Grills and Balcony Risks

Fire codes related to the use of BBQs on balconies vary from city to city. In most cities it is perfectly legal to do so. That doesn’t mean it is safe. The National Fire Protection Association published this partial list of residential BBQ and grill fires.

We encourage all our clients to consider enacting a no grilling on balconies policy.

  • Grills on balconies can create cosmetic smoke damage to exterior walls.
  • Grills on balconies can create unwanted smoke and odors in nearby units.
  • Most balconies are too small to maintain a clear safe area around the grill.
  • Grills on balconies may ignite flammable materials in doorways or windows. Drapes and curtains are particularly vulnerable.
  • Wind can blow grills over, spreading hot coals across flammable surfaces.
  • Propane tanks from gas grills, in the event of fire, are explosive risks. (See the video at the bottom for an example of a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion) fire. There is a small propane tank in the garage.)
  • Grills account for 8,800 residential fires a year, and 10 fatalities.

If you must allow grilling on balconies, insist on electric models. They are far safer than coal or gas grills.