Barbecue on the balconies, rooftop and rear yards (FC 307.5)
Many customer asked us can a tenant do barbecue in the yard. Below you will find the fire department code and answer answers for this issue:
I am the managing agent for a high-rise apartment building. The tenants would like to barbecue on the balconies, rooftop and rear yards. Does the Fire Code have any restrictions or prohibitions?
Yes. FC307.5 regulates the operation and maintenance of charcoal, piped natural gas, LPG and electric barbecues on all properties, including apartment building properties. You should refer to FC307.5 for complete requirements.
All barbecues, regardless of the type of fuel used, are required to be operated outdoors (such as on a balcony or rooftop or in a rear yard) and at least 10 feet from combustible materials, including combustible building surfaces, combustible roofs and combustible decks. This restriction will effectively preclude the use of a barbecue on many balconies and rooftops, including on the roof of any apartment building with a combustible roof. Additionally, rooftops are not generally designed or safe for occupancy. You should consult with an engineer, architect or the New York City Department of Buildings regarding the safe and lawful use of any rooftop.
Use of propane (LPG)-fueled barbecues on apartment building properties is restricted to barbecues fueled by one 16.4 ounce container of LPG (the size of LPG container commonly used for hand-held propane torches). A maximum of four 16.4 ounce propane containers may be stored in any individual apartment. No LPG may be stored in any basement or cellar.
All barbecues must be constantly attended and there must be ready access to fire extinguishing equipment, as set forth in FC307.5.
I live in a private dwelling (1 or 2 family home). Can we have a barbecue on the balcony or roof deck and/or in the rear yard? If it is allowed, are there any restrictions on barbecue use on the property?
Yes. FC307.5 regulates the operation and maintenance of charcoal, piped natural gas, LPG and electric barbecues on all properties, including private dwelling properties. You should refer to FC307.5 for complete requirements.
All barbecues, regardless of the type of fuel used, are required to be operated outdoors and at least 10 feet from combustible materials, including combustible building surfaces, combustible roofs and combustible decks. This restriction will effectively preclude the use of a barbecue on many balconies and rooftops, including on the roof of any private dwelling with a combustible roof. Additionally, rooftops are not generally designed or safe for occupancy. You should consult with an engineer, architect or the New York City Department of Buildings regarding the safe and lawful use of any rooftop.
Additionally, propane (LPG)-fueled barbecues located and used on a balcony or roof deck are limited to those having a container not exceeding 16.4 ounces of LPG, with not more than 4 such containers in any dwelling unit. LPG fueled barbecues located and used in rear yards are limited to those having a container not exceeding 20 pounds of LPG, with not more than 2 such containers stored outdoors on the property (one in use and one reserve container). LPG containers with a capacity exceeding 16.4 ounces are not allowed to be stored indoors. No LPG may be stored in any basement or cellar.
All barbecues must be constantly attended and there must be ready access to fire extinguishing equipment, as set forth in FC307.5.
See Frequently Asked Question #3 for barbecue requirements for apartment buildings and Frequently Asked Question #5 for commercial properties.
My business occupies an office building. I would like to have a summer barbecue for my staff on the rooftop or in the rear yard. Does the Fire Code restrict or prohibit barbecues in these areas?
Yes. FC307.5 regulates the operation and maintenance of charcoal, piped natural gas and electric barbecues on all properties, including commercial properties. Unlike residential properties, propane (LPG)-fueled barbecues are not allowed on commercial properties. You should refer to FC307.5 for complete requirements.
All barbecues, regardless of the type of fuel used, are required to be operated outdoors and at least 10 feet from combustible materials, including combustible building surfaces, combustible roofs and combustible decks. This restriction will effectively preclude the use of a barbecue on many rooftops, including on the roof of a commercial establishment with a combustible roof. Additionally, rooftops are not generally designed or safe for occupancy. You should consult with an engineer, architect or the New York City Department of Buildings regarding the safe and lawful use of any rooftop. All barbecues must be constantly attended
Fire department code (FC code 307.1)
Kindling, building, maintaining or using an open fire is prohibited.
1. Portable outdoor barbecues as authorized by FC 307.5.
2. Outdoor noncommercial barbecue fires in equipment provided by and located in city parks where such open fires are allowed by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
3. In connection with training of fire brigades or similar purposes by persons or entities where such training is required by law, rule or regulation.
