When planting greenery close to or on buildings, the risk of fire must be considered. This is especially so in Australia where we often experience hot dry summers and bushfires.
In Australia, there are no specific fire standards for green facades and walls. However, keeping a vertical garden well-maintained can help reduce the risk of fire.
This means it’s crucial for property owners to create ongoing green wall and green facade maintenance plans.
Here’s what to consider in creating a green facade planting and maintenance plan.
External green wall and green facade maintenance
Maintenance for vertical gardens is much the same as for ground gardens. This includes regular tasks such as pruning, trimming, and removal of dry and dead matter, and regular irrigation to keep the plants not only healthy but to prevent them drying out.
If an automatic irrigation system is used, this should also be regularly checked and maintained to ensure it is working as it should.
There are various other measures you can take to reduce fire risk, such as:
- Choosing plants wisely. Firewise planting involves using plants that are lower in volatile oils and higher in moisture, such as succulents or plants with fleshy leaves. But in any case, make sure to check the flammability rating of the plants you use in your green wall or facade to reduce fire risk.
- Keeping items that could create spark away from plants. This includes electrical wires and appliances, hot tools, candles, cigarette lighters and matches.
- Installing a fire-resistant support structure. For example, stainless steel trellis systems are not only more fire-resistant than wood or plastic, but they also last a lot longer.
Internal green facades and walls
Fire risk regulation for internal wall linings is covered by construction codes. But since internal green walls are unlikely to meet the code in the strict sense, it’s important to have strong safety practices in place.
This includes setting up a maintenance plan just as you would for external living walls and checking the flammability rating of the plants used – whether real or artificial.
Tensile green facade maintenance plans
When we install commercial green facades, we create and implement a maintenance plan for the first 12 months to ensure the plants get off to a good start. It’s then up to the building owner to continue with our team after that, or implement their own maintenance plan for the ongoing health of the plants and for fire safety.
In addition, all the green facades we install are supported by a trellis system made from Jakob’s marine-grade stainless steel, in the form of vertical or cross-hatch wire cables or pre-formed mesh (Webnet). These materials reduce the risk of fire and help to ensure the longevity of the installation.
To learn more about our specialist consultancy services for commercial green facade installation and maintenance, contact us.