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Oven location in small yard

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  • Oven location in small yard

    Hi Everyone, I recently joined the forums here and thought I should cover an important question before I get any more excited about actually building an oven. I need to try and work out if my yard/oven location are going to be suitable for having a wood fired oven without smoking out the neighbours and ending up having an oven I can't use.

    To give you some background information I live in a 2 level townhouse, with a mirrored copy on one side and a free standing house on the other side. The house is raised off the ground so it's higher than a single level house but not as high as the townhouse. The house is approximately 1000mm from the fence line. I have attached a couple of photos which shows the space I have available to work with. The spot I have highlighted in the photos for the oven is the most convenient in regards to requiring the least amount of work to prepare the site in addition to being located close to the kitchen and not in the way of where outdoor table and chairs will eventually be located.

    My thoughts are to make the chimney flue approx 1.5m long, sitting on top of a base and oven (lets say approx 1.5m) which would bring the height up to 3m. This should get the smoke over the top of the house next door as long as the wind isn't too strong.

    I would really appreciate people's thoughts regarding the following:

    1. Should I consider a different location?
    2. Do I live too close to my neighbours to be able to have a wood fired oven at all?

  • #2

    First of all, it is good to locate the oven as close as you can to your home kitchen. That will help widen your prep area and cut down on your steps to and from the oven. Next, you will need to make sure that your are within the standoff limits for your citiy's property lines and fire codes (that will be very crucial if future arguments arise). Aside from that, (again check your local ordinances) you will need to make sure that your oven's chimney/flue is 2 feet above any part of a roof line that is within 10 feet lateral to your oven. I hate that you city dwellers need to do this but, check (on the sly) to see if you need a building permit . David S. and Russell have given you some great advice on the other thread. The annoying smoke only lasts for a few minutes. You can even shorten that time with your oven firing technique. The smell after that,.................... can make for some very friendly neighbors .

    Welcome to the forum.
    Joe Watson " A year from now, you will wish that you had started today" My Build Album / My Build


    • #3
      Click image for larger version

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ID:	384292 "If you are planning on building/installing an oven in a townhouse consider carefully where the smoke will go. Is the townhouse two stories, or are there upper levels surrounding you. The flue can extend as high as you like, but all WFO's are a bit smoky at start up for around 10 mins. Some members have reported issues with neighbours which could potentially prevent you from using the oven at all. Check the direction of prevailing winds. Usually you will have an onshore breeze when you want to use your oven in the evening, so your wind is most likely to be from the east. The best way to deal with neighbour issues is to invite them over or give them some freshly baked bread."

      If you use the upside down fire lighting technique you can start the fire with minimal smoke. And, if you follow the "nothing thicker than your wrist" for feeding the fire once started there should be virtually no smoke. However, if your wood is wet, green or too large then you will have smoke. Likewise, if you let the flame die you will have smoke. A blowpipe is an essential tool IMO. Here's a pic of an extended flue to get it over the roof. Note the flue stays, you need these if the flue is tall.
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


      • #4
        Thanks guys you have both provided me with some excellent information. I've looked into the building and fire codes and it appears that having a fire for the cooking of food for human consumption is ok which is a good start. As for the boundary setback though, that is 1.5m from the boundary line which makes my proposed location unsuitable unless I change the orientation and only have a really small oven. In addition to this the chimney height rules are a little confusing as I can only find rules about wood heaters. I am also not certain if building approval is required.

        I was originally thinking about going down the path of building an oven out of firebricks on a beser block/reinforced concrete stand. Since discovering the latest info above I am thinking that a castable oven built on a movable metal stand could be an option in order to be able to move the oven into suitable location for cooking. The challenge would then become designing an oven that holds enough heat toworl well but is loght enough that it can in fact be moved.


        • #5
          If you build it with a tall flue to overcome smoke issues, you won't be able to make it movable.
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


          • #6
            Ahh yes you are right, forgot about the flue stays. I guess an orientation change and a reduction in size is in order if I am going to use this location.


            • #7
              I've spent a fair amount of times investigating the building regulations and while some details are a bit sketchy I have found a quite a lot. I thought I would share what I have found for anyone else who lives in the Brisbane City Council area and might come here looking for advice in the future.

              It appears that a structure with a total height less than 2m does not require building approva,l my take on this is that setback rules from the boundary line still apply. In the case of my property the setback is 1.5m for the side boundary which doesn't leave very much room for a pizza oven. The other part I haven't been able to confirm yet is how far away from the house that the oven needs to be built to pass fire regulations. If the structure triggers building approval (over 2m high) then planning approval also comes into play. I live in a character building overlay area which also means that there are more rules about how structures are made to look. The character building regulations also only apply to structures in the front yard p, not the back. Unfortunately I only have a front yard so this is unavoidable. Speaking with a few people it has become apparent that triggering building and planning approval for a project like this will easily go into thousands of dollars before I can even start work, in fact the prices I was given was considerably more than the cost of building the entire oven. That is about all the info I could pull together before I would have to start paying people to investigate further.

              Given that building the chimney flue less than 2m high in the planned location is going to just put smoke straight into the house next door it is pretty safe to say that this location is not at all feasible. I am currently back to considering a mobile pizza oven that I can move into the most suitable position for cooking based on current wind conditions. It is either this or no pizza oven at all as far as I can see.


              • #8
                10-15' feet in most jurisdictions. Either of the two expertly rendered locations would probably work.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Perhaps you could set up a dry stack oven temporarily and have a few trial runs to see what happens to the smoke and judge the neighbors reaction. Once they get a taste of your pizza, they just might help build the thing so they can enjoy it as well. You can set up a really basic oven in two hours with a little bit of planning.
                  The cost of living continues to skyrocket, and yet it remains a popular choice.


                  • #10
                    Thanks that is a good idea. I will look into doing that as soon as possible to test the waters.


                    • #11
                      I've done a few trial runs, although with a Chiminea rather than a dry stack oven and the results have so far been ok. No complaints from the neighbours and I moved the chiminea around the courtyard trying a few different spots depending on what the wind was doing. My first couple of fires were pretty smokey but I got better at starting them after some practice. While doing the trial runs I have also been busy starting to plan a build so at this point I think I am ready to move ahead. Exciting times!