4. Approved open fires used for special effects in connection with television, motion picture, theatrical and other entertainment productions.
5. Coke-fueled salamanders at a construction site in accordance with FC 307.6 and the rules.
6. Lighting of charcoal for hookah use on the premises of non-tobacco hookah establishments in accordance with FC 310
and the rules.
7. Residential fire pits as authorized by FC 307.7.
Open fires allowed pursuant to FC 307.1 may only be kindled, built, maintained or used with the prior written authorization of the agencies with regulatory jurisdiction, property owner and other required approvals, and only when such open fires are maintained in compliance with all conditions of such authorization or approval. The commissioner may prohibit the kindling, building, maintaining or use of open fire or order the extinguishment of any open fire allowed by this section, upon a determination that such open fire will create an undue hazard because of conditions in the surrounding environment.
Open fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with the requirements of FC 906
with a minimum 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as a garden hose connected to an approved water supply, shall be available for immediate use.
307.5 Portable outdoor barbecues.
Charcoal, electric, and LPG and piped natural gas-fueled portable outdoor barbecues may be operated and maintained in compliance with the requirements of this section.
Portable outdoor barbecues burning charcoal, powered by electricity, or fueled by LPG containers or piped natural gas may be stored and used on any residential premises in compliance with the requirements of this section and the rules. Portable outdoor barbecues burning charcoal, powered by electricity, or fueled by piped natural gas may be stored and used on any other premises in compliance with the requirements of this section and the rules, except as may be restricted by the Zoning Resolution or the Department by rule or order. Stationary outdoor grills and other outdoor cooking equipment shall be installed in accordance with the Building and Mechanical Codes, and operated and maintained in accordance with this section.
The total grate area of a portable outdoor barbecue shall not exceed 10 square feet (0.929 m 2).
307.5.3 Clearance distances.
Portable outdoor barbecues shall not be stored or used within 10 feet (3048 mm) of any combustible waste, combustible material, or any combustible building surface, including combustible roofs and decks. To the maximum extent feasible, windows, doors and other building openings within 10 feet (3048 mm) of a barbecue in use shall be kept closed. An entrance door shall be closed immediately after entering or exiting the building while the barbecue is in use.
307.5.4 Fire extinguishing equipment.
A garden-type hose attached to a water supply, or a minimum of one portable fire extinguisher complying with the requirements of FC 906
with a minimum 4-A rating, shall be provided for any portable outdoor barbecue, and shall be readily accessible whenever the portable outdoor barbecue is in use. A portable fire extinguisher complying with the requirements of FC 906
and with a Class K rating shall be provided for any portable outdoor barbecue used for commercial cooking purposes, and shall be readily accessible whenever such barbecue is in use.
307.5.5 Natural gas piping.
The natural gas piping supplying portable outdoor barbecues designed to use piped natural gas shall be designed and installed in accordance with the Fuel Gas Code.
Portable outdoor barbecues fueled by LPG containers shall additionally comply with the requirements of FC 307.5.6.1 and 307.5.6.2.
307.5.6.1 Group R-2 occupancies.
Only portable outdoor barbecues designed for use with LPG containers with a capacity of 16.4 ounces (0.465 kg) may be stored or used on the premises of a Group R-2 occupancy. Indoor storage of 16.4-ounce (0.465 kg) LPG containers for this or any other purpose is limited to a maximum of four such containers per dwelling unit.
307.5.6.2 Group R-3 occupancies.
Portable outdoor barbecues designed for use with LPG containers with a capacity of 20 pounds (9.08 kg) or LPG containers with a capacity of 16.4 ounces (0.465 kg) may be stored or used on the premises of a Group R-3 occupancy. Twenty-pound LPG containers shall not be stored or used indoors, or on any rooftop or balcony. A maximum of two 20-pound LPG containers may be used to fuel a portable outdoor barbecue. Indoor storage of 16.4-ounce (0.465 kg) LPG containers for this or any other purpose is limited to a maximum of four such containers per dwelling unit.
Portable outdoor barbecues shall be periodically cleaned by removing grease or fat accumulations from grills and in trays below the grill.
307.6 Coke-fueled salamanders.
Coke and coke-fueled salamanders may be stored, handled and used for construction-related curing and drying at construction sites in accordance with this section and the rules.
