Residential building damage and natural perils: Australian examples and issues

Russell Blong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


The most important natural perils in Australia are tropical cyclones, earthquakes, bushfires, thunderstorms, floods, landslides and tsunamis. However, as far as residential buildings are concerned, the correct relative order of importance depends on the frames of reference used. Certainly, meteorological perils are more significant than geological hazards. Residential building damage produced by the most important natural hazards is assessed. Governance is shown to be poorly related to actual risk. Tropical cyclone wind-loading codes are amongst the best in the world, but the more limited potential for storm surge damage is largely ignored. While land-use regulations are strong in some states, almost no attention has been paid to appropriate building materials for flood-prone properties. Hail is probably the most important peril along the populated south-eastern seaboard, but no regulations govern roofing materials. Other issues relating to the present understanding of damage to buildings are raised.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Specialist publicationBuilding Research and Information
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Adaptation
  • Australia
  • Building codes
  • Building damage
  • Building stock
  • Bushfires
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Housing
  • Land-use planning
  • Risk management
  • Thunderstorms
  • Tropical cyclones
  • Vulnerability


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