somewhat new on the scene, I suppose we need to find some compromise. But still, its probably more cost-effective to have appropriate fire breaks around the property than to use, say, brick, which is never recommended in an earthquake area.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e7a3/d7e79d63ddc7b501b6d992a73f45c7d1abf4.pdf

I agree that brick is not the best in earthquake zones, but why not steel frame rather than timber? Steels flexes. I am note sure, as I have never lived in an earthquake zone.

Here is a list of why steel frames are better overall:

Steel is not one the termites' menu.
Steel is fireproof.
Steel is usually pre-punched with holes so you can easily add cables inside walls.
Steel is very strong.
Steel (gal) lasts around 150 years in most places.
Steel frames are bolted or Tek-screwed together - far strong than any nails.
Steel frames don't warp.
Steel frames have similar expansion coefficient to plasterboard.
Steel frames homes (in Australia) can attract a much lower premium from some insurance companies.

But steel frames take more labour to erect.
 

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2019, 09:05:30 am »
I agree that brick is not the best in earthquake zones, but why not steel frame rather than timber? Steels flexes.

Whilst Steel frames have many advantages, they aren't entirely "fire proof" as they can buckle and weaken with extreme heat. They also conduct heat more readily than timber which can then transmit into more combustible materials (causing them to melt/burn). Some other disadvantages include:

- Prone to corrosion
- A better conductor of heat (bad in hot climates)
- Joints can be noisy due to expansion/contraction and can lead to cracking of interior walls
- More expensive than timber frames
- More difficult to hang objects fixed directly to the frame
- Susceptible to fatigue and fracturing

Also despite being "termite-proof" it's still an important consideration as termites will ignore the steel but migrate to areas where other materials can be attacked. It's important not to neglect termite protection, even with a steel structure.

There is no "one size fits all" building material, it just depends on the location, design, budget and environment.
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2123
  • Country: pl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2019, 09:31:46 am »
There is no "one size fits all" building material, it just depends on the location, design, budget and environment.

And the budget is key. What we have is, usually, the best we can afford. That's why this mentality is dangerous:

People need to be protected from their own stupidity by government legislation.
git diff *
 

Online GeorgeOfTheJungle

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2123
  • Country: pl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2019, 09:39:54 am »
Why do you think the government enforces speed limits on the road.

Why do you think some do not?

People who live in bush fires areas where their house is surrounded by undergrowth and have a plethora of eucalyptus trees very close to their home (ie: a fire trap) should be fined for their own good. That is good government.

IMO you should better mind your own bussiness. And read 1984 too.
git diff *
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2019, 10:15:58 am »
This house was protected in the 2009 Kinglake fires


But I heard that some systems failed because ->
A: Electric pump with no backup generator.   :--
B: Feed pipes plumed above ground, made from PVC.  :palm:

Back in the day, when I worked at a number of attended TV sites, some of them had large water tanks with IC engine driven pumps, so in the event of a fire taking out the power Mains, water was available to hydrants that could take the(then) standard fire hoses.
At the first place, the pump motor was a Holden "grey motor" which came up to speed fast, allowing an almost immediate useable flow.(there were remote start butons on each hydrant).

A problem there was that the thing ran on standard petrol, with the required tank itself a fire hazard.
Because of this, the next place was fitted with a biggish single cylinder diesel, which was quite capable of the required pwer, but built up speed so slowly that the water flow was fairly poor.
In fact  it remained poor when it got up to operating speed.

A modern installation would probably work best by using electric pumps, with auto changeover to a small diesel  emergency power plant.
 

Offline Berni

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2526
  • Country: si
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2019, 10:24:01 am »
Id imagine the biggest problem with steel is the cost of the material.

Brick is cheep, but the labor to build a brick wall and finish it into a nice looking painted state is huge. This is why drywall is catching on here since its also really cheap but takes much less work to build and to run cables and pipes inside it.

Steel framed buildings seam to mostly be popular in industry here because they are very quick to put together provided you have a crane to lift them in place. The thing is plenty strong to hold various industrial machinery. The walls are often made from panels of insulation sandwiched between sheet metal. This makes things pretty fire resistant in case there is a industrial mishap. Holes can easily be put into walls when additional piping or wiring needs to be run. I have yet to see a residential home here built this way in my parts of the world.

But woodframed drywall has the cost advantage in all aspects. All of the material is cheep and its easy to just quickly nail and screw things together. Combined with the "spend it all" attitude of Americans not having huge savings and the fact that its common practice to build such houses makes them seam very attractive options.

Same reason why people opt for a cheep car. Okay sure its 0 to 100 time might be measured with a calendar, the ride is unfomrotable, the interior is plastic crap and its most remarkable feature is that the radio can play a MP3 from a thumb drive. But it gets you and your cargo from A to B with less cost in gas and maintenance.
 

Offline richard.cs

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 682
  • Country: gb
  • Electronics engineer from Southampton, UK.
    • Random stuff I've built (mostly non-electronic and fairly dated).
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2019, 10:38:05 am »
A modern installation would probably work best by using electric pumps, with auto changeover to a small diesel  emergency power plant.

Possibly, a submerged pump is desirable as this avoids all issues of suction height and priming, and that suggests remote drive, which could be electrical or mechanical. Diesel is OK for standby use, but needs a reasonable amount of maintenance to be reliable. My inclination would be more towards propane as you can store it indefinitely, and so long as the starting battery is float charged off the grid there's almost nothing that needs doing to keep the system ready to go, maybe set it to crank over without fuel every so often to circulate the oil a bit.