The handling and use of coke and coke-fueled salamanders at construction sites, including the extinguishment of the coke, shall be under the personal supervision of a certificate of fitness holder. A certificate of fitness holder may not supervise the handling or use of more than fifty coke-fueled salamanders, or the handling or use of coke or coke-fueled salamanders that are located on more than one floor. The storage of coke and coke-fueled salamanders at construction sites shall be under the general supervision of a certificate of fitness holder.
307.7 Residential Fire Pits.
Residential fire pits may be stored and used to maintain an open fire in compliance with the requirements of this section and the rules on the premises of a detached Group R-3 occupancy in any R1, R2, or R3 residential zoning district.
Residential fire pits must be operated in accordance with manufacturer instructions for such residential fire pit, and shall be constantly attended while a fire is lit.
307.7.2 Clearance distances.
Residential fire pits shall not be stored or used within 10 feet (3048 mm) of any combustible waste, combustible material, or any combustible building surface. To the extent feasible, windows, doors and other building openings within 25 feet (7620 mm) of a residential fire pit in use shall be kept closed. An entrance door shall be closed immediately after entering or exiting the building while a residential fire pit is in use.
307.7.3 Design and operation.
The department may establish by rule standards for the design, installation, operation and maintenance for residential fire pits, provided that such rules are consistent with provisions established by this section.
307.7.4 Hazardous environmental conditions.
The department may prohibit use of residential fire pits in any location upon determination that such activity creates an undue fire hazard because of conditions in the surrounding environment, including during wind conditions or red flag weather.
Section FC 308: Open Flames
This section governs the use of open flames in all buildings, structures and premises.
308.2 Use of open flames.
Open flames may be lighted, maintained and used only as allowed in this section. Stationary appliances, including cooking, space heating and water heating appliances, are not open-flame devices subject to this section and shall be designed and installed in accordance with the construction codes. Portable fueled devices, equipment and systems, including LPG-fueled cookstoves and torches, shall be operated in accordance with FC 313
1. cause or allow an open flame to be lit or maintained in any room or other area of a building, structure, premises, marine vessel, watercraft or other place in which a hazardous material is stored, handled or used, or where conditions exist that could cause ignition of flammable vapors or combustible material.
2. use or maintain in any area in which smoking is prohibited, as set forth in FC 310
or elsewhere in this code, a lighted match or other flame which has not been approved for use by the department in such areas.
3. place or discard, or cause to be placed or discarded, an open flame, lighted match or other flaming substance or object on any surface or article where it can cause the ignition of combustible material or combustible waste, or otherwise cause an unwanted fire.
4. store or use candles, incense or similar open-flame producing items in Group R-1 college and university dormitories.
5. use or maintain an open flame or open-flame device in or on a building, structure or premises as a signal or marker, except that fusees may be used on roadways to alert motorists to stopped vehicles or other emergency condition.
6. light and release or allow to become airborne any lantern, balloon, or other item or craft containing or fueled by a flame or other heat-producing material, except for balloon operations authorized by FC Chapter 20
and other operations authorized by the department.
308.4 General safety precautions.
Open flames and open-flame devices are ignition sources that can readily ignite combustible materials. When their use is allowed by this section, all safety precautions appropriate to the circumstances shall be observed, including the following requirements:
1. Candles and other unenclosed open flames shall be constantly attended while lit.
2. Open flames and open-flame devices, including lighted candles, shall be protected from accidental contact by appropriate placement, and secured from tipping or other movement by a suitable candleholder or other device.
3. Open flames and open-flame devices, including lighted candles, except open-flame devices designed to be surface mounted, shall be placed on a noncombustible surface.
4. Open flames and open-flame devices, including lighted candles, shall be kept at least 3 feet (914 mm) from any combustible material or combustible waste.
5. Open flames and open-flame devices, including lighted candles, shall not be placed or kept in any corridor, stairwell or exit.
6. Open flame food warming devices shall be placed on non-combustible surfaces and constantly attended while lit. LPG-fueled open flame food warming devices shall not be used for food warming except where authorized by the department by issuance of an open flame permit.
308.5 Use of open flames in assembly occupancies and places of public gathering.
Open flames may be lighted, maintained and used in Group A occupancies and public gathering places only as allowed in FC 308.5.1 through 308.5.4 and the rules.
