Underground bunker builder's booming business
A BUNKER building business for doomsdayers say they have fielded dozens of calls in the past week as the coronavirus frenzy hits new heights.
New Gold Coast company Underground Bunkers Australia (UBA) is offering bespoke survival packages from about $30,000.
A basic shelter can hold a family for a few days. However, it is up to the owner to get council approval.
"We have seen a lot of interest on the back of the bushfires and now the coronavirus," said Nick Bayard, who owns UBA with Robert Peffers.
"The real issue is certification. It is always down to the owner because it can get complicated once you start adding kitchens, pipes and other things given it is a room underground. At the end of the day it depends on the needs of the customer. It is always subject to modifications.
"People want somewhere they can go to feel safe."
UBA builds wine cellars, safe rooms, gun vaults and of course bunkers. The business spurned from the pair's Morala Constructions.
The bunkers, which can range from the size of a bedroom to large shipping containers, are made from structural steel, reinforced concrete and can be fitted with a number of extras.
"Most of our inquires are for semi-rural areas, not people in the midst of the city," Mr Bayard said.
"It's not people in the middle of Hamilton, Brisbane ringing up.
"We are currently designing one where the client wants to have it habitable for up to two weeks. It includes a number of things, including ventilation, drainage, power boards and more."
Mr Bayard said people have been seeking bunkers which are fireproof, connected to their own power source or equipped with access to water.
"There is a lot of infrastructure that has to be added into a space to make it habitable," Mr Bayard said.
"Mostly, we do try to market it as a shelter with dry storage for one or two days.
"We find people can be surprised by the cost once they give you their specifics, but it has to be a room that can supply you with everything, completely off the grid."
The company opened late last year after the business partner built shelters on their own properties.
"We both thought, 'hey, we would love something like a shelter in the back yard. We aren't doomsday preppers or anything', but it seemed like a cool idea and they turned out great.
"It is a huge market in the US.
"Given our background and access to equipment we had the ability to do it easily.
"But this season with the fire and coronavirus panic is not something we saw coming."
Mr Bayard said each he hoped to increase his portfolio of bunkers as they catch up with current demand.