I put some thoughts on the other thread https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/californians-out-of-electricity-cant-get-gasoline-to-generators!/msg2758166/#msg2758166
 

Offline voltsandjolts

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
  • Country: gb
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2019, 10:41:13 am »
"Good engineering can save lives from bush fires"

Indeed. It is heart breaking to watch this destruction, from both human and environmental perspectives.
I can't help but notice the irony though; "Good engineering" got us to this ugly situation in the first place, starting with the discovery of fossil fuels.
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2019, 11:54:34 am »
Why do you think the government enforces speed limits on the road.

Why do you think some do not?
Very few do not have some limits--- maybe none on the open road, like Western Australia when I was first driving, but urban & suburban areas usually have quite strict speed limits.
Quote

People who live in bush fires areas where their house is surrounded by undergrowth and have a plethora of eucalyptus trees very close to their home (ie: a fire trap) should be fined for their own good. That is good government.

IMO you should better mind your own bussiness. And read 1984 too.

It is his business.
Taxpayers money is used for relief of people whose houses have burnt down, and insurance companies increase everybody's premiums when they get a lot of claims.

I don't think "Big Brother" gave a stuff about whether his subjects were firesafe.
In any case, there are a lot of things the local council can fine you for now, which are a lot less life threatening.
Perhaps, in the interest of fire safety, they could trade a few of their more pettifogging rules for VK3DRB's one!

 
The following users thanked this post: VK3DRB

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2019, 11:27:35 am »
I agree that brick is not the best in earthquake zones, but why not steel frame rather than timber? Steels flexes.

Whilst Steel frames have many advantages, they aren't entirely "fire proof" as they can buckle and weaken with extreme heat. They also conduct heat more readily than timber which can then transmit into more combustible materials (causing them to melt/burn). Some other disadvantages include:

- Prone to corrosion
- A better conductor of heat (bad in hot climates)
- Joints can be noisy due to expansion/contraction and can lead to cracking of interior walls
- More expensive than timber frames
- More difficult to hang objects fixed directly to the frame
- Susceptible to fatigue and fracturing

Also despite being "termite-proof" it's still an important consideration as termites will ignore the steel but migrate to areas where other materials can be attacked. It's important not to neglect termite protection, even with a steel structure.

There is no "one size fits all" building material, it just depends on the location, design, budget and environment.

Agreed, steel will buckle with heat, but it is ember attack on wooden framed homes that is the common cause to ignite a house fire.

Corrosion? Frames are galvanised. In areas away from the sea, at least 150 years before they corrode. Corrugated zincalume - 50 to 75 years.

Heat conduction? I never noticed any walls inside heating up. And we had hot days exceeding 40 deg C.

Noisy? Never noticed anything, except from the steel roof when a cloud comes over on a blue sky hot day. I lived in one for 13 years and I never noticed anything much. The roof covered 40sq, or about 400 sqm.

Expensive? Yes, more expensive than PINE timber frames. But the raw steel is still cheap. Generally you prefab the steel walls prior to putting them up and joining them. But the labour is more expensive if you have to pay someone to do it.

Difficult to hang something? I totally disagree. It is far, far easier with steel. Your electronic stud finder will find the centres no problem. The Tek screws are much more versatile and very strong. The steel frames have pre-punched internal holes to route cables. Nothing better. In addition, the frame acts as a Faraday cage to some extent which can be good or bad, depending upon what you are doing.

Steel frames are not susceptible to fatigue and fracturing if they have been MIG or TIG welded properly and the joints painted over and the interconnecting Tek screws are put in place properly.

Overall, steel is superior, but it does take more labour to assemble. If I ever built another house again myself, I would use steel, not using pine - especially if building in a fire-prone area.
 

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2019, 01:02:33 am »
but it is ember attack on wooden framed homes that is the common cause to ignite a house fire.

Yes, ember attack is largely the reason why homes are lost in bush fires but this isn't limited to homes with a timber frame. Even if the frame was directly exposed to flame (i.e.: no brick veneer etc...) it's still quite difficult to burn. Have you tried burning a solid block of wood? It takes a relatively long time and a lot of heat for it to cause a self-sustaining fire. Embers alone won't do it. Even then, the frames of most homes are insulated with brick on the outside.

House fires caused by embers are due to other sources of ignition such as leaf litter in gutters, combustible materials around the home, dry grass etc... An ember is enough to ignite those fuels, which causes a fire that grows and eventually causes enough flame to impact on the structure of a house. A steel frame won't do anything to protect you from a house fire if you have easily combustible materials around your home. Once fire gets into the roof space and starts burning things like insulation, wiring, plastics etc... it's game over.

Using metal fly screens, installing weep hole vents rated for fire, keeping your gutters clear and removing combustible items and plants away from your home will have a much greater impact against bush fire compared to building with steel frames.

Overall, steel is superior, but it does take more labour to assemble. If I ever built another house again myself, I would use steel, not using pine - especially if building in a fire-prone area.

Again, this depends. It's like saying "PC's are superior", in what context? In some cases, timber frames, double-brick, concrete walls can be "superior".

When I built my home, I decided to go with a timber frame even though I live in a bush fire prone area. My home was rated at BAL-29 but the timber frame still complied. The additional cost to go steel would have provided no added benefit for me.

By the way on another note, this is what happens to steel in a bush fire:



This image was taken in 2013 in Winmalee, NSW. Whilst that steel beam in the photo didn't burn itself, it conducts a lot of heat and will cause anything combustible attached to or near it to burn. It's like grabbing a hot fire poker and shoving it in a pile of paper.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 01:07:58 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline jetsam

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 6
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2019, 10:42:02 am »
Forbidding wooden framing would really badly hit the cost of construction and maintenance, and we're already in a housing crisis in California and have been for decades now.  Nobody under 35 who isn't one of the lucky few can afford to get in on the housing market, even at the entry level.  Millennials are starting to live in vans because it's the only way to get out of their parents' homes...