It shall be unlawful to light, maintain or use an open flame in a Group A occupancy or other building or structure used for a public gathering.
1. Open flames are allowed in the following locations when used for the following purposes, provided that safety precautions are taken to prevent ignition of combustible material and otherwise ensure the safety of occupants in accordance with FC 308.4, other applicable provisions of this code and the rules, and the terms and conditions of the permit or other approval:
1.1. Use of candles and open-flame devices in accordance with FC 308.5.2.
1.2. The preparation of flaming foods or beverages in accordance with FC 308.5.3.
1.3. Special effects in connection with a theatrical performance or other event for which a special effect permit has been granted in accordance with FC 308.5.4.
1.4. Open-flame devices for food warming in accordance with the rules.
1.5. Open-flame devices for demonstrations in exhibitions or trade shows in accordance with the rules.
1.6. Where necessary for ceremonial or religious purposes.
2. Natural gas light fixtures installed in compliance with the requirements of the Building Code and the Plumbing Code, and approved precautions are taken to prevent ignition of combustible materials.
308.5.2 Open-flame decorative devices.
Open-flame decorative devices, including wall-mounted candles, torch sconces, insect-repellant candles in glass jars or metal cans, tabletop candles and oil lamps, free standing torch holders and candelabras, shall comply with the following requirements:
1. Use of Class I and Class II liquids, including alcohol, and LPG in open flame decorative devices, is prohibited.
2. Liquid- or solid-fueled lighting devices containing more than 8 ounces (237 ml) of fuel must self-extinguish and not leak fuel at a rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) if tipped over.
3. The device or holder shall be constructed to prevent the spillage of liquid fuel or wax at the rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) when the device or holder is not in an upright position.
4. The device or holder shall be designed so that it will return to the upright position after being tilted to an angle of 45 degrees from vertical.
Exception: Devices that self-extinguish if tipped over and do not spill fuel or wax at the rate of more than 0.25 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) if tipped over.
5. The flame shall be enclosed except where openings on the side are not more than 0.375 inch (9.5 mm) diameter or where openings are on the top and the distance to the top is such that a piece of tissue paper placed on the top will not ignite in 10 seconds.
6. Enclosures shall be made of noncombustible materials and securely attached to the open-flame device.
Exception: An enclosure is not required to be attached to any open-flame decorative device that will self-extinguish if the device is tipped over.
7. Fuel canisters shall be safely sealed for storage.
8. Storage and handling of combustible liquids shall be in accordance with FC Chapter 57
9. Shades, where used, shall be made of noncombustible materials and securely attached to the open-flame device holder or enclosure.
10. Candelabras with flame-lighted candles shall be securely fastened in place to prevent overturning, and shall be located away from occupants using the area and away from possible contact with drapes, curtains or other combustibles.
11. Open-flame devices shall not be placed in any aisle, standing area, corridor or component of the means of egress.
308.5.3 Flaming food and beverage preparation.
The preparation and serving of flaming foods and beverages in Group A occupancies and public gathering places shall be in accordance with FC 308.5.3.1 through 308.5.3.4.
308.5.3.1 Dispensing of liquid.
Alcohol or other flammable or combustible liquid used in the preparation of flaming food and beverages shall be stored in a container with a capacity not exceeding 1 quart (946.5 ml) and dispensed from such container using a controlled-pouring device limiting the flow to a 1-ounce (29.6 ml) serving. The container shall have a secure cap or lid or one designed to prevent spillage when not in use.
308.5.3.2 Ignition and serving of flaming food.
Flaming food shall be ignited and served as follows:
1. Flaming food shall be ignited on a noncombustible surface or, if the surface is combustible, it shall be protected by a noncombustible mat that covers the entire top surface of the table.
2. The flames generated for flaming food shall not exceed 6 inches (152.4 mm) above the serving dish. Any pouring, ladling or spooning of liquids is restricted to a maximum height of 8 inches (203 mm) above the receiving receptacle.
3. Flaming food shall not be ignited on or above the table at which the patrons to whom the food is to be served are seated. Flaming food shall be ignited on a nearby serving table or cart at least 3 feet (914 mm) from patrons, or lighted in the kitchen and transported to the table on a serving cart.
