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Fire Code bans use of barbecues on decks of apts. and condos - HELP

So I'm not sure if this is the appropriate board for this but I'm desperate and need your help and suggestions... Moving at this time is not an option! We live in a condo (which is a hell in itself but that's another subject).

A couple of months ago we were notified in our association newsletter that a law has been enacted that prohibits the use of charcoal or propane barbecues on decks, balconies and patios with less than 10 feet of clearance from a combustible surface unless the area is equipped with automatic fire sprinklers. This law applies to anything other than a single dwelling or duplex.

Granted, there are many more urgent and important issues that we all face but this is vexing to say the least. We have been notified that the insurance company who covers our entire complex is threatening to cancel our insurance unless people remove their barbecues from their decks. At this point no one is using their barbecues but we're not taking them off our decks.

Does anyone have any idea how to try to fight this? I feel that we are being discriminated against as a class but I believe that we'll not be able to find a lawyer who believes this is worth the time to try to fight... I love to grill my food and feel that my personal freedom is being taken away from me!

Help me Chowhounds... (I know I can get one of those Weber 100 or 200 propane grills that uses the small propane canisters but I really dislike the product a propane grill produces plus we had just bought a new charcoal Weber that has a propane starter - a $300 or so product. Bought it just before we got the notification of the new law and had only used it 3-4 times... now it sits on my deck taunting me.

Here's the gist of what the code reads:

In 2007, California updated its Fire Code and adopted portions of the 2006 International Fire Code, including sections 308.3.1 and 308.3.1.1. Those sections effectively ban the use of open-flame cooking devices on combustible decks. This ban became operative on January 1st, 2008. The code is not available online, but you will find a copy of the code in most libraries. The sections read as follows:

308.3.1 Open-flame cooking devices. Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet (3048 mm) of combustible construction.

Exceptions:
1. One- and two-family dwellings.
2. Where buildings, balconies and decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.

308.3.1.1 Liquefied-petroleum-gas-fueled cooking devices. LP-gas burners having an LP-gas container with a water capacity greater than 2.5 pounds [nominal 1 pound (0.454 kg) LP-gas capacity] shall not be located on combustible balconies or within 10 feet (3048 mm) of combustible construction.

Exception: One- and two-family dwellings.

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  1. Ever seen an apartment fire caused by a grill on the deck? Do you want that to happed to the unit above yours? Smoke and water damage can affect you even if the flames don't. Sometimes fighting for your 'rights' isn't worth the pain in the pocket book.

    How about switching to an electric grill? I've been eying of the the designs that has a water tray below the grill, and a grill surface that can be removed and cleaned (e.g. one by Sanyo). I wonder how much difference there is between such a grill and a propane one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      paulj: yes, I know there are apt fires caused by grills - but there are apt and home fires caused by people deep frying in their kitchens - and apts and homes burn down from dropped cigarettes, candles and Christmas tree lights. Extension cords cause all kinds of fires. How about space heaters? Shall we ban all of these too?

      Accidents happen in all kinds of places and for all kinds of reasons. I'm just very frustrated by this...

      1. re: RWCFoodie

        Accident happens in a single home. One family is affected. Accident happens in a multi unit apartment building, many families are affected. Escape from fire in a single family house, relatively easy. Escape from fire in a multi story apartment building, relatively difficult.

        See the difference?

    2. I have friends who live in specific neighborhoods in Montreal with similar bans. I think its nuts and my heart goes out. I have two two grills, two smokers, and a pit and I don't know what I'd do in a similar situation.

      Fighting city hall may be an uphill battle that can't be won, or quite expensive, or last long after our final embers go out.
      My only suggestion would be to get around the law somehow.
      Can you make your balcony non-combustible?
      Perhaps an automatic sprinkler system (maybe 2 heads and a detector connected to your water supply) for the deck is an option?

      I know these suggestions sound far fetched...maybe they're not feasible, but maybe thinking outside the box is whats needed.

      Sorry dude, thats the best I have.

