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Regulations for Barbecues on Balconies

2014 Alberta Fire Code safety regulations pertaining to barbecues on balconies

2.4.5.1. Open air fires

  1. No person shall use a solid-fuel-fired barbecue in a building or on the balcony of a building containing more than two dwelling units.

2.4.4.6. Gas Containers

  1. No person shall store or use a natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas container for use with fuel-burning appliances or equipment except in conformance with gas regulations made pursuant by the Safety Codes Act and its Regulations.

Gas regulations under the Safety Codes Act

Propane cylinder storage, handling and use are governed by Gas Regulations adopted under the Safety Codes Act. These regulations restrict the location of gas cylinders to:

  • Be equipped with a maximum of one 20-pound cylinder per installation and according to manufactures instructions;
  • Be 1 metre (3 feet) from building openings such as doors and windows;
  • Be 3 metres (10 feet) from any sources of ignition;
  • Be 1 metre (3 feet) from any combustible surfaces unless otherwise directed by the appliance Manufacturers Instructions.

The regulations also restrict how cylinders are transported within a building:

  • The cylinder valve shall be fully closed  and the protective cap/plug shall be in place;
  • Cylinder transfer by elevator shall be by freight or service elevators or by a passenger elevator only if there are no additional passengers other than the one in direct control of the cylinder.

As a result, in many apartment buildings, the use of propane barbecues is severely restricted while in other buildings essentially prohibited by the gas regulations and, in accordance with Sentence 2.4.4.6.(1) above, by the Alberta Fire Code. In all instances it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the regulations are adhered to.

The definition of owners and their responsibilities under the Safety Codes Act are as follows:
“Owner” includes a lessee, a person in charge, a person who has care and control and person who holds out that the person has the powers and authority of ownership or who for the time being exercises the powers and authority of ownership.

“Owners Care and Control” the owner of any thing, process or activity to which this act applies shall ensure that it meets the requirements of the act, that the thing being maintained as required by the regulations and that when the process or activity is undertaken it is done in safe manner.

Regional Emergency Services will invoice building owners and property management companies a minimum cost-recovery fee of $1,500 for any incident that is the result of a barbecue installed in contravention of 2014 Alberta Fire Code.

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