That said, I think you're absolutely right.  Good engineering and code improvements could really help mitigate this wildfire risk.  The problem is threatening to just cream our economies long term (California's and Australia's.  We're like step sisters.  We share the same problems, but sleep in different beds after marrying poorly ;) )  It'd be worth billions if it could be done well.

I wish stuff like that were easier to implement flexibly.  Over-regulating the market will only undermine it further.  If done well, regulation can really work, though, and faster than any other way of addressing the issue can.

My thoughts are with you, Aussies.   Stay clean and breathe well.  I hate the fires, now.  I used to love a camp fire... now, not so much.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5643
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2019, 12:51:26 pm »
Whilst that steel beam in the photo didn't burn itself, it conducts a lot of heat and will cause anything combustible attached to or near it to burn. It's like grabbing a hot fire poker and shoving it in a pile of paper.
Maybe there's a way to make the sprinkler pump self powered by the heat? As in a steam engine?
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2019, 01:27:29 pm »
Forbidding wooden framing would really badly hit the cost of construction and maintenance, and we're already in a housing crisis in California and have been for decades now.  Nobody under 35 who isn't one of the lucky few can afford to get in on the housing market, even at the entry level.  Millennials are starting to live in vans because it's the only way to get out of their parents' homes...

That said, I think you're absolutely right.  Good engineering and code improvements could really help mitigate this wildfire risk.  The problem is threatening to just cream our economies long term (California's and Australia's.  We're like step sisters.  We share the same problems, but sleep in different beds after marrying poorly ;) )  It'd be worth billions if it could be done well.

I wish stuff like that were easier to implement flexibly.  Over-regulating the market will only undermine it further.  If done well, regulation can really work, though, and faster than any other way of addressing the issue can.

My thoughts are with you, Aussies.   Stay clean and breathe well.  I hate the fires, now.  I used to love a camp fire... now, not so much.
We have regular "wailings and gnashings of teeth" over the possibility of terrorist attacks, with money being forthcoming for prevention of such things.

Of course, money for fire prevention & firefighting is a lot harder to get, because it isn't "sexy"!

In the meantime, one halfwit with a box of matches can cause more devastation than the average terrorist could achieve in his wildest dreams!
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2019, 02:07:09 pm »
Nails are in the building code for a reason - shear strength at 90 degrees to the shaft is better than screws. Ardox nails do have good pull out grip.

In earthquake areas the give that nailed joints provide helps prevent catastrophic failure.  I lived through several earthquakes in California and unreinforced masonry (bricks) were always a major problem.  For timber homes the biggest issue was cracked stucco which is not a structural problem.

A couple weeks ago my basement stairs collapsed under me while I was standing at the top; it was quite a ride which left me looking up at the ground floor at midnight wondering how I would get back up.  The original *government inspected and approved* design had the top of the stairs fastened to the ground floor with nails in tension!  WTF?  After raising the stairs with double tackle, I refastened them with construction screws rated for the application, added safety chains to an adjacent double joist, and anchored the stairs at the bottom.  They no longer meet government mandated building code but since it almost killed me, I no longer care to follow it.

I always wondered about this wild idea: What if each household was allowed to have a locally pressurized water storage system that is connected to an external sprinkler system that would cover the roof and the outside walls that will get activated in case of a fire?

If I lived in my own remote piece of land, that is what I would do.

When I lived in the area 20+ years ago, one homeowner setup exactly that with water sourced from his pool.  The local government ordered it removed because it could never be approved and pool water was reserved for firefighters to use during emergencies; tanker trucks and water dropping helicopters fill up at people's pools if needed.  This was right about the same time that local governments were ordering people to remove foliage and brush around their homes because of the fire danger and the EPA was ordering them not to because of endangered species.  I discarded sympathy for voters in California long ago; they support these policies.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 02:08:53 pm by David Hess »
 

Offline andy3055

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 229
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2019, 04:12:01 pm »
I hate the idea of getting into arguments with members on this board as I believe the intent here is to throw possible innovative ideas on various issues faced by all of us everywhere.

Having said that, I do not believe that EPA and the local governments being at the opposite ends of an issue warrants the statement “I discarded sympathy for voters in California long ago; they support these policies.” I also believe that no one needs any sympathy from anyone else in this day and age. People choose where to live and how to live and they have to abide by the laws and regulations therein and face the perils that come with them though there are many instances where people vote for all sorts of idiotic ideas. These comments are not meant to anger anyone but to bring to light how innovative ideas get politicized. So, let us all try to stay away from the politics. Thank you.
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2019, 08:25:38 pm »
My point is that California's problems are entirely political and that is where an "innovative" solution will have to be applied.  Good engineering is futile where it cannot be applied.
 

Offline chickenHeadKnob

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 828
  • Country: ca
  • doofus programus semi-retiredae
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2019, 09:36:34 pm »
Nails are in the building code for a reason - shear strength at 90 degrees to the shaft is better than screws. Ardox nails do have good pull out grip.

In earthquake areas the give that nailed joints provide helps prevent catastrophic failure.  I lived through several earthquakes in California and unreinforced masonry (bricks) were always a major problem.  For timber homes the biggest issue was cracked stucco which is not a structural problem.

A couple weeks ago my basement stairs collapsed under me while I was standing at the top; it was quite a ride which left me looking up at the ground floor at midnight wondering how I would get back up.  The original *government inspected and approved* design had the top of the stairs fastened to the ground floor with nails in tension!  WTF?  After raising the stairs with double tackle, I refastened them with construction screws rated for the application, added safety chains to an adjacent double joist, and anchored the stairs at the bottom.  They no longer meet government mandated building code but since it almost killed me, I no longer care to follow it.


