Australia is notorious for seasonal summer bushfires. Therefore, homeowners building homes in bushfire prone areas have to consider a few serious factors when planning the structure. One of these factors is the installation of skylights.
When you’re opting for skylight installation Melbourne and other Australian city contractors provide, it’s important to first understand the effect of bushfires on your skylights. This article will give you some insight for informed decision making.
What are the risks of installing skylights in bushfire prone areas?
While it’s true that your whole home or business will be at risk during a bushfire, it’s crucial to understand how skylights can increase the risk of damage to your property.
One of the main concerns homeowners should be aware of is that their skylights made of low-quality materials such as plastic can easily melt, letting fire into the building. Certain types of glass may break from the searing temperatures in the air, having the same effect. Additionally, flying embers can also land on or inside skylights and place your property at greater risk.
Let’s discuss some matters in more detail and how Belle Skylights will help in this regard.
1. What is the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) and why it’s important?
When preparing your skylight installation, our expert team will assess the BAL reading if you live a bushfire prone area. Here’s what you need to know about how BAL works.
The Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is the standard that measures a building’s potential exposure to fire risk elements. These include:
- Flying embers that can be windborne
- Exposure to radiant heat from nearby fires
- Direct flame contact if the fire moves closer to your property
The BAL measurement takes several factors into consideration that will determine how a nearby bushfire will affect your particular building or property. Some of these key points are:
- The Fire Danger Index
- Slope of the land around your property
- Types of vegetation on and around your building
- Proximity of fire prone areas to your property
2. How is BAL measured?
The Bushfire Attack Level is measured from low to extreme readings. Obviously, some areas are more prone to risk than others. Many homes may not be in a direct path of a bushfire, but the wind could easily put them at risk of flying embers landing on their properties, roofs and even skylights.
BAL measurements range from low to what is referred to as a BAL-FZ. Here’s a look at the six different levels that make up the BAL measurement.
|BAL – LOW||Insufficient or little risk of fire or ember exposure|
|BAL – 12.5||Possible ember risk with potential 12kW/m|
|BAL – 19||Increased levels of ember attack & debris ignition – heat flux of 19kW/m|
|BAL – 29||More risk of ember ignition – heat flux of 29Kw/m|
|BAL – 40||Severe risk of ember attack, heat flux of 40kW/m, increased likelihood of exposure to flames|
|BAL – FZ||Direct, severe exposure to flames, heat flux greater than 40kW/m (also known as Extreme Level 5)|
3. How does Belle Skylights deal with skylight installations in bushfire prone areas?
Our experts understand the dangers and risks associated with windborne embers and bushfires in general. With this in mind, we’ve made it our mission to use products in bushfire prone areas that have been extensively tested to withstand the risks of bushfire.
VELUX Skylights are made for the harsh Australian
VELUX High-Performance skylights have been rigorously tested and approved for buildings in bushfire prone areas up to BAL40. This means that VELUX skylights can withstand heat flux of 40kW/m. Since VELUX skylights can withstand a BAL40 rating, they are able to withstand a staggering temperature of 930°C.
These products are used for the areas most at risk of any dangers associated with severe bushfires and flying embers. To safeguard against windborne embers, glazed components must have an FRL of -/30/-.
How to get the best skylights?
Living in a bushfire prone area puts your property at increased risk. Fortunately, Belle Skylights know how to help you ensure your skylights are ready. To speak to one of our top experts, simply call us on 1300 168 374 for a customised QUOTE. We’ll recommend the products best suited to keep your home or business as safe as possible all year round!