Question: My unit has a screened balcony (some people call it a “lanai”). I understand that I cannot use a gas grill out there, but I enjoy using my electric grill when the weather is nice. The association recently published an article in our monthly newsletter that stated that we are no longer allowed to use or store any type of grill on our balconies, including electric grills. Is there a law that imposes this restriction or is the association just being overly cautious? G.F. (via e-mail)
Answer: Your association is simply following the law. The State of Florida mandates that local governments adopt all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and requirements. Thus, counties and municipalities are required to enforce the current Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC). The 2007 FFPC distinguished between the types of grills that could and could not be used in a residential setting in other than one- and two- family dwellings. While gas-fired and charcoal grills could not be used on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 feet of any structure, listed electric ranges, grills, or similar electrical apparatus were explicitly permitted.
The FFPC was amended, effective December 31, 2011, to remove this distinction. The current regulation provides that no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purposes can be used or kindled on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within ten feet of any structure (other than one- and two- family dwellings). Thus, as of the end of 2011, electric grills could no longer be used in these areas. The 2010 FFPC, however, did not address storage of these items.
Storage was addressed in 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 shall 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.