4. The flames generated by flaming food shall be extinguished before the food is placed on the table before the patron.
5. The person preparing the flaming foods shall have a wet cloth towel immediately available for use in smothering the flames in the event of an emergency. In addition to portable fire extinguishers required by FC 906
, a portable fire extinguisher with a minimum 2-A:10B rating shall be kept at or near the location where flaming food or beverage is ignited.
308.5.3.3 Ignition and serving of flaming beverages.
Ignition and serving of flaming beverages at patron tables shall be conducted in the same manner as flaming food, as set forth in FC 308.5.3.2. Flaming beverages shall not be ignited and served on bars and counters at which the public is seated unless a safe perimeter of at least 3 feet (914 mm) from any patrons can be established and maintained while the beverage is lighted and flaming.
308.5.3.4 Staff training.
Any staff serving flaming food or beverages shall be trained and knowledgeable in the safe ignition and handling of such food or beverages.
Use of open flames as a special effect is allowed in conjunction with theatrical performances and in other places of assembly or public gathering only when authorized by the department. When approved, open flames shall be used in accordance with FC Chapter 56
and NFPA 160.
308.6 Alcohol-fueled decorative open-flame devices.
Alcohol-fueled decorative open-flame devices shall be designed, installed, operated and maintained in accordance with FC 308.6.1 through 308.6.5.
It shall be unlawful to install or use a stationary or portable alcohol-fueled open-flame device in Group A, E and I occupancies, and public gathering spaces. It shall be unlawful to use portable alcohol-fueled open-flame devices in Group R occupancies.
Stationary and portable alcohol-fueled open-flame devices installed or used in New York City shall be designed in accordance with the following requirements:
1. The device shall be constructed of metal, fire-resistant glass and/or other noncombustible material of sufficient thickness as to be capable of withstanding the heat generated by the open flames.
2. The device shall be constructed to provide protection from the flames at the maximum flame height the device is capable of generating.
3. The open flame shall be generated in a controlled manner through the use of a wick, valve or other approved method. A device that generates a flame in an uncontrolled manner is an open fire prohibited by FC 307.1.
4. The device shall have a means of manually extinguishing the flame, either by a shutoff valve, a means of manually closing the device that cuts off the supply of oxygen to the flame thereby extinguishing the flame, or other approved method. The method by which the flame is extinguished shall not require use of a battery-powered device.
5. The device shall use solid fuel or be fueled through a pump or other means of liquid fuel transfer from a container to the device without spillage. Only the type of fuel specified for the device shall be used.
6. The fuel capacity of the device shall not exceed 64 fluid ounces (1888 ml) or the equivalent in solid fuel, except as authorized by the department.
7. The device shall be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
All stationary and portable alcohol-fueled open-flame devices shall be installed or placed in accordance with listing requirements, manufacturer’s instructions and the following fire safety requirements:
1. The device shall be installed or placed at a location protected from movement and air drafts, and at least 3 feet (914 mm) from combustible surfaces and materials, including upholstered furniture, draperies, and wood surfaces.
2. The device shall be installed or placed in a room of sufficient size and ventilation to avoid dangerous accumulations of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, taking into consideration the capacity of the device’s alcohol reservoir and rate of burning. In no event shall a device be installed or used in a room smaller than that recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Devices designed for stationary installation shall be securely affixed to the floor, wall or ceiling or in furniture to prevent movement. No devices shall be installed in or on a wall or ceiling, or in a wooden cabinet or other furniture of combustible construction, unless it is of a type for which a certificate of approval has been issued by the department.
308.6.4 Safety precautions.
Alcohol-fueled decorative devices shall be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and the following safety precautions:
1. A lighted device shall not be left unattended. Flames shall be extinguished when the person responsible for attending to the operation of the device leaves the room or goes to sleep. The shutoff switch or device closure shall be used to ensure that the alcohol flames, which are not always readily visible, are extinguished.
2. A device shall not be fueled or moved when it is lighted or when it is not lighted but still hot.
3. A smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm, or detectors, shall be installed in any room in which an alcohol-fueled decorative device is installed or used.
4. A portable fire extinguisher for household use shall be kept readily available in any room in which an alcohol-fueled decorative open-flame device is installed or used.
Alcohol stored for use in alcohol-fueled decorative open-flame devices shall be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool location, away from heat and ignition sources. Such fuel storage is limited to 1 gallon (3.8 L).
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