I have built my own wood frame house and participated in building others, the comment about shear strength came directly from a conversation with my local building inspector. A nice chap with an engineering degree. Actually we were mainly discussing the various  merits of glue lam versus other types of built-up structural wood beams.

Sorry to hear about your mishap. I now know why you were missing from action recently from this forum! I was beginning to worry about you. I suspect your stairs implementation was not code approved and just escaped attention somehow. It happens, tract builders getaway with all kinds money saving shortcuts.

An aspect of brick buildings in earthquake zones is that after they collapse a fire then often breaks out in the rubble, as the combustible interiors and ruptured natural gas lines subsequently get exposed to a source of ignition. If a high magnitude earthquake hits the old part of Vancouver, with its inventory of 100 year old multistory brick buildings I expect the same outcome as the San Francisco quake 1906 when the post quake fire killed more people.
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2019, 10:01:27 pm »
Nails are in the building code for a reason - shear strength at 90 degrees to the shaft is better than screws. Ardox nails do have good pull out grip.

In earthquake areas the give that nailed joints provide helps prevent catastrophic failure.  I lived through several earthquakes in California and unreinforced masonry (bricks) were always a major problem.  For timber homes the biggest issue was cracked stucco which is not a structural problem.

A couple weeks ago my basement stairs collapsed under me while I was standing at the top; it was quite a ride which left me looking up at the ground floor at midnight wondering how I would get back up.  The original *government inspected and approved* design had the top of the stairs fastened to the ground floor with nails in tension!  WTF?  After raising the stairs with double tackle, I refastened them with construction screws rated for the application, added safety chains to an adjacent double joist, and anchored the stairs at the bottom.  They no longer meet government mandated building code but since it almost killed me, I no longer care to follow it.


I have built my own wood frame house and participated in building others, the comment about shear strength came directly from a conversation with my local building inspector. A nice chap with an engineering degree. Actually we were mainly discussing the various  merits of glue lam versus other types of built-up structural wood beams.

The shear strength issue makes sense because the sharp edges of a screw concentrate stress.  On the other hand, that can be taken into account by using a larger cross section and better materials but of course that adds to the cost.

In my case, the top of the stairs were attached to the first floor with plain steel nails in tension so eventually they just pulled out of the wood; friction was the only thing holding them and the stairs in place.  I replaced them with construction screws specifically rated for structural use (not drywall screws) and made improvements for safety.

Quote
Sorry to hear about your mishap. I now know why you were missing from action recently from this forum! I was beginning to worry about you. I suspect your stairs implementation was not code approved and just escaped attention somehow. It happens, tract builders getaway with all kinds money saving shortcuts.

Naw, that was a disagreement with our local ISP plus my 20+ year old dual Xeon server finally expiring.  It only took me a week to put the stairs back up and honestly, I lucked out with only getting banged up although I had some pretty serious bruises.

Quote
An aspect of brick buildings in earthquake zones is that after they collapse a fire then often breaks out in the rubble, as the combustible interiors and ruptured natural gas lines subsequently get exposed to a source of ignition. If a high magnitude earthquake hits the old part of Vancouver, with its inventory of 100 year old multistory brick buildings I expect the same outcome as the San Francisco quake 1906 when the post quake fire killed more people.

One area I lived in for many years in Orange County, Southern California was all electric (with aluminum wiring!) for that stated reason and in theory the homeowner's insurance was less although I do not think it worked out that way.  It was built back in the era when nuclear power (from San Onofre) would be too cheap to meter and we know how that turned out.  The lack of gas service combined with the typical lack of insulation contributed to very high utility bills.

There are not many brick buildings remaining in Southern California because past earthquakes destroyed most of them but there are lots of brick chimneys which come down with every 5.5 or greater.  Construction practices there have required post stressed concrete foundations now for a while although I am dubious if that matters.
 

Online Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4470
  • Country: nl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2019, 10:40:51 pm »
I still think there should be some way to quickly pull a reflective tarp over a home.

Launching weighted darts to pull it across should work with enough weight, but even with plenty of padding those darts are going to be pretty dangerous.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2019, 11:20:01 am »
I agree the first line of defence is to remove trees, bracket, leaves etc from around a house.

When we had our Black Saturday bush fires in 2009 (180 dead, massive amounts of property lost), one council fined a bloke for clearing trees which would have otherwise burned his house down. It cost him $100K in legal costs to fight the council. https://www.smh.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090212-85bd.html

I once had to pay $500 in wasteful costs imposed by the council and supply a large volume of paperwork over a period of several months to get a permit to remove a single non-native deciduous tree from my own land, else risk an $8000 fine. The leaves were a fire risk. I asked the council officer why people have to pay and go through all this to remove trees from their own property and the answer was, " If we didn't charge, everyone would be removing trees, ruining the aesthetic appearance of the district." Of course, that is utter :bullshit:, because before they started charging, people were not stripping the suburb bare of trees. Anyone should be able to remove whatever trees they want off their own land. I am sure houses have been lost in bush fires because of the religious fanaticism from tree-huggers.
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #45 on: November 17, 2019, 02:35:48 pm »
I still think there should be some way to quickly pull a reflective tarp over a home.

I saw a product like that but it took several men like half a day to install which seems to me like a good way to fall off of a roof.

