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BBQ Safety Tips

Every summer there are several incidents involving balcony and courtyard barbecues. The risk with barbecues in a strata scheme is higher than in a typical back yard because balcony and courtyard barbecue flare ups can see items other than food catch alight or worse, gas bottles explode potentially causing a major fire causing serious injury or death not to mention leaving many people homeless.

Experience also shows that such fires are largely caused by wear and tear on gas hoses and burners or unsafe use of barbecues. Studies have also shown these sorts of fires often take longer to detect, involve greater suppression efforts and cause more damage than fires that start within a building.

Balcony BBQs are also riskier than those in houses because of an absence of sprinklers and at times presence of high wind speeds.

To help with management of safety in your strata scheme, we would like to highlight the most common mistakes when using a balcony barbecue and provide key safety tips.


1. Keep your barbecues and gas bottles at least 1.5 metres away from flammable materials (timber, walls, carpets, curtains and blinds), wall openings (windows, doorways), electrical ignition sources (power points, air conditioners, lights and bug zappers) and open flames (candles). Farther is even better.

2. Have only one gas bottle (up to 9kg) on a balcony.

3. Keep all gas bottles, connections and regulators in good condition. Check them regularly and turn the gas off as soon as you have finished cooking.

4. Ensure a fire extinguisher (dry chemical powder type is best) is at hand, and know how to use it.

5. Wear appropriate clothing that is not too loose and may catch alight.

6. Ensure your grease tray is clean before you light your barbecue, cook on low-medium heat settings and, if using a lidded barbecue, lower the lid when not checking the food to minimise the chance of smoke or unwanted smells annoying your neighbours or damaging walls and painted surfaces.


7. Use propane – the risk of explosion is too high

8. Use an LPG gas barbecue in a confined space. Ensure the area is open and well-ventilated.

9. Store spare/empty gas bottles indoors.

10. Leave a balcony barbeque unattended when cooking. Fires double in size every minute.

This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals





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  1. John Hull

    One also needs to be mindful of Queensland legislation concerning the transportation of LPG cylinders in elevators of high rise structures. No person is allowed to occupy a lift carrying a cylinder containing combustible gas, which also has to be secured to a handrail or securing device.

  2. Afton Jackson

    I really really appreciate your tips on how to avoid flareups like the proper distance needed between a barbecue and other materials. The last thing I want us to experience is a fun summer cookout that gets ruined by a sudden flame damaging our house fixtures. I’ll make sure I practice setting up our outdoor kitchen this way after I shop for essentials like BBQ sauces and rubs so we can enjoy summer in a safe way.