field trip
nigel bell architect

Field Trip leader Nigel Bell (view bio)

BALancing:  Liveability vs Survivability

In high/extreme bushfire risk areas (BAL-40, BAL-FZ), how can we meet bushfire requirements while achieving our sustainability and liveability ideals?

This field trip will visit a range of interesting Blue Mountains homes in extreme bushfire settings and see how the conflicts have been met.

From simple to stylish, from hill-top to underground, our tour leader ECOdesign architect Nigel Bell will guide us through the challenges to see the best that the Blue Mountains has to offer.

When? Wednesday October 23, 9.00am – 4.00pm

The bus departs the Fairmont Resort at 9.00am, and will also pick up attendees at Springwood Station at 9.30am.

Cost? $110 + gst, including lunch


View the Field Trip Program >

Register for the Field Trip

The field trip booked out early last year so register now to avoid missing out!

Please note the field trip is only available to registered Conference delegates.

Field Trip Program


Bus Departs9.00am - Leura, Fairmont Resort
Springwood pickup9.30am - Springwood, Bus stop outside Railway Station. Running late? Ring Nigel 0413 109 098
9.45 – 10.15 am - Warrimoo

A classic 1950’s ‘fibro and tile’ house renovation designed for additional space for a growing family – caught up in bushfire regulations and rising costs. You’ll hear how a modest extension budget was swallowed up by whole-house bushfire upgrade for BAL-FZ and consider the time /cost /quality trade-offs and liveability compromises that follow.
10.30 – 10.50am - Springwood, Coffee stop

11.10 – 11.40am - Faulconbridge

This brand-new ‘PassivHaus’ in BAL-FZ location demonstrates the latest environmental approach from Germany. See how controlled environments work for energy, cost and construction, whilst learning about technological approaches to minimizing energy… How will you assess this approach for bushfire-resistance and Australian ideas of liveability?
11.50 – 12.20 pm - Linden

Built 25 years ago, this was the leading-edge earth-integrated construction of the time. It’s special both inside and out – and we’ve been invited inside. Will it survive bushfires better than today’s ‘everyday’ construction? Hear about how it’s been progressively upgraded for bushfire safety and compare that with other nearby homes that we pass…
12.45 – 1.45pm - Wentworth Falls, lunch at the Conservation Hut

Built 30 years ago, this rammed-earth building has been a primary tourist destination. But can we still rely on intumescent paints over flammable timbers, elastomeric ‘profile-closers’ to corrugated roofs, to laminated rather than toughened glass etc. in bushfire prone areas? It’s lasted, but doesn’t meet today’s standards…. How risky is it?
2.00 – 2.45 pm - Leura

A newish subdivision of high/extreme bushfire risk, that shows (not only the views!) but the regulatory lottery of whom builds first – which then shields the following houses. We’ll discuss standard brick-veneer homes, Timbercrete clad, concrete steel and glass – and other approaches to meeting BAL-FZ bushfire regulations from the examples all around.
3.00 – 3.45 pm - Katoomba

As we walk this street we compare three decades of home construction with extreme bushfire risk – the good, the bad … and the deeply worrying(!). How influential might the orientation be, access/egress, the building height, the construction materials, the garden type & species, the maintenance of unmanaged native vegetation? Liveabilty vs survivability – real life.
Bus returns to Fairmont4.00pm - Leura, Fairmont Resort

Drop-off for those attending the official launch (5.30pm) &/or staying at the Fairmont resort
Bus returns to Springwood4.30pm - Springwood, Bus stop outside Railway Station