      My heart is heavy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: porker

        Porker: I agree that fighting City Hall is probably an impossibility. Circumventing the law is not doable, at least not from the standpoint of having an automatic sprinkler installed on our deck: the code reads that the entire complex would have to be so equipped. Talk the board and the other 40 owners into spending $$$ to do this? Yeah, right. Nor is having a fire extinguisher on your deck an option.

        I've been thinking about this now for the 3 months we've known about it...

      2. I feel your pain, yet understand the need to prevent fires. Yes, having an open flame under someone else's deck is indeed dangerous. I really don't see you winning a legal battle here.

        Does your condo have an outdoor communal area of some sort? Perhaps you and some of your neighbors can get together and place a few grills there. You can even chain them down to prevent theft.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mojoeater

          mojoeater: I did make a request to the board of our HOA to allow putting a bbq in either the pool area or somewhere else in the common area of the complex.... no response yet. But I believe they will not allow this.

          So my choice is to either defy the ban and risk a $500 fine from the fire dept., buy a new grill with the small propane tank or sell and buy a house! That's what I want to do but DH doesn't want to leave the area and I don't want to spend over a million and pay the associated property taxes in our area...

          Grrrrr

          1. re: RWCFoodie

            I would suggest instead, you defy the condo assoc and put something outside. Fl law also bans any grill above ground level ( I think) We kept several grills below for use when needed, but ours was a small unit (20)

        2. I live in an area with a 50' rule and can't say I know anyone who gave up the grill. It seems like most people just put the grill in an outdoor storage closet or garage. I know in my neighborhood we get warnings a few times a year but I still smell grilling on a regular basis.

          3 Replies
          1. re: queencru

            Which is great until a fire starts and the insurance company refuses to pay.

            1. re: BobB

              or the fire department finds an infant in a crib who died of smoke inhalation. Yeah, a barbecue on the deck is worth that.

              1. re: BobB

                I am not saying it's a great philosophy, but it's the reality of what happens in most communities when this rule is in force. With a 50' rule and older communities, there's not much option for a communal grill because everything is too close together.

            2. I think this change in the standard codes is getting adopted throughout the country. One of my employee's has a medium Big Green Egg, paid about $750 for it, she has to get rid of it now.

              Nobody ever said it was fair!!!

              1. I feel your pain, I live in a condo too. I left my weber with my ex because I can't have it on my deck. The cc & rs don't allow for any clearance where I live so we're limited to the park style grills in designated areas. One thought, can you as a group influence the association to change insurance companies? You'd have to do some research in order to compare companies. Is the association willing to provide a barbecue area? I have qualms about some of my neighbors barbecuing so I can fully understand the rules even though I don't like them. Last, I look at my barbecue situation as only temporary. In the next few years I will own my home again and will have a new appreciation for outdoor cooking.

                1. It could be worse -- I hear there are places in Europe (Belgium, I believe) where because of pollution controls they've banned charcoal cooking outdoors and even indoor fireplaces, and they're using helicopters with infrared sensors to find violators.
                  I guess I understand the safety issues of having an open fire that close to a flammable multi-dwelling, but to not give you a safe place to char your food as nature intended is just wrong!
                  Having my own grill and garden were the two main reasons I moved out of an apartment and into a house.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: podunkboy

                    Citations, please -- many people in Europe still use woodburning or pellet stoves to heat their homes.

                    Grilling is an amusing quirk imported from the New World, not a backyard tradition.

                    LOTS of people use electric grills.

                  2. If I understand your post correctly, propane grills are not considered "open flame", and you can use a standard one pound propane tank legally.

                    While you mention not liking propane, I suggest that you look seriously into propane fueled infra red. Napoleon and Solaire (and possibly others as well) make lightweight portable units that can run with a small propane tank.

                    Infra red grilling is sensational - it's much different from grilling over a standard burner. I'm talking 1500 - 1800 F, which creates a very rapid sear and a grilled flavour. If you want a smoky flavour, place some dampened wood chips on heavy duty foil, put the foil on the grill with the food, and close the cover.

                    I obviously can't visualize your balcony and I'm not aware of your condo's specific rules, but "fireproofing" your cooking area is not inconceivable. There are many possible flooring materials. For above and around, fire code drywall can slip through as a "decorative" item. All of this can be removed easily when you move out, and you might be able to get a rider for your personal liability insurance if you have a good broker/agent. If you aren't allowed any non-standard "decor" on your balcony, of course, you're out of luck.

