If you have been grilling out on your patio or balcony this summer here in New York, you may have been breaking the law. Crazy, right.? It's true, though, using certain types of grills close to your house or apartment is a violation of Section 308.1.4 of the 2015 International Fire Code (2015 IFC).

Let's look at what the code says and why it's not allowed:

In a technical bulletin from John R. Addario, PE, Director for the Division of Building Standards and Codes, it refers to the code, which states that,

Charcoal burners and other open-flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction.

So unless you've got a huge balcony or deck, you are most likely within 10 feet of a "combustible construction," also known as your home. There are some exceptions provided by the code though,

(1). one- and two-family dwellings

'one- and two-family buildings containing one or two single units providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including townhouses properly separated by fire resistant common walls (per Section R302.2 of the 2015 International Residential Code).'

(2). Where buildings, balconies and decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.
(3). LP-gas cooking devices having LP-gas container with a water capacity not greater than 2½ pounds.
[Nominal 1 pound LP-gas capacity]

The takeaway here is that you may be ok operating your gas or charcoal grill on your patio or balcony, but it's technically not legal to do it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires caused by grills IN THE United States not only cause millions of dollars in damage, but also injuries and deaths,

US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 10,600 home structure and outdoor fires involving grills per year during 2014–2018. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage annually.

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Hat tip to Light 987 for the idea.

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