Stroke of genius as fireproof paint brushes aside competition to win prestigious award

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
4 Min Read

A newly developed fireproof paint has taken out a national award for its potential to change and shape the lives of everyday Australians. 

The game-changing product has provided a line of defence in protecting properties from the effects of bushfires. 

Developed by fire safety experts Flame Security International (FSI) alongside engineers from the University of NSW, FSA Firecoat helps prevent the spread of flames across and between properties. 

The paint is the first ever to achieve a BAL-40 rating, the highest rating any fire retardant paint has achieved worldwide. 

Designed to swell upon heat contact, forming a layer of expanding protective char that acts as an insulating barrier between the fire and building structure. 

Since its launch in October 2023, the fire safety technology has quietly grown in both popularity and plaudits, recently taking home first prize in the  People’s Choice Problem Solver category of this year’s Shaping Australia Awards, in which 35,000 votes were cast. 

The UNSW team brushed aside 113 other entries to take home top spot, thanks to its ability to better safeguard homes and effectively minimise exposure to fire threats. 

The Shaping Australia Awards honour and celebrate extraordinary ways Australia’s universities and the people within them shape our nation and improve the lives of Australians across the country.

The University of New South Wales’ Professor Guan Yeoh and his team, who developed the fire protection product alongside FSI, says the paint will help keep Australians safe in the face of extreme weather while aiding the development of future fire safety products. 

“It passed stringent Australian standards testing and it is proven to provide increased protection against bushfires in areas prone to extreme fire conditions,” said Professor Yeoh.

“This will make a significant difference not only to the cost of building in affected areas, but also the potential risks to life and property.”

The paint can be applied as an undercoat to most external and internal surfaces, including brick, existing render, timber, aluminium, steel, concrete and plasterboard.

As long as the protective layer of the paint is maintained, it will last indefinitely and is safe to touch without causing irritation. 

However, the Shaping Australia Award isn’t the only big win for FSA Firecoat in 2024, with its success in seeing parent company FSI launch an expansion into the United States to become a tenant at the NASA Berkeley Space Centre.

The new home will allow FSI to continue it’s fire safety product development using world-first integrated environmental testing, measurement, and certification Reliance Chamber to develop better protective products against some of the most destructive disasters around the world.

The strategic partnership between FSI and the NASA Disaster Lab, help advance fire material testing methodologies and best practices for creating and maintaining defensible spaces.

Tony Overstead, CEO of FSI, says FSA Fire Coat is making a noticeable difference in strategic bushfire mitigation.

“The release of this BAL 40-rated fire retardant paint, we believe, will better protect buildings and assets from direct exposure to flames and extreme radiant heat,” he told Build-it.

“This will make a significant difference not only to the cost of building in affected areas but also the potential risks to life and property.”

FSA Firecoat is available in more than 270 Bunnings stores nationwide.  

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.

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