Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE FORTIS HOUSE PROJECT?
The FORTIS House project is comprised of free architectural drawings, specifications, and handbooks to make it easier and more affordable for Australians to build sustainable houses that are resilient to bushfires, floods, storms, heatwaves, cyclones, mould, and pests.
The world first community-led resilient house design has been developed by the Shoalhaven community in NSW, supported by technical experts to help other Australians avoid the heartache of losing their home.
The FORTIS designs, specifications and handbooks are available to download now.
WHO DEVELOPED THE FORTIS HOUSE PROJECT?
FORTIS House is a Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) project, supported by NRMA Insurance and the Shoalhaven City Council. The FORTIS team is a collaboration of Australia’s leading independent resilience scientists, engineers and architects. FORTIS House was developed with Shoalhaven NSW residents who were affected by bushfires, storms and floods in 2019 and 2020.
HOW DO I USE FORTIS HOUSE?
Households can download the free FORTIS House design drawings and specifications to either build an off-the-shelf FORTIS House or use FORTIS as inspiration for their own unique design.
The purpose of FORTIS is to provide clear, practical, highly resilient designs, building techniques and strategies that everyone can adapt to suite their site and lifestyle.
FORTIS House designs, Household Handbook and Technical Handbook are available to download for free at fortishouse.org.
WHAT FREE RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?
FORTIS House resources are available under a free license for all Australian households, for personal, non-commercial use. The resources include:
– Free architectural drawings and construction specifications of ‘FORTIS House’ – an adaptable house design that is highly resilient to bushfire, storm, heatwave, flood, cyclone, mould, and pests.
– Free handbooks for community members, designers and builders outlining how to adapt FORTIS House and its principles to any house design, site and local risks.
WHY DO WE NEED TO BUILD BEST-PRACTICE RESILIENT HOMES?
Extreme weather and disasters are becoming more frequent and intense. All Australian homes are exposed to some level of risk, whether in regional or urban areas.
FORTIS House and resilience principles provide a new benchmark for building stronger, more sustainable buildings, for all Australians.
Lifting the quality, resilience and lifespan of our buildings helps protect people, their homes, livelihoods, communities, the environment and economy.
SHOULD I STAY IN MY FORTIS HOUSE IN A DISASTER?
No. The only safe option is to leave early and follow the directions of emergency services.
FORTIS House has been designed to be self-defending, providing you with the confidence to ‘lock up and leave’. The purpose of FORTIS is to increase the resilience of buildings so people have homes to return to. Should evacuation fail, a FORTIS House can improve the chances of your survival, but should only ever be an option of last resort.
DOES FORTIS HOUSE MEET EXISTING BUILDING CODES AND STANDARDS?
FORTIS House uses existing building standards and adds FORTIS resilience measures to provide a best-practice benchmark that meets and exceeds building regulations.
The FORTIS Technical Handbook provides detailed information on relevant building standards and FORTIS specifications.
WILL BUILDING A FORTIS HOUSE MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN CATASTROPHIC EVENTS LIKE THE 2019-20 BUSHFIRES OR THE RECENT FLOODS?
Post-disaster evidence, research and testing tells us how and why buildings are destroyed and what we can do to drastically increase the survivability of our houses and other buildings.
Resilient buildings minimise the impact from disaster events and are one aspect of community resilience. Other community scale resilience measures are required such as land-use planning, landscape management, warning systems, emergency planning, supply chains, services, education and resilient infrastructure.
Our multi-disciplinary team of experts applied decades of research and engineering first principles to develop FORTIS House, so that all Australians have access to the best available building science, in a practical, useful format.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A FORTIS HOUSE?
FORTIS House minimises costs by providing free designs and specifications to reduce consultant fees and fast-track the design process.
FORTIS reduces building costs by using simple design forms, using readily available materials and construction methods. FORTIS has been designed for both prefabrication and on-site building. Prefabrication speeds up build times and can alleviate local trades and materials shortages.
FORTIS Houses cost between $400,000 and $700,000 to build, depending on the selected design, size and site requirements.
Contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of approved FORTIS prefabrication suppliers who can provide you with a quote. Households can also obtain quotes directly from local builders.
FORTIS has been designed to provide lifetime cost savings through:
– Avoiding or reducing the cost of repairs and re-building with disaster resilient design and materials
– Reduced out of home costs following a disaster
– Energy efficient design to reduce energy consumption
– Self-sufficient power and water
– Low maintenance materials
– Robust construction providing a long building lifespan and use of recyclable materials.
– Providing a platform to enable governments and industry to recognise and reward best-practice resilient houses.
HOW DO I GET FORTIS CERTIFICATION?
FORTIS certification is included when building a FORTIS House through approved FORTIS prefabrication suppliers listed on our website (available from May 2022).
All other FORTIS builds can obtain FORTIS certification by contacting us at email@example.com.
Your building designer can request a design check service if you are adapting FORTIS to your own design, and our inspection team can certify completed builds.
FORTIS certification provides a platform to enable insurers, lenders, governments and property markets to recognise and reward best-practice resilient houses.
I’M A PROPERTY DEVELOPER, HOW CAN I BUILD FORTIS HOUSES?
Commercial use of FORTIS trademarks, designs and resources are subject to license, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The FORTIS team can work with you to create FORTIS certified resilient homes, townhouses, apartments, commercial buildings, public buildings, estates and communities.
I’M A PREFABRICATION MANUFACTURER, HOW CAN I BECOME A FORTIS SUPPLIER?
PrefabAUS invited all members to apply for the FORTIS open tender. Contact PrefabAUS for more information at email@example.com
HOW IS FORTIS SUSTAINABLE?
FORTIS is self-sufficient and sustainable. It has low energy consumption due to its energy efficient design. FORTIS is a 100% electric home, uses solar power, is low maintenance and has been designed to last generations through extreme weather and disasters.
HOW WERE COMMUNITY MEMBERS INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT?
FORTIS is the first community-led resilient house design – created by recovering communities in the Shoalhaven NSW.
We asked the Shoalhaven community to help design FORTIS House because disaster affected communities should be empowered to lead their own recovery and re-building. This design project is ‘for the community, by the community’.
There were two ways for Shoalhaven residents to participate in this project:
– Direct correspondence & questionnaires – 178 participants
– Attending 4 x intensive design workshops over a 12-month period – 70 people attended at least one workshop
At the end of the FORTIS House workshop, participants reported:
– a 70% increase in their knowledge about building for disaster resilience
– 100% of community members thought the project team had delivered designs that met the community design brief
– 100% of participants would consider prefabricated FORTIS Houses
The project provided a unique opportunity for Shoalhaven residents to lend a helping hand to their local community and the broader Australian community.