I once had to pay $500 in wasteful costs imposed by the council and supply a large volume of paperwork over a period of several months to get a permit to remove a single non-native deciduous tree from my own land, else risk an $8000 fine. The leaves were a fire risk. I asked the council officer why people have to pay and go through all this to remove trees from their own property and the answer was, " If we didn't charge, everyone would be removing trees, ruining the aesthetic appearance of the district." Of course, that is utter :bullshit:, because before they started charging, people were not stripping the suburb bare of trees. Anyone should be able to remove whatever trees they want off their own land. I am sure houses have been lost in bush fires because of the religious fanaticism from tree-huggers.

Where I lived in Anaheim that almost happened to us after trimming the tree on the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and street which we were required to maintain.  The tree in question inexplicably died a year later.
 

Online Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4470
  • Country: nl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #46 on: November 17, 2019, 03:57:03 pm »
I saw a product like that but it took several men like half a day to install which seems to me like a good way to fall off of a roof.

Maybe some tethered drones with ridiculous amounts of lift could pull a weighted tarp even in high winds? Less dangerous than the launch system, but maybe too expensive to have your own set of drones.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 04:00:08 pm by Marco »
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2019, 05:26:49 pm »
I saw a product like that but it took several men like half a day to install which seems to me like a good way to fall off of a roof.

Maybe some tethered drones with ridiculous amounts of lift could pull a weighted tarp even in high winds? Less dangerous than the launch system, but maybe too expensive to have your own set of drones.

It is difficult to imagine that a dedicated service would be economical because even with a helicopter or drones, they would have to service all of their clients at once.

Some people have managed to effectively fireproof their homes with proper construction, materials, and landscaping despite government interference.  California has required non-combustible roofs for a while now (20 years?) although every home I lived in there had a terribly vulnerable shake (wood shingles) roof.  Tile roofs were common even 20 years ago though at least in the more expensive and exposed areas.
 

Online Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4470
  • Country: nl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2019, 06:10:43 pm »
I was imagining a system cheap enough every home owner could have his own ... you could definitely make dart launchers cheap, but it's dangerous and needs accurate setup. Not idiot proof.

Drones are a little less dangerous. If you could make the drones cheap enough you might be able to make a system a home owner can roll it out himself, then have the system self verify (dGPS) it's within predetermined parameters and follow a predetermined path to pull the tarp across?
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2019, 07:01:05 pm »
I was imagining a system cheap enough every home owner could have his own ... you could definitely make dart launchers cheap, but it's dangerous and needs accurate setup. Not idiot proof.

Drones are a little less dangerous. If you could make the drones cheap enough you might be able to make a system a home owner can roll it out himself, then have the system self verify (dGPS) it's within predetermined parameters and follow a predetermined path to pull the tarp across?

One problem I see with systems like you describe is if they are not regularly used, then they have questionable reliability when needed.  After I lost power in the aftermath of an ice storm for a week, among other things, I acquired a propane backup heater and deliberately use it during winter just to maintain readiness.
 
The following users thanked this post: SiliconWizard

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2019, 12:23:07 am »
I agree the first line of defence is to remove trees, bracket, leaves etc from around a house.

When we had our Black Saturday bush fires in 2009 (180 dead, massive amounts of property lost), one council fined a bloke for clearing trees which would have otherwise burned his house down. It cost him $100K in legal costs to fight the council. https://www.smh.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090212-85bd.html

I once had to pay $500 in wasteful costs imposed by the council and supply a large volume of paperwork over a period of several months to get a permit to remove a single non-native deciduous tree from my own land, else risk an $8000 fine. The leaves were a fire risk. I asked the council officer why people have to pay and go through all this to remove trees from their own property and the answer was, " If we didn't charge, everyone would be removing trees, ruining the aesthetic appearance of the district." Of course, that is utter :bullshit:, because before they started charging, people were not stripping the suburb bare of trees. Anyone should be able to remove whatever trees they want off their own land. I am sure houses have been lost in bush fires because of the religious fanaticism from tree-huggers.

I doubt you can blame the tree-huggers----more a combination of the "It reduces my land value" people, & the local council making a grab for power (& "Ohh Boy, do they love power")

I bet your council are not very receptive to ham  radio towers  either !
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2019, 02:05:43 am »
I doubt you can blame the tree-huggers ...

Oh yes I can!
 

Online Marco

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4470
  • Country: nl
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #52 on: November 18, 2019, 02:45:59 am »
One problem I see with systems like you describe is if they are not regularly used, then they have questionable reliability when needed.  After I lost power in the aftermath of an ice storm for a week, among other things, I acquired a propane backup heater and deliberately use it during winter just to maintain readiness.

How about having a custom made set of poles to construct a guide system on either side of the house to pull tarp reinforced with rods across? Passive and long lasting.
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2019, 03:24:56 am »
I doubt you can blame the tree-huggers ...

Oh yes I can!


Of course you can, if you really want to!

My point was simply that an awesome alliance between the "There goes the neighbourhood" types & a power & money hungry local council would be as likely as some "airy fairy" "tree hugger" influence.

My rule is to never get between a local council & a chance to grab money or power!

 

Offline Brumby

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 9407
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2019, 03:28:44 am »
I like the Hobbit's approach myself...

 

Offline coppercone2

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3466
  • Country: us
  • 💎
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2019, 04:05:13 am »
there is something else you can do, other then building bunkers

its called good forestry work, brush maintence and controlled burns.

The best and cheapest defense is... a good offense.

Not to mention.. none of this stuff will save you from death by smoke and gasses. Living in a bunker when everything is ready to blow up into flames is kinda reminiscent of hell don't you think?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 04:07:31 am by coppercone2 »
 

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2019, 05:50:40 am »
I agree the first line of defence is to remove trees, bracket, leaves etc from around a house.