                    While it will be faint consolation, at least the fire code in this case deals with a genuine hazard. A grill upset, or one dropped piece of burning coal, can burn your building to the ground. Many years ago, I got talking to someone for a few minutes and suddenly noticed that the deck railing was on fire.

                    I know people who have concrete balconies, with brick walls, attached to fire resistive buildings. Open flame balcony grilling is legal (though you can't bring a 20 lb propane tank into a building), but the condo boards (not the fire dept) say NO! That's really, really mean.

                    1. Very frustrating. If the HOA does not allow a common area with a grill - like off of a pool deck - you'll have to sell, lose your shirt on the sale, and move to a cheaper neighborhood.

                      On a different but related note, we live in a condo and the lady below is very old. She leaves things on the stove and I can smell the pot burning. Fortunately, nothing has happened, but I worry....

                      1. There's really nothing you can do. As much as we all might love it, grilling is not a "right" and the association has the right and power to ban it if they want to. You'll have to stop grilling and go out to a park to grill or move. this is a common prohibition in all the apartment complexes I've lived in. Some do provide stationary grills throughout the complex in places they deem safe, but we ended up just making it a "cookout" and going to a park when we want to grill out, or else just broiling indoors. There are worse things in life than not being allowed to grill outdoors.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          Interesting how Americans have the "right" to bear arms, but BBQ is illegal...

                          1. re: porker

                            BBQ's are not illegal. They have just been banned in some circumstances just like firearms are banned in certain circumstances.

                            The OP happens to live in a condo where association has deemed it a violation of the rules due to safety concerns. This is a rule made by a board, not a law. The OP has the option of selling his condo and finding a place to live that allows grilling and BBQing.

                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              No, the condo association did not make the determination. The state or city adopted new building codes, and those codes can be enforced by any number of agencies, including both the condo association and the insurance company. Because of a combination of factors condominium associations are highly vulnerable to lawsuits, and insurance carriers are increasingly reluctant to cover them. I doubt the condo association would find any other carrier that would provide coverage with the knowledge that barbecues were being allowed in violation of the law.. And building codes are law. Conformance is not optional.

                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                KTinNYC:
                                Sorry, you are wrong. If you read what I posted to start this thread, I cited the code number and wording for the law that was passed by the Calif. State Fire Marshall.

                                Our condo association is attempting to enforce the law with the inclusion of the strong arm of the insurance company...

                                Tomorrow night our HOA board is meeting to discuss the possibility of installing a barbecue for all of us to use perhaps in the pool area but I believe that they will vote this idea down because of the maintenance and cleaning it would require...

                                Our CC&Rs and By-Laws also specifically prohibit the use of a barbecue anywhere in the common area. I had already thought about wheeling our grill out into the common area but then read that prohibition... This is a no- win situation unfortunately for those of us who like to barbecue.

                                And, yes to all of you, I realize that we have the alternative of moving!

                                1. re: RWCFoodie

                                  RCW, as the law will no longer allow you to use a barbecue at your own unit then you have a strong reason to change some other part of the CC&R's. Remember, condo boards are elected. If you get a petition with enough of the owner's signatures, you can probably get them to agree to a reasonable compromise. Most likely a specific, and safe, portion of the common grounds can be designated for barbecues. You may need to sign up or inform the resident manager or a designated board member when you want to barbecue so each person is responsible to clean up after themselves.

                                  We have two barbecue grilles where I live, and of all the issues that come up at board meetings, these have never been a problem.

                          2. Enlist the support and professional expertise of your local fire marshall. Ask him for viable solutions and draft a letter to your HOA signed by every condo owner impacted by the insurance change. Then contact your insurance company. You might discover several solutions, you might learn its not going to change but enlisting the help of a pro with nothing but factual information to offer is a strong alliance.

                            I would not ignore the ruling, I would not ignore an insurance company. But, I do hope you find a group (neighbor to neighbor) solution.

