CSIRO Bushfire Testing

By By Joost Team On February 15, 2012

Joost and his building team, headed up by Ivo Baldari, recently constructed a purpose-built house, using Joost’s unique building system (A 100% recyclable steel frame structure, using strawbales as insulation and MGO board cladding) at the CSIRO fire testing facility in Bateman’s Bay, New South Wales.



The 38 square metre house was erected in 7 days, and today was subjected to a bushfire simulation, monitored and measured by Mr Justin Leonard, the project leader for bushfire research at CSIRO’s Sustainable Ecosystems.

In addition to what can be studied visually, the building is specially wired with sensors to relay detailed performance data to the CSIRO computers.

The test has been commissioned to certify fire safety for a house Joost is building for Shannon Bennett and his family in the Victorian Otways – a bushfire prone region.

See the pics below coming through live from the testing facility (thanks to Greg H.  for the fancy polaroid-esque shots!)
- and stay tuned for more info and news of the results!

1:00pm – Final inspections of the building before the test

1:30pm -The team receive a Safety briefing

2:00pm – Joost is geared up in the fire suit as the test begins

The fire begins a few metres from the structure to simulate 30 minutes of radiant heat, as with real bushfire.

The fire is intensified and engulfs the building in flames…

HOLY #*?% !!!!

The fire subsides, revealing the immediate effects of the exposure…. minimal damage!! …. the test data will reveal more…..

By Joost CEO Greg H. looking pleased with the results!



Justin Leonard and Alex Webb from CSIRO kindly had a chat with us this evening and shared some interesting facts about how the test works and some preliminary results of the House by Joost performance.

The test today was a simulation of a MAJOR FIRE FRONT, the worst case bushfire scenario.
(The measure of the fire behaviour is ‘fire intensity’, which represents the rate at which energy is released, and is measured as kilowatts per metre (kw/m2) of fire front)

To accurately simulate a real bushfire scenario, staged heat and flame exposure was rendered in the following sequence:

The test initiated with the first stage of ‘radiant heat’ exposure to the building, inflicting radiant heat at 2.5kw/m2 stepping up to 5, 10, 20, 30 and then 40kw/m2 at the 30 minutes mark.Image © CSIROnews

After the radiant heat exposure, the fire was intensified to full flame exposure to the face of the building (over 100kw/m2) for a period of 110 seconds. (simulating a MAJOR fire front)

Image © CSIROnews
At this time, the external temperatures reached 1000 degrees celsius.
The internal building temperature reached only 35 degrees celsius in this time.

Image © CSIROnews

- The fire intensity was then reduced back to 2.5kw/m2 for another 10 minutes of radiant heat exposure, simulating the fire front passing by.

House by Joost withheld the extremes of a major fire front scenario

Image © CSIROnews

The team inspects the aftermath.. 
Image © CSIROnews

- The steel frame of the building approached 100-110 degrees celsius during the test and maintained integrity
- The MGO (magnesium oxide board) cladding performed incredibly well and there was no significant damage
- The glazing remained intact and there was no breach to the interior

Stay tuned for Joost’s re-cap of the experience….


did you know?

"We cut down 6 million hectares of forest every year just to wipe our arse."