When we had our Black Saturday bush fires in 2009 (180 dead, massive amounts of property lost), one council fined a bloke for clearing trees which would have otherwise burned his house down. It cost him $100K in legal costs to fight the council. https://www.smh.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090212-85bd.html

I once had to pay $500 in wasteful costs imposed by the council and supply a large volume of paperwork over a period of several months to get a permit to remove a single non-native deciduous tree from my own land, else risk an $8000 fine. The leaves were a fire risk. I asked the council officer why people have to pay and go through all this to remove trees from their own property and the answer was, " If we didn't charge, everyone would be removing trees, ruining the aesthetic appearance of the district." Of course, that is utter :bullshit:, because before they started charging, people were not stripping the suburb bare of trees. Anyone should be able to remove whatever trees they want off their own land. I am sure houses have been lost in bush fires because of the religious fanaticism from tree-huggers.

Thankfully in New South Wales, we have some common sense legislation (known as the 10/50 Code) which trumps local council regulations. Under the Rural Fires Act, landowners may remove any vegetation (including trees) within 10 metres, or any vegetation (excluding trees) within 50 metres of the external wall of one's house (and other such dwellings) without council application or approval.

Of course exclusions exist and this code doesn't apply to everyone, everywhere.
 

Offline Berni

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2526
  • Country: si
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2019, 06:28:04 am »
Wait what... You need a permit to cut down your own tree on your own property?! ???

Over here if there is a tree you find in the way you just take a chainsaw and have at it. As long as you are not cutting down someone else's tree, in that case they can sue you for damage to there property, but really you would ask them before doing such a thing anyway. If anything you could be in trouble if your neighbor pays you to remove his tree because the country didn't collect any tax from your profit. But i guess being payed in firewood from that fallen tree would be legally okay.
 

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2019, 08:11:08 am »
Wait what... You need a permit to cut down your own tree on your own property?! ???

Yep and some local councils are particularly difficult about it. Thankfully I live in an area where state fire legislation beats local council nonsense. Winner winner, chicken dinner.  :-+
 

Offline coppercone2

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3466
  • Country: us
  • 💎
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2019, 01:56:39 am »
usually you need to pay per tree
 

Online Sal Ammoniac

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 921
  • Country: us
    • Embedded Tales Blog
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2019, 06:59:17 pm »
Steel is fireproof.

I think the Twin Towers in NY on 9/11/2001 proved that isn't true.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #61 on: November 20, 2019, 10:30:57 am »
Wait what... You need a permit to cut down your own tree on your own property?! ???

Over here if there is a tree you find in the way you just take a chainsaw and have at it. As long as you are not cutting down someone else's tree, in that case they can sue you for damage to there property, but really you would ask them before doing such a thing anyway. If anything you could be in trouble if your neighbour pays you to remove his tree because the country didn't collect any tax from your profit. But i guess being payed in firewood from that fallen tree would be legally okay.

You have it easy. What country are you in?

A mate got a few pallet loads of pavers delivered on the nature strip (a small council-owned strip of land between the kerb and your own block of land), as he was going to pave his driveway. Within hours of the delivery, a council officer showed up threatening to fine him $200 if he does not move all of them onto his own property within exactly one hour. In reply, my mate said he is not going to mow the council's nature strip, to which the reply was that they will fine him if it is not mowed regularly, and they will be watching him. Councils budget for fines revenue which, IMO, is morally wrong, as it is effectively admitting to running an organised scam.

I am all for laws that make people safe (like fire codes, road laws etc), but fining people just to extort money, as per the paver incident, or charging for tree removal permits and fining them if they remove a tree without a permit is just wrong. By the way, blind eye is turned on big money building developers. Hence why flammable cladding has been used for years and many inner city apartments clearly fail to meet building regulations. But the little man gets his arse kicked. If a developer builds a three story McMansion next to your single-storey home, shadowing your solar panels or allowing people to perve into your backyard, you have no rights. However you can legally walk out in your backyard naked and not be fined.

But fining fools who make their home a fire trap where there is thick undergrowth all round in fire prone areas makes sense. The Fire authorities have warned tomorrow's fire risk to be "Catastrophic" in parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and north-west Victoria. We'll see what transpires. Hopefully it won't be a catastrophic day like Black Saturday and Ash Wednesday. And it is not even summer yet.
 

Offline Black Phoenix

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 440
  • Country: hk
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #62 on: November 20, 2019, 01:56:07 pm »
But fining fools who make their home a fire trap where there is thick undergrowth all round in fire prone areas makes sense. The Fire authorities have warned tomorrow's fire risk to be "Catastrophic" in parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and north-west Victoria. We'll see what transpires. Hopefully it won't be a catastrophic day like Black Saturday and Ash Wednesday. And it is not even summer yet.

Do you guys suffer from criminal arson? In Portugal is very common, unfortunately.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #63 on: November 21, 2019, 08:30:02 am »
But fining fools who make their home a fire trap where there is thick undergrowth all round in fire prone areas makes sense. The Fire authorities have warned tomorrow's fire risk to be "Catastrophic" in parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and north-west Victoria. We'll see what transpires. Hopefully it won't be a catastrophic day like Black Saturday and Ash Wednesday. And it is not even summer yet.

Do you guys suffer from criminal arson? In Portugal is very common, unfortunately.

Yes. https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/11820099994/black-saturday-arsonist-jailed. 17 years in a taxpayer funded holiday camp is far too lenient for killing 10 people innocent people. A lot of bush fires are caused by arsonists, but another accidental cause is battery powered angle grinders. Another one is dry lightning strikes.  Cigarette butts are no longer a big issue, because few people smoke in Australia.


