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August 2010

Barbeques on balconies

I continue to receive phone calls regarding regulations for barbeques on balconies. 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.

Here is a table of Côte Saint-Luc’s relevant by-laws concerning barbecues explaining which type of barbecues apply:



By-law 107

Obligation to barbecue on a fully fireproof* balcony

By-law 852

Distance requirement between gas cylinder and building opening

By-law 2279

Transport of propane

By-law 2279

Gas / Propane










Table-top grill





* The determination of a “fully fireproof” balcony is made by the fire department.