Fire separation for buildings as detailed in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) should be considered when planning placements of skylights. The BCA places limitations on the location of skylights near property boundaries and adjacent adjoining buildings to reduce the likelihood of fire spread between buildings. Generally the provisions are based on nominated distances from the fire source feature. This distance will vary depending on the type of building.
Compliance with the BCA requirements can usually be achieved by the use of non combustible skylights, fire rated light shafts or fire dampers if the skylight encroaches into the specified distance.
Some skylights will be installed in bushfire areas. The BCA and local government town planning departments may have requirements for these skylights. Generally for bushfire protection, compliance with AS3959 – Construction of Buildings in Bush Fire Prone Areas, is required. Skylights used in bushfire areas are usually required to be fire resistant and the ventilation areas must be protected with a wire mesh to stop the ingress of embers.
Acknowledgements: Skylight Industry Association Inc.