QUESTION: This past 4th of July, a lot of the units in our beachfront condominium association enjoyed the day by firing up a grill of some kind on their unit balcony. Does the Fire Code allow this?
ANSWER: Sorry to say the answer to that question is actually “No.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code and the Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC) are the laws that would govern use of the grills. The FFPC specifically provides that gas-fired, charcoal, and electric grills and hibachis cannot be used on any balcony, under any overhanging portion of the building, or within ten feet of any multi-family residential structure. NOTE: The Codes do not apply to one and two-family dwellings.
The latest version of the FFPC, The Fifth Edition, effective on December 31, 2014, now not only prohibits the use of all types of grills on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within ten feet of any structure (other than one- and two- family dwellings), but also provides that no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking can even be stored on a balcony. The only exception to this rule is that listed equipment permanently installed in accordance with its listing, applicable codes, and manufacturer’s instructions may be permitted under the rule.
Your property is subject to periodic inspections by the Fire Marshall’s Office for the particular jurisdiction, and we are hearing reports that the restrictions against using and storing all types of grills on balconies, etc., are now being strictly enforced.