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fire code - permit rejected

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  • #16
    Re: fire code - permit rejected

    I live in New Jersey and when I inquired about the permits for an oven I was told that I would need zoning, building and a variance (nothing in our code for a wood fired oven). The total cost would be atleast $600 proably more due to the variance. To avoid this I found out that an appliance on a movable stand diidn't need anything, ie. a grill, a chimnea. So now I'm building a metal stand with wheels to support my oven. It will roll into a space in my outdoor kitchen along with a grill creating my non-permanent kitchen. F*** the Man.


    • #17
      Re: fire code - permit rejected


      That's exactly what I did.

      Scott D.


      • #18
        Re: fire code - permit rejected

        Originally posted by Faith In Virginia View Post
        Very true about the codes BUT the reason for the rejection was do to an IFC code (International Fire Code) I have that book on my shelf. Local codes and ordinances will supersede the IFC only if they are more strict.

        Dealing with these people (building officials) on a regular basis I will tell you some are very smart and know their stuff and others are dumb as dirt. I think this official missed the part of the code that he himself quoted. Clearly. But they are the final say on the matter. So it's best to have things worked out before a build.

        The information I provided was based on an International Fire Code and is the core of the regulations. This information is open to the public and is available on the internet if you know where to look. I think it's important to discuss these codes because they can affect people wanting to build a WFO at there homes. Unfortunately the IFC is a bit behind the times and have not specifically addressed WFO which is a relatively new and growing thing. Until that time it's important that we know and understand these codes, know where to find local amendments, so that people can safely operate there WFO.

        I'll bet that official even with building plans in hand has no idea how a WFO works. So when you go and have a sit down with the official and you know of the codes that relate to WFO and know how a WFO operates it would be much easier to have your permit accepted. And by us having discussion on codes could bring up important points and important questions for both the WFO builder and the building official.

        The codes really are not that variable but their interpretation from one official to another can vary greatly.
        given the variability in inspectors' judgement, what are the chances that a project is OKed by one and then [say after somebody complains after the WFO is built] found not acceptable by another?


        • #19
          Re: fire code - permit rejected

          I too disagree with the inspector's reading of the code. The clear intent of that code section is to regulate uncontained fires such as those in firepits. Several examples are listed of types of containment...but the intent of the code is not that such list of examples is exclusive.

          I did a quick net search and found that San Bernadino County, CA and some of the cities within that county (Big Bear Lake) include "outdoor bread or pizza oven" within the definition of BBQ for purposes of the IFC. That makes sense. I would guess that most other municipalities have done the same...when the issue was examined.

          The idea of placing this within the category of fire pit rather than fireplace is nuts. I'd look hard at following the appeal process associated with his decision. I'd also get as big a list as possible of other municipalities who have determined that a pizza oven is equivalent to a BBQ...that could be persuasive. (It's worth noting that large areas of San Bernadino County and all of Big Bear Lake are in the middle of a forrest which is regularly hit with forrest fires...if they are OK with Pizza Ovens anybody should be.

          When dealing with these people be nice, polite, etc. Walk in well-armed with data showing why your build is like a BBQ or outdooor fireplace.

          The following cut and paste contains some good info. Commentaries are often done by regulatory or rule-making bodies to clarify things.

          "The 2006 International Fire Code Commentary offers clarification on open burning. In the
          commentary section it includes:
          “A recent innovation that is sometimes treated as open burning is the patio
          fireplace. These devices function similar to a masonry or factory-built indoor
          fireplace except that they are portable, outdoor, solid fuel-burning patio fireplaces
          designed to provide ambiance and warmth in outdoor settings. They come in many
          styles and are typically constructed of steel with heavy-duty screening around the
          firebox, although some types are made of concrete or clay with a small hearth
          opening and are equipped with a short chimney or a chimney opening in the top.
          The design will typically include a stand to elevate the firebox above the surface
          upon which it is placed to provide clearance to combustible
          El Segundo Fire Department
          Fire Prevention Interpretation # 09-2
          California Fire Code Section 307
          Open Burning and Recreational Fires
          Page 2
          materials. These devices do not constitute the type of burning intended to be
          regulated by Section 307, examples of which could include disposal of brush,
          construction rubbish or household waste by open burning. As with any type of heatproducing
          device, patio fireplaces should be used with caution, paying close
          attention to proximity to combustible materials and buildings or structures and
          constant attendance during times of use. Stoves, incinerators or other controlled
          burning devices which would include patio fireplaces do not fall under the openburning
          It is the policy of the Fire Prevention Division that portable patio fireplaces and chimneas,
          when used, do not constitute open burning and are not subject to the regulations set forth
          in Section 307. However, general fire safety must be maintained and in accordance with
          Appendix Chapter 1, Section 102.8, Matters not provided for. The operator of a portable
          patio fireplace and/or chimnea must comply with the following fire safety regulations:
          1. No rubbish, trash, or brush can be burned. Incidental paper use for kindling and the
          paper wrapping for a “Dura-Flame” type log is permitted.
          2. The portable patio fireplaces and/or chimnea cannot be operated under a canopy,
          patio cover, porch or other structure.
          3. The portable fireplace must be a minimum 5 feet from a building or combustible
          4. The portable patio fireplaces and/or chimnea must have a spark arrestor (screen)
          on the flue to arrest sparks. The screen must have a maximum 1/16 inch opening.
          5. The portable patio fireplaces and/or chimnea must be in constant attendance when

          End of excerpt.

          Finally, you guys who are getting permits should quit calling these things "wood fired ovens". That sounds scary and unfamiliar. Call them BBQ's or outdoor fireplace ovens. Or something.

          Go get 'em.


          “[a]n outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet (914 mm) or less in diameter and 2 feet (610 mm) or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.” The construction of a pizza oven as you described fits this definition. Therefore the requirements of IFC 307.4.2 shall apply.
          IFC Section 307.4.2 requires recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure. Therefore I would not approve your proposed pizza oven to be constructed where indicated on the submitted site plan (14 feet from the structure).


          • #20
            Re: fire code - permit rejected

            I think the issue here is that the inspector has no code that is relevant to the outdoor pizza oven/fireplace/bbq - whatever you choose to call it. The section they cited pretty clearly does not apply to a WFO - as a matter of fact it seems to specifically exclude them, because it relates to an outdoor fire, which is defined as "?[a]n outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit

            Well, your fire is contained in an outdoor fireplace. A third grader could reason out that this doesn't apply. Not so a city employee, I guess.

            We have the same issue here in Seattle. Outdoor fireplaces fall under the fire code, not the building code - and the fire code doesn't really address them.

            This article covers the issue and I think the same interpretation is fair for your locality:
            Seattle Fire Code – Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits | Shepherd Stoneworks Blog
            I must say that the language in the code is quite vague as it pertains to enclosed fireplaces and barbeques. There are very specific rules in regards to open fires and fires contained in portable, store-bought pits, but regulations seem to exclude permanent cooking and heating structures. The code refers to Recreational Fire which is described as a fire ?that is not contained in an outdoor fireplace, grill or barbecue pit.?

            This raises a few questions: What comprises an ?outdoor fireplace? or a ?barbeque? for that matter? Is a fire pit with no chimney considered a fireplace, and if not, can a steel screen suffice to classify it as enclosed? How close can a firepit/chimneystack be to your house or other structures?

            At any rate, there does not seem to be any mention of outdoor fireplace design in either building or fire codes in Seattle or Washington State.

            Based on what I read, I did not ask about a permit. If there is no relevant code, there is no need for a permit. Kind of like digging a hole in your backyard. You don't need a permit. Easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.
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