By Abbey Jane

The City of Greater Geelong Civic Accommodation Precinct will be a feat of structural engineering and architectural appeal as befits our accreditation as a UNESCO City of Design.

But why will the new home of COGG be the safest building in the city? That’s a question for Jye Bohm, Director of PROFINISH Fire Protection and recent Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominee at the Geelong Business Excellence Awards.

“The passive fire protection system for the COGG Civic Accommodation Precinct has been customised to protect the building’s structural adequacy and meet all the requirements for integrity and insulation in the event of a fire. In today’s day and age, no one, absolutely no one should die in a fire. This is what we hope to continue to achieve with our work in the passive fire protection industry,” Jye explains.

Artist render of the completed COGG Civic Accommodation Precinct. Image credit: City of Greater Geelong

So, what is passive fire protection? You’ve no doubt seen active fire protection such as sprinkler systems and fire hose reels, but these are the last line of defence. It’s passive methods that give people the best chance at avoiding disaster. This includes the installation and application of protective building materials and fireproof coatings to limit the spread of fire, smoke and heat.

Achieving a certain fire resistance level based on building usage is now a legal requirement for indisputable reasons.

Passive Fire Protection Saves Lives

A great many buildings and lives have been tragically lost to fire, but with today’s innovations, knowledge and guidelines, such outcomes are unacceptable. Working with A+ Steel and BESIX Watpac on the COGG site, PROFINISH’s Jye Bohm explains the importance of containing an outbreak.

“The biggest thing is to allow people time to get out safely. By protecting the structure and limiting the spread of smoke and flame, evacuation time is markedly extended. This not only makes the building safer but could help minimise damage to the asset,” he affirms.

“People think sprinkler systems or the fire department can put the fire out, but that’s the point of no return. Extinguishing fire with sprinklers and hoses relies on public utilities which don’t always operate correctly during disasters. There’s also the cost of water damage to consider. That can be financially devastating.”

At the new COGG site, PROFINISH has applied and or assisted with the design of; intumescent protective paint to the steel columns, fire-rated plasterboard to the connection joints of the timber, fire-rated duct work and fire rating of all penetrations. This paired with a detailed fire audit and register will ensure another building has been protected correctly within our local community.

This is just one of many noteworthy projects for the PROFINISH team who have installed potential life-saving fire protection systems for the Parliament of Victoria, Carlton’s home ground IKON Park, COTTON:ON and Melbourne’s first-ever Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Fire rating of duct work by PROFINISH Fire Protection at Melbourne’s tallest new hotel, the new Ritz-Carlton

An Ongoing Fire Fight

Jye and his team are dedicated to making as many new and existing buildings as safe as possible right across Victoria.

“What started as an opportunity to increase safety is now an infinite fight to stop buildings being approved that aren’t properly protected. The worst part is, to affect real change, tragedy must occur. That’s why the rules around cladding have become so rigid,” Jye warns.

Upgrades at IKON Park feature protective ​​Systempanel® 2G flooring installed by PROFINISH Fire Protection

“PROFINISH Fire Protection understands the products and how they work and what they have been tested to achieve. We look at the project being designed and recommend and specify the most effective fire protection for each individual building. Every building is like a fingerprint, they are all different.”

Given the continuing advances and new formulations available in the passive fire industry, construction companies would be wise to only employ experienced installers with technical product knowledge. Lives actually depend on it.

Visit to find out more.