Melbourne MicroCert

Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire

Gain essential knowledge in fire behaviour relating to house loss

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

Upcoming sessions

Monday 15 March 2021


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

In this Melbourne MicroCert you will gain key knowledge regarding fire behaviour and the various factors relating to house loss.

Led by practitioners from the University of Melbourne’s School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, you will review up-to-date studies and information surrounding reported fire and landscape scale drivers of house loss and learn to consider the role of standards, inclusions and exclusions, based on scientific research.

Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire is part of the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series, which aims to provide detailed insights into how effective building design can make living in fire-prone landscapes more sustainable, and has been designed in consultation with The Fire Protection Authority Australia (FPAA).

Who is it for?

This MicroCert is for building designers, urban planners, architects, fire managers and developers working in compliance and various government agencies. It is ideal for early and mid-career professionals aspiring to enter the field of bushfire planning, design and advisory services.

Key topics

In this Melbourne MicroCert you will learn about fire behaviour and various factors relating to house loss, drawing on scientific research.

Topics include:

  • Exposure types for different areas
  • Local fire and weather conditions
  • Landscape and local drivers of house loss due to fire.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire, you will have essential knowledge, skills and capabilities regarding the various mechanisms of house loss due to wildfire. You will be able to:

  • Describe the different mechanisms of house loss
  • Deconstruct roles of landscape and local factors in determining house loss.

By completing the entire Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how buildings respond to bushfire in a planned environment context.

Learning experience

This course is taught online through a combination of videos, case studies, self-guided exercises and interactive class activities.

Who will you learn from?

You will learn from Associate 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.


This MicroCert is taught over five weeks, including one week of learner preparation, two weeks of delivery and two weeks for assessment.

The total estimated workload is 42.5 hours, consisting of:

  • Guided learning – 10 hours
  • Self-guided study – 12.5 hours
  • Assessment – 20 hours.

Assessment includes:

  • A short video presentation (3 minutes) of the drivers of house loss for residential areas in your local (50%)
  • A 600-word written report on one local or landscape factor contributing to house loss (50%).

Digital certificate

Upon completion, you will be awarded your Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire Melbourne MicroCert. This digital certificate will warrant the achievement of knowledge, skills and capabilities outlined in the learning outcomes. It will also include the short video about drivers for house loss created in part 1 of the assessment.

Links to industry

This course has been developed in consultation with The Fire Protection Authority Australia (FPAA) – the regulatory body that manage the Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) accreditation scheme. It will provide you with the skills to apply for Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) 1 accreditation.

Pathways to further study

Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire can be taken as a stand-alone course, or you can complement it with any other Melbourne MicroCert in the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series. It is recommended that they are completed in the following order.

The Melbourne MicroCerts in this series include:

*These courses will be available from 2021.

Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire is also designed to provide a pathway – otherwise known as advanced standing – into  the Graduate Certificate in Bushfire Behaviour and Planning.

To use it in this way, you will need to complete all four Melbourne MicroCerts in the Building in Bushfire Prone Lands series, beginning with Assessment of Bushfire Exposure. Once you have completed all four, you can then apply for credit towards the qualification, as each MicroCert is equivalent to one quarter of a standard subject.

Expiry of Melbourne MicroCert

Determinants of House Loss Due to Fire will expire 10 years from the date of issue as underlying knowledge will have advanced during this period.

Eligibility requirements

There are no specific eligibility requirements.

Upcoming sessions

Monday 15 March 2021

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