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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FORTIS House project?

FORTIS House is an exemplar home design, created in collaboration with the Shoalhaven community, to assist communities recovering from the 2019-20 bushfires.

The purpose of FORTIS House is to save time and money by fast-tracking the re-building process with an affordable, sustainable, adaptable and highly resilient home design.

Who is involved?

FORTIS House is being developed by the Bushfire Building Council of Australia, a national, independent, not-for-profit network of Australia’s leading bushfire experts including fire safety engineers, structural engineers, bushfire architects and research scientists.

The project is sponsored by NRMA and supported by Shoalhaven City Council.

How does FORTIS help me?

If you are re-building after the recent bushfires or if you are looking to build a home in a bushfire prone region, FORTIS House provides you with a ready-to-go design solution.

Or, you can adapt the FORTIS House to suit your needs and preferences. FORTIS House handbooks will provide you with a set of principles you can apply to your own design.

By building FORTIS House or using FORTIS House as a starting point for your own project, you can save time and money otherwise spent on multiple consultants.

Why do you want the community to help design it?

We have asked the Shoalhaven community to help design FORTIS House because bushfire-affected communities should be empowered to lead their own recovery and re-building. This design project is ‘for the people, by the people’.

FORTIS House should be practical and useful to the broader Australian community and to achieve that, we need to understand first-hand what residents need and want to ensure that is reflected in the finished design.

The project provides an opportunity for Shoalhaven residents to help each other re-build and help the wider community increase their resilience to future disasters.

What can I do to help?

There are two ways to participate in this project:

– Complete the survey, and/or
– Attend the design workshop and design review sessions
Any information you provide to us is confidential and will only be used to inform the FORTIS House design.

What BAL rating is FORTIS House?

FORTIS House will be designed to meet BAL FZ (the highest BAL rating), so it can be used to comply with any BAL rating requirements.

How can one design represent the diversity of Shoalhaven?

No one building design could possibly represent the diversity of individuals and communities within Shoalhaven or around Australia. Instead, the FORTIS House design will reflect the most common needs and desires of participants.

For many, FORTIS House will provide a starting point in their own recovery and re-building process. FORTIS can be used as an example of how to achieve resilience and sustainability, which can be adapted to suit individual sites, design choices and lifestyles.

Can FORTIS be adapted to suit me?

Yes. FORTIS House can be adapted to suit your own lifestyle, budget and design preferences. The FORTIS House handbooks will provide the bushfire resilience and sustainability principles that can be applied to your own design.

How will this project help recovery and resilience?

The Bushfire Building Council of Australia is contacted by thousands of people every year asking for help to build and re-build in bushfire prone areas. Our independent experts provide assistance to households where the majority of inquiries relate to understanding regulations, finding resilient designs, reducing costs, finding suitable materials and finding a design solution that is both resilient and sustainable.

What we have learnt from our engagement with households is that people who have lost their home in a bushfire find the re-building process expensive, time consuming and confusing.

We developed FORTIS House in response to these needs. The project aims to help households and communities re-build with greater resilience to future bushfire disasters.

Who can I contact to ask questions about the project?

Feel free to contact us at or attend the design sessions where our experts will be available to answer your questions.

FORTIS House – developed by the Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA),
proudly supported by NRMA Insurance and Shoalhaven City Council.

Latin fortis (``strong``)


/ Future of Resilient Towns, Infrastructure & Society