At Swinburne University of Technology we have collaborated on research projects with industry, government and research organisations around the world.
"It makes me happy that we’ve achieved something that might help save lives. We all find that very rewarding."
Professor Ajay Kapoor
Swinburne researchers have collaborated with a Melbourne concrete firm to design, build and test an above-ground bushfire shelter.
Using a government grant, Professor Ajay Kapoor, Dr Ambarish Kulkarni and Rashmi Kapoor worked with Peter Zigouras from Frankston Concrete Products to develop a shelter which can accommodate five people and withstand intense temperatures.
Swinburne’s researchers provided knowledge on design and human factors to complement expertise from the shelter’s manufacturers.
In the event of a bushfire, people move into the inner chamber of the shelter where they close the vents and wait out the fire. A small window allows them to check the fire front has passed before they exit the shelter.
Affordability was a crucial factor and the team wanted to keep the costs of the structure down so as many people as possible could have the opportunity to access a shelter. The shelter is competitively priced, takes about one month to build and due to its compact size, can fit on a standard‑size truck.
The Sanctuary Bushfire Shelter is now for sale through Frankston Concrete Products.