Grills – Apartments and Condos

cooking grill fire

Use and storage requirements for grills in apartments / condominiums and fire code violations.

Cooking with Grills on Balconies

As of January 1, 2018, the Florida Fire Prevention Code was changed as it relates to grilling on a balcony of an apartment or condominium. Use of electric grills are now permitted provided that they comply with the following:

NFPA 1: – Listed electric portable, tabletop grills, not to exceed 200 square inches of cooking surface, or other similar apparatus shall be permitted. Use or kindling of Gas Grills is still prohibited on any balcony, under any overhang, or within 10 feet of any structure as in previous code editions.

I live in a condo or apartment; can I cook with a gas grill?

The Florida Fire Prevention Code permits the permanent installation of listed cooking equipment as long as the equipment is installed in according with its listing*, applicable codes, and manufacturer’s instructions. This will require that a permit be submitted to the St. Johns County Building Department, which will be reviewed by both the building department and the fire department.
* The equipment must be listed for indoor use.

Can I store a grill on my balcony?

The Florida Fire Prevention Code prohibits the storage of any grill on a balcony of an apartment or condominium.

The specific code sections are as follows:

  • NFPA 1: (2015): For other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose shall be used or kindled on any balcony, under any overhanging portion, or within 10 ft (3 m) of any structure.
  • NFPA 1: (2015): Listed electric, tabletop grills, not to exceed 200 square inches of cooking surface, or other similar apparatus shall be permitted.
  • NFPA 1: (2015): For other than one-and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, grill or other similar devices used for cooking shall be stored on a balcony.
  • NFPA 1: (2015): Listed equipment permanently installed in accordance with its listing, applicable codes, and manufacturer’s instructions shall be permitted.

PLEASE NOTE: The St. Johns County Fire Marshal’s Office considers first floor patios as balconies as it relates to this rule. Many condominiums or apartment complexes have regulations on the use of barbecue grills that exceed fire code requirements. Please check with your management staff to see what requirements or exceptions apply to use of grills at your complex.

What if I fail to correct a Fire Code violation?

In almost all cases fire code violations are able to be corrected within the time given in the “notice of violation” issued by the fire inspector. In some cases, there are unusual circumstances that prevent timely compliance and we are often able to work with those who are making a good faith effort to comply. If you do need extended time to comply, you should contact your inspector as soon as possible to discuss your request.

When someone does not comply, enforcement action will be taken as described below:

  • The local enforcement procedures and penalties for failure to comply with the Florida Fire Prevention Code, or the Uniform Fire safety Standards, are found in St. Johns County Ordinance #16-29.

  • Both the owner and managers of a business may be held responsible for violating the fire codes.

  • The ordinance states that violators of the fire code may be prosecuted in the same manner as misdemeanors, and upon conviction they may be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or by imprisonment in the County Jail not to exceed 60 days, or both.

  • The ordinance also states that fire inspectors may issue civil citations to violators. A separate citation may be given for each violation, and each day that a violation continues is a separate offense. If the citation is not contested the penalty is $75.00, plus court costs. If a violator chooses to contest the citation and is convicted, the judge may impose a penalty up to $500.00 plus court costs for each violation.

  • The County also has other enforcement options, including but not limited to seeking a mandatory injunction from a court.