I continue to receive phone calls regarding regulations for barbecues on balconies. While I have always been against BBQing on apartment and condominium balconies for fear of the spread of fire, the risk of charcoal being blown off a balcony risking those below, the danger of transporting gas cylinders in a building and the nuisance of smoke to one’s neighbours, the City of Cote Saint-Luc does allow BBQs on balconies under certain conditions.  Here is an update of the bylaw that has been posted on the CSL website:

Use of barbecues in Côte Saint-Luc

In order to protect the safety of residents, the City of Côte Saint-Luc has placed limits on the use of open-flame barbecues, such as propane barbecues, charcoal barbecues, etc.

The following will help you determine if you can use an open-flame barbecue at your residence.

1. Apartment and condominium rules

Before even reviewing the city rules about the use of open-flame barbecues, you should first learn if your condominium association or landlord allows the use of barbecues on balconies or ground floor area. If it is prohibited by the association or owner, then you cannot use an open-flame barbecue, irrespective of the by-laws of Côte Saint-Luc.

2. Type of balcony

Assuming that there are no prohibitions by your condominium association or apartment building owner, then you should familiarize yourself with Côte Saint-Luc by-laws. By-law 852 amending By-law 626 concerning fire prevention states that the use of a portable open-flame device, such as a barbecue apparatus—which includes a hibachi-type table-top grill fired by charcoal—must be used on a balcony that has a support, floor, wall or any part thereof that is fully fireproof. In general, this means that the balcony must be made of concrete as opposed to wood. However, the only way to determine whether your balcony is fully fireproof is to ask the Montreal fire department to inspect it. You can contact the fire department at 514-280-0868.

3. Distance between gas cylinder and building opening

Assuming that the fire department says that your balcony is fully fireproof, you must also have a balcony large enough to satisfy the rules governing the storage of gas cylinders, such as propane tanks.

The distance between the building opening and the cylinder containing gas is governed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), which enacted the Natural Gas and Propane Installation Code and the Propane Storage and Handling Code. These distances, which are incorporated by reference in Côte Saint-Luc By-law 2279, vary and are based upon various factors. These distances only apply to barbecues fuelled by gas.

For example, the Propane Storage and Handling Code states: a cylinder shall be installed outside a building, with the discharge from the cylinder relief valve not less than:

a) 3 feet (1 metre) on a horizontal plane from any building opening when the opening is below the level of the relief valve discharge;

b) 10 feet (3 metres) on a horizontal plane from the air intake of any appliance or air-moving equipment; and

c) 10 feet (3 metre) on a horizontal plane from any source of ignition.

Note: Although these codes regulate gas barbecues and not barbecues fueled by charcoal, Montreal fire inspector Jean-François Duclos recommends that residents read carefully and rigorously apply the recommended distances listed in their charcoal barbecue user manual.

4. Smoke

Assuming that your building allows barbecues, that you have a fully fireproof balcony, and one that is large enough to permit the distances required between the gas cylinder and the building opening, then you can to use your open-flame barbecue—assuming you are not causing a nuisance to your neighbour.

By-law 107 concerning nuisance (i.e., smoke) applies to all barbecues. Just like loud music, smoke from a barbecue could be a nuisance to your neighbours.

In summary, in order to barbecue on a balcony in Cote Saint-Luc, you MUST:

  • Ensure your building allows barbecues
  • Have a fully FIREPROOF balcony (meaning a balcony made of cement)
  • NEVER transport a gas cylinder in an elevator with anyone inside other than yourself
  • Maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from the barbecue’s gas cylinder to the balcony door (although the further the safer)
  • Ensure that you do not create a nuisance, such as smoke

Failure to comply with these bylaws and national codes can lead to an infraction by Cote Saint-Luc Public Security, Urban Planning or the Montreal Fire Department.  For any further information contact the Montreal Fire Department.