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Rules for Deck and Patio Grilling in Boston

With yesterday's roofdeck fire in on Wellington Street in the South End, it seems like a somewhat apropos time to revisit this blog post from last summer.

With the dog days of summer upon us, there's nothing better than to hang out with friends and family on the deck, balcony, or patio of your condo.  As urban dwellers, we put a high value on  maximizing our use our outside spaces. And cooking up dinner and having a cocktail  is one of the best ways to enjoy the summer. But if you burn the building down, the fun's definitely over.

If you are going to be cooking on your deck or patio in the City of Boston, you need to know the rules. It's not just a matter of legality and safety (as if that weren't enough). If you need additional reasons, it's a matter of legal and financial liability, too.You can bet that the city is going to step up enforcement and your neighbors will definitely have something to say as well.

So here are the rules for outside grills, simplified (Here are the regs in full):

Plumbed gas grills are permitted on the exterior of any building level. The gas line must be installed by licensed plumber who must pull the appropriate permits.

Electric grills are permitted on the exterior of any building level. Once again, the line you are using must be installed by a licensed electrician, permitted, and up to  code.

Charcoal grills: Not permissible at all on or within a building structure, or roof or rear decks. Regulations do not specify whether they are permissible on an outside patio on the ground floor, but the regulations highly discourage them, and you may be legally and financially liable for any damage or injury you cause from flying sparks, fumes, etc..

Liquid propane (LP) grills: Permitted by the City of Boston except:

  • Not permitted inside the building.
  • Not permitted on balconies above the first floor of any building or structure used for habitation.
  • Not permitted on balconies or decks on any level that are covered or enclosed. For example, that could include a first floor deck with a deck above it.

Joe Wolvek is associate director of sales and a senior sales associate at Gibson Sotheby's Int'l Realty. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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