While floods, storms, cyclones and bushfires are part of the Queensland life there are things that we can do to prepare our buildings.

The more buildings that are prepared before an event the less disruption that homeowners and the building industry have to go through after a flood, storm or bushfire hits.

A resilient home can also save homeowners on their insurance bill.

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) provides the following advice to better prepare Queensland homes





Step one – Understand the risk

The local council should have local mapping available of past flood events and will have planning requirements on a given property given the level of expected risk.

Step two – Reduce the risk

Some of the options to consider include:

  • Wet-proof the lower level of a home by installing polished concrete or tiled floors can significantly reduce clean up and recovery efforts following floods.
  • Install louvres in the walls of the lower level of the home to enable water to easily flow through the home during a flood and reduce damage.
  • Widen the stairs from the lower level of the home to allow occupants to easily move furniture upstairs ahead of a flood.
  • Use flood resilient materials such as marine ply for cabinetry, cabinetry designed within a stainless steel frame. (Kitchen cabinets are often the most expensive items to replace and repair after a flood event.)

Step 3 – Home maintenance

Regular inspections and maintenance can identify cracked roof tiles or broken sealant around windowsills that may lead to water entering a home during a wet weather event.

Access the full QRA Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes.

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Cyclone, storm tide

Step one – Understand the risk

Queensland homes within 50 kilometres of the coastline north of Bundaberg need to be strong enough to withstand cyclonic winds. In addition, homes located within 100 to 200 metres of an open shoreline are at risk of impacts from breaking waves caused by storm tide.

Check with the local council to see if the property is in a storm tide area. If so, consider talking to a coastal engineer who can confirm whether a property is likely to be impacted by waves during a storm tide.

Step two – Reduce the risk

The National Construction Code (NCC) provides minimum construction requirements for safe housing and a home constructed after the mid-1980s, should have been designed and built for the wind speed specific to its particular location. Homes constructed using the correct wind classification and to current codes and standards have generally performed well in recent events.

However, choosing to do more than the minimum requirements for some features, the additional cost can be much lower than the cost of replacing the same items on a completed home or repairing the damage to floor coverings and linings caused by a cyclone.

  • Consider the water penetration performance of different windows with the required wind rating. Some materials and systems allow less water into a home under severe wind loads than others. Consider different window seals and types and configuration of weep holes.
  • Install additional bolts and stronger hinges to entrance doors so they are less likely to blow open.
  • Strengthen the walls and ceiling of one or two rooms located at the centre of the home to create a strong compartment that can be used for shelter during a cyclone (Remember, sheltering inside the home is only applicable if you are not located in a storm tide zone).
  • Install additional clips on gutters so that they are less likely to blow off during a cyclone.
  • Install suitable cyclone screens or shutters to protect windows from debris.
  • For homes close to seawater, use components and connections that have higher levels of corrosion resistance.

Step 3 – Home maintenance

Home inspections and maintenance are required following a cyclone, or every seven to ten years to ensure a home can withstand strong winds, rain and flood. This includes a thorough inspection for structural issues such as broken verandah posts and non-structural elements such as sealant around window sills.

Access the full QRA Cyclone Resilient Building Guide.

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Step one – Understand the risk

Contact the local council to understand the bushfire risk and what impact this is likely to have on the building. Houses within a bushfire-prone area will require determining the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL).

Step two – Reduce the risk

The NCC provides minimum requirements for safe housing. For houses within a bushfire prone area, additional (bushfire specific) building requirements will apply, including constructing to Australian Standards, AS 3959 (2018) Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas; or NASH Standard (2014) Steel framed construction in bushfire areas.

The requirements seek to minimise home vulnerabilities which can create a breach in the building envelope and let a fire into the house. These include:

  • roofs, gutters, facias and soffits
  • door and window gaps and opening gaps in the roof and wall sheeting
  • re-entrant corners
  • vents and weepholes.
  • subfloors

Step 3 – Home maintenance

Regular home inspections to check for gaps between external cladding sheets and seals.

Access the full QRA Bushfire Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes.

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