                            1 Reply
                            1. RWC, if you look at it from the association's point of view, they are responsible for any liability arising out of the complex. There is just far too much exposure in allowing everyone to have a grill on their deck. It's not a discrimination issue, it's a public safety issue. I guarantee you that the building design was not intended for outdoor grills. See the part in the code about "combustible construction". No matter how conscientious people are it's never a terrific idea to have flames in confined spaces covered in flammable material, especially with a greater number of people in close proximity.

                              1. Reading what you wrote it's not clear that even propane is ok; are you sure it is? Your first paragraph says it's not. Or does it just have to be a really small propane tank? (how big is a 1 lb LP tank anyway ?)

                                I agree with others, you are unlikely to beat this thing. Law is law, and it's a defensible law, protecting everyone.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: DGresh

                                  It's the tank sold (filled) from hardware store shelves that powers propane torches - in a Chowhound sense, a kitchen brule torch.

                                  While it's an ecologically unsound (these tanks are throwaways) and relatively expensive way to use propane, most North American jurisdictions allow you to both store AND USE them indoors. If I read the code that the OP quoted correctly, a propane cooking device using this size tank would be legal.

                                  A tank of this size would typically power a small grill for a few hours - definitely long enough to cook several meals. You can keep additional tanks on hand to avoid running out.

                                  Although I would not contemplate using an 1800 F infrared grill indoors, there's a good chance it would be legal to do so in most places.

                                  Where I live, Toronto, balcony grilling is legal. I should note, though, that virtually all apartment/condo buildings constructed here since the fifties are fire resistive. Some new condos actually provide natural gas outlets on their balconies. Landlords and condo boards often have restrictions that prohibit balcony grilling anyway, but the law isn't the culprit. One rental building where I lived for a while allowed charcoal, wood, or propane, with the restriction that propane tanks above 1 pound could not be taken on the elevators.

                                  Interestingly, most developed countries and modern cities outside North America are much less restrictive. It isn't unusual to power a gas stove from a 20 or 40 pound propane tank stored in a kitchen cupboard.

                                  1. re: embee

                                    thanks. Really little then. How long can one of those last in a grill? I have to refill my "normal" tank often enough as it is.

                                    1. re: DGresh

                                      See edited post above. Unfortunately, you can't refill these at all. You need to have a couple of extras on hand - they are widely available.

                                2. I think this is pretty standard, at least it has been for my current and previous two apartments (3 different cities in 3 different states). But I agree, it stinks.

                                  1. Laws like this are extremely common, and seem like simple common sense.

                                    1. I know it sucks...we used to live in military housing, in townhouses, so I know that the regulation is hard to deal with. I'm sure that your HOA won't do much to help you, but I think some of the previous ideas are valid. In any case I'd try to get everyone to stow the BBQs until you can come up with a solution that will work.
                                      About a year ago, there was a very large apartment fire in my area and around 150 residents lost their homes. Luckily no one lost their lives, but it was a quick moving fire and people had no time to save pets, momentos etc. I think that in situations like this, the public good outweighs the personal preference - accidents can and do happen, and the state is trying to protect people.
                                      You mentioned not wanting/being able to move, but you've given up many of your personal freedoms by buying the condo and therefore the HOA. Not trying to say "I told you so" but I think many people don't realize the restrictions on their freedoms when they buy a condo or home in an HOA.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bakinggirl

                                        totally agreed -- high-density population areas mean living with "greater good" laws.

                                        It's not necessarily YOU -- it's the dope in another unit (the guy whose life motto is "Hey, Bubba, looky THIS!", usually performed under high blood-alcohol periods....) incapable of comprehending common-sense safety procedures who ruins it for everyone, and since there are no IQ tests or licensing procedures to operate a grill, they have to just say no to everyone.

                                        Personally, I'd rather give up my grill than trust that Bubba won't burn the whole place down.

                                      2. Just a thought....can you use your BBQ in front of your garage? I konw it's soooo not as fun as a deck, but here at my condo complex, some of the patios are enclosed, so people just roll their bbq's out into the alleyways (where our garage doors are) and start cooking right there. It's a way around not doing it on your deck.

