Melbourne MicroCert

Assessment of Bushfire Exposure

Gain the capacity to provide bushfire assessments and recommendations to help build environmentally resilient properties.

Study mode
3 weeks (22.5 hours) + 2 weeks for assessment (20 hours)
Skills area
Building in Bushfire Prone Lands

Upcoming sessions

Monday 11 October 2021


As Australia’s fire season becomes hotter and longer, it’s vital we build houses that can withstand these conditions.

This Melbourne MicroCert will equip you with the ability to undertake bushfire assessments of residential properties and provide building recommendations in line with Australian standards.

You will be led by practitioners from the University of Melbourne’s School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, who will share their expert knowledge and industry insight. You will be guided through relevant definitions and methods and apply your knowledge to a series of locations around Australia.

This is the first Melbourne MicroCert in the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series, which is designed to provide detailed insights into how effective building design can make living in fire-prone landscapes more sustainable.

Who is it for?

This Melbourne MicroCert is valuable for land managers and professionals seeking an understanding of how domestic buildings respond to bushfire in a planned environment context.

It is ideal for various roles, including those working in conservation and land management, natural areas technicians, rangers, bushland officers, landscape supervisors, building designers, urban planners, architects, fire managers and developers working in compliance or government agencies.

Key topics

Throughout this Melbourne MicroCert, you will cover basic assessment procedures using Australian Standard AS3959-2018. You will explore how to:

  • Assess vegetation type using desktop research
  • Perform topographic analysis using GIS
  • Assess a site based on regional fire weather differences using online data
  • Develop alternate approaches for a building site based on vegetation and slope
  • Undertake desktop assessments of bushfire exposure
  • Report on findings and recommendations in a clear concise manner.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this Melbourne MicroCert, you will have demonstrated your ability to:

  • Apply a basic property assessment using the Australian Standard AS3959:2018
  • Provide recommendations for a residential building based on the AS3959 assessment.

Learning experience

In our innovative online environment, you will learn alongside other industry professionals and undertake both guided and self-guided learning tasks, including video demonstrations, independent exercises and interactive class activities. Fully online delivery presents a convenient way to develop your skillset, from a location that suits you.

Who will you learn from?

You will learn from Professor Trent Penman, a bushfire risk modeller interested in all aspects of bushfire management. The main focus of Trent’s research is optimising management expenditure to reduce the risk of detrimental fire impacts on people, property and the environment. Over the last ten years, his research has combined fire simulation with risk research methodologies such as Bayesian Networks. Trent is currently leading a project that will develop a fire regime simulation tool to address this question for both managers and researchers. Trent teaches undergraduate and masters-level subjects and supervises research students from laboratory studies of fire fundamentals, field-based research projects on fire and fire ecology, and computer-based studies including remote sensing, fire behaviour simulation and species distribution modelling.

You will also learn from Dr Alex Filkov, who received his PhD in Ecology (Physical and Mathematical Sciences) from Tomsk State University, Russia. Dr Filkov’s main interest is in fundamental aspects of ignition and combustion. He collaborates with researchers around the globe to understand the behaviour of fire and firebrands, the performance of materials, and the properties of fuels, through experiments in the laboratory and in the field. He is currently working on the uncovering of mechanisms that drive dynamic fire behaviour in wildfires using emerging technologies.


Assessment of Bushfire Exposure is delivered over a five-week period. This includes one week of learner preparation (e.g. readings), two weeks of teaching and two weeks for you to complete assessment tasks.

The total time commitment is 42.5 hours. This includes 10 hours of guided learning, 12.5 hours of self-guided study, and an estimated 20 hours to complete assessment tasks.

Assessment includes:

  • Part 1: Document a bushfire assessment of three residential properties, including measurements and calculations used to determine the property exposure (70%).
  • Part 2: Provide recommendations on alternative plans and the construction standards required (30%).

Digital certificate

Upon completion, you will be awarded your Assessment of Bushfire Exposure Melbourne MicroCert. This digital certificate will include information and evidence of your developed and actionable skills, knowledge and capabilities (as outlined in the learning outcomes). It may also include artefacts (such as videos and written material) related to both experiential and work-integrated learning, including translatable assessment that is practical to your professional life.

Links to industry

Our Melbourne MicroCerts are developed in close consultation with industry, so you can be confident your knowledge is aligned with industry needs and standards. All knowledge and assessment tasks in this Melbourne MicroCert are mapped to Australian Standard AS3959-2018.

Pathways to further study

Assessment of Bushfire Exposure can be taken as a standalone Melbourne MicroCert, or you can complement it with any other Melbourne MicroCert in the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series.

Other Melbourne MicroCerts in this series include*:

*These courses will be available from 2021.

Assessment of Bushfire Exposure is also designed to provide a pathway – otherwise known as advanced standing – into the Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management.

To use Assessment of Bushfire Exposure in this way, you will need to complete all four Melbourne MicroCerts in the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series, as each one is equivalent to one quarter of a standard subject, and then apply for credit towards the Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Planning and Management.

Expiry of Melbourne MicroCert

This Melbourne MicroCert will expire 10 years from the date of issue as particular knowledge and/or skills may need to be updated or refreshed.

Eligibility requirements

There are no specific eligibility requirements.

Upcoming sessions

Monday 11 October 2021

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