 

Offline Electro Detective

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2212
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #64 on: November 21, 2019, 10:45:13 am »

It's shameful to think that perhaps Australia may be THE criminal arson capital of the world  :-[ 

No matter what precautions in place, if the pricks are on a payed agenda for whatever the reason/s ( -enter your fav conspiracy theories here- )
or just plain fun seeking firetards,
they'll wait for the right hot dry day and wind conditions to do it.  >:(

Arsonists, bus stop vandals and mindless graffiti assholes deserve a good phone book 2x4ing
followed by a tar, feather and paint spray go over
from their victims and dead victims relatives and friends

Let's see how quick they'll resume that stupid s*** again  :scared:

If you think that's a bit over the top,
it's still a better deal than what they'd get in some other countries  >:D
that can't afford to tolerate such criminal BS that impacts their already struggling communities..


Too many aussies are still smoking btw, to their graves

If smokes were $1000 a box, they'd rob and or sell body parts (theirs last) to fill their lungs with tar and designer lab crap 'keep buying' chemicals

Sad creatures, I can't believe I too was taken in by it, for so long =  :palm:

Who knows how much great test gear I could have bought instead of playing along with the social choo choo train,
and most likely would have better quality non smoker friends too,
and lose those stenchy eye irritating ash tray aromas a lot earlier

Good riddance to bad rubbish  :phew:



 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #65 on: November 21, 2019, 12:18:28 pm »
Just in... https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/arsonists-may-have-lit-strathallan-fires-60-000-without-power-20191121-p53cvm.html
Despite the arsonists, I still think lives would be saved if houses were engineered to withstand bush fires. For arsonists (and Gargasoulas) long sentences with hard labour needs to be reintroduced.

Good that you are no longer an addict. I know many engineers, technicians and programmers and not one of them smoke. Smokers are now considered losers. I enjoy witnessing French backpackers getting a shock here when they have to buy their smokes at $32 per pack and realising they are looked on as addicts rather than being cool.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective

Online Sal Ammoniac

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 921
  • Country: us
    • Embedded Tales Blog
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #66 on: November 21, 2019, 06:14:56 pm »
One of the biggest causes of brush fires in my area (Northern California) is assholes who throw their burning cigarettes out the window of their cars when they're done smoking them. This is an arid area where it doesn't rain at all between April and November, and by summer the landscape is brown and crispy. This dried out grass and brush frequently extends right down to highways and roads so that it's easy for a burning cigarette thrown out of a car to start a fire.

It should be common sense not to throw burning cigarettes out of cars during fire season, but apparently it's not because a large number of fires start this way every year.
 
The following users thanked this post: andy3055

Offline andy3055

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 229
  • Country: us
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #67 on: November 21, 2019, 08:03:42 pm »
You hit the nail on the head! I have seen this all over while driving.
 

Offline Electro Detective

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2212
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #68 on: November 21, 2019, 10:18:45 pm »

The only way to fix it is throw those smokers out of the moving car,
and butt their smouldering stink sticks in the vehicles ashtray.

Sell their car and proceeds handballed to legit charities catering to families hit hard by smoke and fire related illness/death

Too easy   :D
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #69 on: November 22, 2019, 03:33:33 am »

The only way to fix it is throw those smokers out of the moving car,
and butt their smouldering stink sticks in the vehicles ashtray.

Sell their car and proceeds handballed to legit charities catering to families hit hard by smoke and fire related illness/death

Too easy   :D

I have a possible engineering solution, fitted to all cars.

If ((HUMIDITY_OUTSIDE < x) && (TEMPERATURE_OUTSIDE > y) && (CIGARETTE_SMOKE_DETECTED_INSIDE_CAR))
{
   SlowDownCar (Z);   // slow down gradually over Z seconds
   BringCarToHalt ();
   TransmitGpsLocationAndTime ();
   SetDashboardAlarm (DO_NOT_DISCARD_CIGARETTE_BUTT_OUTSIDE);
   WaitUntilSmokeIsCleared ();
}

This could work with modern telematics in cars. The smoke detector would need to discriminate between pollution or bush fire smoke, and just detect, for example nicotine in the smoke. If a fire starts, the authorities can quite often can pinpoint where it started from and when. If the location matches the GPS location, you've got the offender. I personally don't give a damn about the rights of smokers. Besides, smokers are already controlled by denying them the right to smoke in certain areas (workplaces inside and outside, airports, restaurants, public transport etc), so they should be used to it.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 03:35:04 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5643
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #70 on: November 22, 2019, 04:07:05 am »
Just make smoking illegal.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 
The following users thanked this post: Halcyon

Online Halcyon

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3732
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #71 on: November 22, 2019, 07:03:46 am »
Just make smoking illegal.

Perhaps not "illegal" but certainly increase taxation and deny free healthcare to those who choose to smoke. I get that quitting can be hard, but suck it up (so to speak).

It's a disgusting habit and thankfully in Australia it has become "unusual". The restrictions on where people can smoke are getting tighter, with Hobart becoming entirely smoke-free from April 2020 or risk a fine of $338.
 

Offline Electro Detective

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2212
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #72 on: November 22, 2019, 09:32:25 am »
As a hard core ex-smoker (no thanks to advertisements during kids shows and teenage peertard pressure) I always still knew that everyones RIGHT TO BREATHE untainted air,
came way before suckers deluded selfish 'right to smoke',
so I chose when and where to do it that didn't impact others.

The 'smokers rights' attitude thing is one of the reasons I gave the s*** up, and even though occasionally a craving or two sneaks in  :scared:  it's just not going to happen,
nor do I need some substitute product to cater for a fleeting moment of slack willpower.

i.e. weak willed inconsiderate smokers and cig companies can joyride on the helltrain for all I care, 
I blew enough cash and health points to earn the 'RIGHT' to say that. 