                                        Personally, and IMHO, I'm glad for the ban. If my home went up in flames because someone was using charcoal and wasn't paying attention, I'd sue big time. I agree with some others, it's not only your home you're endangering. Good luck on fighting the state on this one.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kelela92

                                          Depending on the spacing between units, charcoal smoke can also be a nuisance.

                                        2. I live on the top floor of a Boston brownstone built in the 1880's. Each of the five floors is a separate unit with a balcony off the back. Like you, there are laws against any open flame (charcoal or propane). Unlike you, the laws are unenforced and everyone has a grill.

                                          I hate it (although I do have a grill on the roof deck!).

                                          On warm summer nights, every grill is going. The smoke travels up the side of the building and, because I'm on the top floor and the wind flows through my condo, it all floods my place. Given the lower units' placement, they avoid the issue. I'm thinking of hanging some meat to cure with the smoke - except I don't eat meat ,making the smell especially maloderous.

                                          Grilling is not necessarily the most neighborly pursuit in a crowded space.

                                          I did increase my insurance

                                          1. I don't know a thing about the legality of your situation, but if it works out that you have to live without outdoor grilling, may I suggest one of these: https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

                                            We have one and I thought it might be overkill, since we have a grill, but it's the awesome. Love that thing. Smear a little bacon grease on it, put it in your oven, get it nuclear-hot, and then sear your meat. You will be a happy chowhound. Truly.

                                            1. I've lived in condos before where a couple of BBQ pits were built in the common area on the grounds and if you wanted to grill, you had to come downstairs and use those.

                                              Another option is to perfect the oven-tea-smoking technique that the Cook's Illustrated folks have used with lapsang suchong tea. That's a pretty good alternative taste wise.

                                              1. You shouldn't give up on the option of converting fellow owners to re-think that communal BBQ area. It only takes a majority vote. This is what happened in our condo where balcony units are banned (except for penthouse units).

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: LJS

                                                  LJS: I can only hope that the board will consider this alternative. If not, I may have to go door to door and circulate a petition!

                                                  Interestingly, after the newsletter went out saying that we had to get the barbecues off the decks, the Pres. and another board mbr. didn't do anything - their gas grills are still on their decks....

                                                  Stay tuned, I will try to go the meeting tomorrow night and see if I can sway their votes to installing a common area barbecue!

                                                2. I did some looking into it and from what I found US, Canada and many places, it isn't the condo or apts, it is city , county or state codes usually. I live first floor and I had to temporarily give away my great webber, but I can get it back. Now I have a small charcoal, which use but just move out a bit. I also have a webber gas which I don't like as well, but I do use it all the time. My smoker, I have a charcoal in storage, but bought a electric and it works ok, I put lots of wood chips and flavor so I get a good result Balconies are not as easy. I'm bottom floor so I have pretty much taken over my front which I love. I would be lost without that. I may be wrong but even small propane we can not use, not totally sure but if they see a grill, we get written up, warned and then fined if we keep it and use it. I wish it was different, but I did see a fire started by a grill on a balcony, not pretty. On my deck at the house I always as a precaution had a grill mat on the bottom and then I even poured a gallon of water on the wood around, just in case when I used the charcoal grill. I have seen what can happen. But I do emphasize

                                                  1. Seems like a good law to me. I would not call the inability to barbecue a cause for desparation. Starvation is cause for despatation.

                                                    I suggest you find a public park with barbecue facilities and schedule an occasional outing.

                                                    1. Trust me, no lawyer is going to be able to change this law or get the insurance company to change its stance. For a good reason.

                                                      Why don't you spend the money you would have wasted on a lawyer putting in nice communal patio space - perhaps some with covered pavilions - that meets the code and then you and your neighbors can barbecue up a storm! You can even build little sheds for the grills so they are not exposed to the elements.

                                                      Bonus - you will have more space on your decks!

                                                      1. I am an attorney (albeit on the east coast, not California)
                                                        I lived in a condo for 18 years and was president of the state condo associations lobbying group.

                                                        You will not get the state law changed, PERIOD. Don't waste money on an attorney. The insurance companies lobby is far stronger and richer than you.

