General Discussion

California BBQs & Grills

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

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

RWCFoodie | Apr 29, 2009 06:49 PM

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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