Question: In your February 10, 2016 blog post, you stated that electric grills are no longer permitted to be used or stored on condominium balconies. I consulted with our local fire marshal who issued a letter that says that only gas and charcoal grills are prohibited. Which is correct? (R.J. by e-mail)
Answer: You are referring to my column titled “Grilling on the Balcony: What is Permissible in Florida Condominiums?” Section 633.202 of the Florida Statutes requires the State Fire Marshal to adopt the Florida Fire Prevention Code. Thereafter, it must be updated every three years. Each newly adopted Florida Fire Prevention Code explicitly provides that it supersedes all previous editions. Pursuant to the same statute, each municipality, county, and special district with fire safety responsibilities is required to enforce the most recent version of the Florida Fire Prevention Code as the minimum fire safety code. Local governments are permitted to adopt local amendments, but those amendments may only strengthen the Fire Prevention Code requirements, which are a statewide minimum.
The last time electric grills could be used on balconies pursuant to the NFPA 1 Fire Code was October 9, 2008.
Section 10.11.6 of the 2009 NFPA 1 Fire Code was effective on October 10, 2008. It removed the distinction between gas and charcoal grills and electric grills and, for the first time, provided that no grill, regardless of type, may be used on balconies of residential buildings, other than one- and two-family dwellings. The only exception to this blanket prohibition is for equipment which has been installed in accordance with its listing, applicable codes, and manufacturer’s instructions.
Section 10.11.6 of the 2012 NFPA 1 Fire Code, effective on June 20, 2011, added the prohibition against storage of grills on balconies. The current (fifth) edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code, effective on December 31, 2014, is based on the 2012 NFPA 1 Fire Code. Accordingly, it too included the prohibition against storage of grills on balconies in Section 10.11.6.
The prohibitions against use and storage of grills on balconies have been carried forward in Section 10.10.6 of the 2015 NFPA 1 Fire Code, effective on September 3, 2014. Accordingly, it is likely that the sixth edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code, currently under review, will also continue to prohibit the use and storage of grills on balconies of residential buildings, other than one- and two-family dwellings.
I am not sure why your local fire official disagrees with my interpretation. But I have been wrong before. I would suggest your association’s attorney take this up with the local fire official and advise your association as to his or her opinion on the subject.