                                                        The insurance companies can handle the risk/exposure of a single or two family home fire, but their actuaries will not allow them to underwrite a 50 unit building with the banned type of balcony cooking.

                                                        Even if your state were to change the law, insurance companies may still set their requirements for coverage to follow these standards.

                                                        So, what good is it if it was legal, but no insurance company would underwrite policies and therefore no one could get or keep their mortgage, and then units would become unsaleable.....................

                                                        When one condominium complex (where I owned a home) in Florida was saddled by a new fire law that outlawed oudoor cooking on the BBQ patios that had been constructed outside each kitchen (all first floor units, a concrete pad, glass slider to kitchen) because you could no longer cook within 6 feet of a dwelling, the association installed BBQs in a fenced picnic area near the pool, including a shed with refrigerators and sinks/water supply).
                                                        Was is as convenient as cooking right outside my kitchen? No, did it comply with the law? Yes and it still allowed us to enjoy BBq'd food in the complex.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                          I'm curious about the OP: its been more than 4 years, how did he cope? move on and out? enjoying BBQ bliss or condo hell?

                                                        2. This law was written for various obvious reasons. In Florida, this law or its equivalent has been in effect for 40 years or more. Generally laws like this are the result of tragedies. Have your association. designate an area with a community BBQ, tables and benches for use by all.

                                                          Good Luck.

                                                          1. The fire marshall where I live also banned the use of grills on apartment decks. I have an electric grill & called the fire marshall and she okayed using it since it doesn't have an open flame. It actually makes great food with the use of hardwood chips.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: thymeoz

                                                              Wouldn't the hardwood chips sort of counter act the fact it's flameless? This is a sincere question, not trying to be flippant!

                                                              1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                No, I use them sort of the way you would if you were smoking them -- I soak them in water for about 1/2 hour, then wrap them in foil & prick holes in the foil. Then I heat them in the grill till they start smoking, about 20 minutes.
                                                                I did check with my upstairs neighbor to ask if the smoke bothered her, & she said she actually enjoyed the smell!

                                                                1. re: thymeoz

                                                                  So nice of you to ask. I wish my neighbors who grill every non-rainy/snowy day of the year and have lengthy grilling parties were as considerate. I've asked them to use the roof for their parties, since there is so much more room, but that's "inconvenient."

                                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                    Sorry to hear that. I can see that as a real problem.

                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                      If the roof has tar sealant, that could be a serious fire hazard.

                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                        Nope - we have an area set aside for grilling with some sort of fire proofing (sorry I don't know the specifics). Minneapolis has the most intrusive, worry-wart city inspectors. If there was a problem trust me, we'd have been fined a gazillion dollars (and put in the public stocks for all to throw whatever's handy).

                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                          I live in Toronto, we live in a nanny state when it comes to many things. That's great you are able to do that, at my old apartment the only chance of smoke were the a**holes upstairs throwing down their cigarette butts. :(
                                                                          ETA this was in reply to thymeoz. Sorry!

                                                              2. "I feel we are being discriminated against as a class"

                                                                <facepalm

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: cringle22

                                                                  I loved that! As a class of.....people who like to grill meat? Or who don't care about starting fires?

                                                                2. This may relieve some persons concerns...I looked at a few municipal ordinances prohibiting propane BBQs on balconies/lanais...and they define 'combustible' materials. If your walls are stucco and floor is tile or concrete, the ordinance states it is not 'combustible' in the context used in the prohibition.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: bbq4ever

                                                                    but the roof...and patio furnishings...and vegetation...are all combustible, and if your lease says no barbecues, then either get rid of the barbecue, put it in storage, or move.

                                                                  2. Boston fire codes sound similar to what yuou have.

                                                                    I bought a Meco electric grill from these guys. I'm reasonably happy with it.

                                                                    http://www.bbqguys.com/

                                                                    They've been great about replacing heating elements every few years and I lalways have a spare

                                                                    I add a few wood chips and can get it to about 700+F..very close to a standard propane grill.

                                                                    I know there are people who use propane, in violation of the law. If that tank ever explodes they face huge potential liability.