@ EEVblog puffers: lose the smokes, if only for the money saved,
and fwiw repairs and projects don't go smoother or solutions magically appear just because of you 'lighting one up' and thinking about it. A 'time out' on a task without a fag works just the same.

And, here's the cruncher: if the people around you don't respect your attempt/s to give up,
LOSE them too, that's what I had to do.

You can't 'give up' when weak willed Puffing Billy F heads keep offering you a bloody smoke every 10 minutes..   :horse:


 

Offline SL4P

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2094
  • Country: au
  • There's more value if you figure it out yourself!
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #73 on: November 22, 2019, 10:20:19 pm »
Good engineering in this case would involve locking pollies out of their offices... or better still into a porta-loo on the back of a tuck!
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #74 on: November 23, 2019, 04:28:53 pm »
Steel is fireproof.

My experience in the US is that small steel buildings used in place of timber construction are more susceptible to fire damage and insurance is higher on steel buildings for this reason.  Timber has to burn through before failure but steel loses strength and bends.

A mate got a few pallet loads of pavers delivered on the nature strip (a small council-owned strip of land between the kerb and your own block of land), as he was going to pave his driveway. Within hours of the delivery, a council officer showed up threatening to fine him $200 if he does not move all of them onto his own property within exactly one hour. In reply, my mate said he is not going to mow the council's nature strip, to which the reply was that they will fine him if it is not mowed regularly, and they will be watching him. Councils budget for fines revenue which, IMO, is morally wrong, as it is effectively admitting to running an organised scam.

I am all for laws that make people safe (like fire codes, road laws etc), but fining people just to extort money, as per the paver incident, or charging for tree removal permits and fining them if they remove a tree without a permit is just wrong. By the way, blind eye is turned on big money building developers. Hence why flammable cladding has been used for years and many inner city apartments clearly fail to meet building regulations. But the little man gets his arse kicked. If a developer builds a three story McMansion next to your single-storey home, shadowing your solar panels or allowing people to perve into your backyard, you have no rights. However you can legally walk out in your backyard naked and not be fined.

Where I am a permit is required for any sized concrete pad.  This has nothing to do with safety and is for tax assessment purposes; they need to know what you have for property taxes.

So when I extended my patio, I did it with paving stones which require no permit.  Under the paving stones is several inches of concrete.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #75 on: November 24, 2019, 02:40:11 am »
... My experience in the US is that small steel buildings used in place of timber construction are more susceptible to fire damage and insurance is higher on steel buildings for this reason.  Timber has to burn through before failure but steel loses strength and bends.

...Where I am a permit is required for any sized concrete pad.  This has nothing to do with safety and is for tax assessment purposes; they need to know what you have for property taxes.

So when I extended my patio, I did it with paving stones which require no permit.  Under the paving stones is several inches of concrete.

My home that was in a fire risk area are attracted 30% premium discount from the insurance company (house and contents insurance), purely because the frame was steel. True, steel buckles, but it does not catch fire from ember attack like wood does.

Your concrete pad sounds like pure revenue raising, but here it is illegal here to remove ANY masonry construction without a demolition permit for a licensed demolition company to remove the structure. I had to pay $700 for the permit to tear down my old brick garage and $3,000 for a demolition company to do their work. I wanted to do it all myself, but that would attract an $8,000 fine. The $700 is extortion because the council does not need to do anything. No site inspections, nothing, other than issuing a stamped permit. The only difference between the Italian Mafia and local councils is that the councils issue a receipt.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective

Offline SL4P

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2094
  • Country: au
  • There's more value if you figure it out yourself!
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #76 on: November 24, 2019, 02:57:32 am »
@VK3DRB ... I like you. A real Australian, pushing back on irrelevant bureaucracy!
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective

Offline coppercone2

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3466
  • Country: us
  • 💎
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #77 on: December 02, 2019, 11:22:45 pm »
... My experience in the US is that small steel buildings used in place of timber construction are more susceptible to fire damage and insurance is higher on steel buildings for this reason.  Timber has to burn through before failure but steel loses strength and bends.

...Where I am a permit is required for any sized concrete pad.  This has nothing to do with safety and is for tax assessment purposes; they need to know what you have for property taxes.

So when I extended my patio, I did it with paving stones which require no permit.  Under the paving stones is several inches of concrete.

My home that was in a fire risk area are attracted 30% premium discount from the insurance company (house and contents insurance), purely because the frame was steel. True, steel buckles, but it does not catch fire from ember attack like wood does.

Your concrete pad sounds like pure revenue raising, but here it is illegal here to remove ANY masonry construction without a demolition permit for a licensed demolition company to remove the structure. I had to pay $700 for the permit to tear down my old brick garage and $3,000 for a demolition company to do their work. I wanted to do it all myself, but that would attract an $8,000 fine. The $700 is extortion because the council does not need to do anything. No site inspections, nothing, other than issuing a stamped permit. The only difference between the Italian Mafia and local councils is that the councils issue a receipt.

and the mafia might be a bit cheaper lol
 

Offline David Hess

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 10064
  • Country: us
  • DavidH
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #78 on: December 03, 2019, 03:49:31 am »
and the mafia might be a bit cheaper lol

The difference between the mafia and government is that the government expects you to thank them for robbing you.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5056
  • Country: au
Re: Good engineering can save lives from bush fires
« Reply #79 on: December 03, 2019, 04:23:20 am »
and the mafia might be a bit cheaper lol

The difference between the mafia and government is that the government expects you to thank them for robbing you.
And the government does try to avoid placing dead horses heads in your bed.
On the other hand, as the electors excel in placing the other end in their legislative bodies, maybe they have more of a fellow feeling for their equine friends.
 
The following users thanked this post: Electro Detective


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf