Guy’s house saves him from deadly Australian bush fire

Australian Guy Williams is alive today largely down to how he constructed his house in Steel Creek, Victoria, Australia. Guy, a 49 year old electrical engineer found some autoclaved aerated concrete bricks at a home ideas show in Australia. He built the house himself using no timber, just these concrete bricks stuck together with glue, steel double glazed windows and steel framed doors.

Guy explained to that the fire that bore down on his house was about 1200 degrees, hot enough to soften the metal but not melt it. Glass doors and windows in his house are all double-glazed. Some of the outside panes cracked in the heat. Next time he’ll add shutters!

Through the double-glazed doors of his bedroom, Guy Williams watched flames roar around his home” whilst sadly all his three vehicles, plus the entire bush and every other home around him, all perished, with dozens of Australians losing their lives in this horrendous bush fire which apparently burnt at 1200 degrees centigrade. Even Guy’s balcony was constructed largely from steel so there was no timber to speak of for the fire to get hold of, so it clearly seems that Guy’s self built house saved his life.

Guy Williams

The article goes on to explain that the use of aerated concrete blocks is not common in Australian houses. David Hallett, general manager of building advisory service Archicentre, says the market prefers the look of brick and tradesmen are used to working with it.

“The most cost-effective way our building industry’s found to build buildings is concrete slab, timber frame, pre-fabricated roof trusses, and traditionally a brick-veneer skin. Increasingly these days they’re leaning towards more lightweight cladding,” he says.

“Building code requirements (in Australia) are designed to prevent ember attack, and while the concrete blocks are a good product and Mr Williams’ design clearly worked, it’s more expensive for home owners to build a house to resist an inferno”, he says. All I can say is well done Guy!

According to BBC News the death toll has now reached 200 since the Australian bush fires started, and more tragic still, will rise further according to Australian Police. How and where people build their homes in Australia is very much in the spot light and shows how important building materials are when considering buying or building a property. Guy Williams was saved by his common sense and foresight and though sad today, will hopefully grow to be proud of what he achieved.


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