                                                                    As far as smoke, the condo has a rule prohibitting excessive smoke. It's considered excessive if someone complains. I hasd a barter system with my upstairs neighbor. I'd cook him a burger and he gave me produce from his farm in NH. My current neighbor grills to. I don't complain about him and vice versa.

                                                                    Long, slow BBQ is not feasible..quick grilling works fine.

                                                                    1. I thought I’d point out that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has determined the following ( http://bit.ly/1qZCsr0 ):

                                                                      • Smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, pipes) are still the leading cause of home fire deaths, 580 (22.6%) .

                                                                      • Almost one-third (31%) of the apartment fire deaths resulted from fires started by smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, pipes) .

                                                                      • Less than 0.56% (600 out of 106,400) of apartment fires were caused by grills, barbecues, and hibachis with ZERO deaths .

                                                                      Note that single family homes had 2,900 fires attributed to grills, barbecues, and hibachis which is 1.1% of the 260,200 single family home fires.

                                                                      Apartment homes are not allowed to grill/barbecue but single family homes (houses) with 4.8X the number of grill related fires are allowed to grill/barbecue? WHY???

                                                                      This is discrimination against those of us who rent vs. own, and the data says that homes have 4.8X more grill fires than we do!!!!

                                                                      Of ALL the causes of fire, grills, barbecues, and hibachis are THE LOWEST category at (3,800 out of 366,600 = 1.0%) .

                                                                      In comparison:
                                                                      • Grills 3,800 (1.0%
                                                                      )• Candles 29,600 (8.1%)
                                                                      • Fireplaces 26,300 (7.2%)
                                                                      • Furnaces 14,500 (4%)

                                                                      Even when looking at other cooking appliances:
                                                                      • Grills 3,800 (1.0%)
                                                                      • Ranges/cooktops account for 89,100 (24%)
                                                                      • Ovens/rotisseries account for 25,200 (6.9%),
                                                                      • Microwave ovens account for 7,100 (2%).

                                                                      None of which are banned.

                                                                      If I can have a cigarette (the most deadly of all) inside, if I can have a candle inside, I certainly should be able to have a grill outside.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jeff87111

                                                                        The reason that few fires in single-family homes are started by barbecues is because the grill is in the back yard.

                                                                        Nobody dies in apartment fires started by the hibachi because most apartments nowadays have sprinkler systems. Sprinkler systems are very effective at saving lives, but they make a mess of things in the process.

                                                                        1. re: jeff87111

                                                                          you're not accounting for the fact that in most jurisdictions, having a grill in an apartment is illegal, thus by definition, there are fewer barbecues per 100 apartments than there are barbecues per 100 houses.

                                                                          And as GH says below, in single-family homes, the grill is out in the back hard, not on the patio, under a roof and 3 feet from the structure.

                                                                          There's also the not-so-small issue that if someone in a single-family home burns their house down, it's ONE family and ONE residence -- not dozens and dozens.

                                                                          So if you want to have a barbecue, go rent a house. Not discrimination.

                                                                        2. What types of materials are considered combustible construction and what types are considered non-combustible construction?

                                                                          Wood or vinyl siding, wood decking and fabric awnings are examples of combustible construction. For the purposes of these regulations, stucco covered walls/ceilings, concrete or tiled floors and wood railings facing the exterior (not between units) will be considered to be non-combustible construction. Note that certain composite deck and railing materials may also
                                                                          be considered non-combustible for the purposes of these regulations.

                                                                          http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Portals/0/Sun...

                                                                          1. Suggest you actually give one of the Webers that use the small screw-in tank a try. We have one, and are quite happy with it. You're right, it's not charcoal or wood-burning, but the end results are really quite fine. We use if for steaks, chicken, fish, veggies and all are really pretty good. it's more in the marinade, rub, seasonings than in the fuel. I'm not denying that charcoal is better, but...

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Per the text of the op and the cited reg, gas grills that use the small screw-in lp canisters (such as the Weber 100 and 200 series) are permitted. We have one, and for smaller families and groups, they really are adequate (not the equivalent of a Weber charcoal grill, but pretty much fine for folk who grill steaks, fish or chicken 1x/week).