Yellow Rock couple rebuild to Flame Zone rating

After Jan and Ken Gilmore of Yellow Rock lost their home in the October 2013 bushfires, they rebuilt to Flame Zone specifications in partnership with Paal Kit Homes of Emu Plains.

The stringent BAL-FZ protection level required that Paal and the couple’s builder son Steven include measures such as toughened glass windows, steel verandah posts, and wrapping the house from top to bottom in an insulating blanket that met the relevant Australian Standard. Metal shutters weren’t required because of the amount of space around the new home.

Jan and Ken wanted to replace their destroyed house with a design that would appear traditional and mature as soon as it was built. The couple already knew about Paal’s termite-resistant steel framed homes and had visited the company’s display centre.

“Paal are a local business and we had always liked their designs,” Jan said. “We were also concerned about the termites that are prevalent in this area.”

The Gilmores’ beautifully finished new home is based on Paal’s country-cottage style Fitzroy, with a garage added to the front and an alfresco covered area at the side. “It sure feels good to be back,” she said.

The retired couple had been absent from the district on the day the fires tore through and didn’t hear about the destruction of their home until the next day.

While devastated by the loss, their dog was saved and they were able to think about how to recover from the tragedy. Jan and Ken rented in Glenbrook while their new home was being built, then spent the final few months living in a caravan.

Steven Hayes and Paal worked out together what would be required to comply with the Flame Zone specifications.

“Constructing a home to meet the BAL-FZ rating always takes more work than a normal build to ensure that the special components are correctly installed,” said Paal housing consultant Michael Christie. “We were the only kit home company that was able to supply kits to the Flame Zone standard.”

“Michael was always very compassionate towards us and our needs,” Jan said. “Ken and I were more than happy with Paal and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others.”