8

My landlord mentioned that I can have a grill on my balcony as long as it is fueled by natural gas. As he is a fireman, I'm assuming he has some knowledge of the relevant laws.

But before dropping several hundred dollars on a new grill, I wanted to make sure, so I am looking at BARBECUES, PROPANE AND HEAT-PRODUCING DEVICES ON BALCONIES from the Denver Fire Department, and at the end it reads

Exceptions:
...
3.Listed natural gas appliances...
4.Listed electric ranges, grills or similar electrical apparatus...

What does "listed" mean in this context? The document has no list. But my natural gas appliance is listed on Amazon's, Lowe's, and Home Depot's websites. I assume that's not what the document means.

  • 1
    I think they mean the product has been tested and certified safe. – Putvi Apr 30 at 19:36
  • 3
    You are going to have to ask the fire department if you want an authoritative answer. I am pretty sure Putvi's guess is right (UL has historically used the term "listed" to describe products it has certified as meeting its safety standards), but I don't see any way that anyone here can prove it to you. – Nate Eldredge Apr 30 at 19:45
  • @NateEldredge I agree that's the most likely case and if Putvi's answer is the best I'll accept it, but I'm hoping someone might pipe in here with a decree from England in 1349 that states "and hereby 'listed' shall mean UL and not ETL" or something like that. Really this is a question about expanding my familiarity with legalese and what I can and cannot assume. – Turch Apr 30 at 19:50
  • I agree with @Nate Eldredge. But I will mention that when I lived in an apartment with a balcony in NJ, we were told "absolutely no grills using bottled gas" on the balcony or in the apt because of fire danger, and later there was a fire which totally destroyed a group of eight apartments which was reportedly due to such a grill. – David Siegel Apr 30 at 19:50
  • 1
    I didn't mean to say that it doesn't have a meaning, but just that it's not something that has a meaning that could differ in the same way as some legal things like what is fair use in copyrights so if someone came across this they may say to themselves oh I thought everyone agreed it meant safety listed with UL or a similar place and it would throw them off. I might be wrong about others thinking it, but if I saw that pop up on Google that is what I would think personally. I am not knocking your question though. – Putvi Apr 30 at 20:02
9

I am not from Denver, so it may be different there, but I would think most people would take that to mean the appliance meets UL standards or other safety standards and has been certified.

Each governing body, be it a town, county, state, or country, gets to decide who can certify an appliance.

  • That's what I assume as well, but as far as I know the law doesn't work on "I thought I was allowed", which is why I'm clarifying. – Turch Apr 30 at 19:41
  • I understand. I just don't think there's room for that to be anything else. – Putvi Apr 30 at 19:45
  • So, to legally have my homemade grill on my balcony, am I allowed to certify it myself or do I have to form a corporation? (which would probably be a good idea anyway to protect myself from the future lawsuits from the fire caused by my poorly designed grill) This comment was frivolous at first but after thinking about it, as a diy/tinkerer that likes welding and metalwork, maybe someday I would be interested in making a homemade grill. Would having that on my balcony be legal? (And as for the corporation part, as far as I know UL is just a corporation with no government oversight) – Turch Apr 30 at 20:19
  • No, it wouldn't be legal because you admit you didn't have it listed, obviously. I am not the UL people, but they would access your grill and tell you it was good or what to improve. It would just go on a case by case basis. – Putvi Apr 30 at 20:22
  • 1
    @DanNeely Actually NRTL is irrelevant in this case. NRTL is run by OSHA and as a result, OSHA only supervises under a limited set of occupational safety standards. Many home appliances do not fall under OSHA's occupational safety purview, and test labs therefore cannot become NRTLs. For example, this fireplace is listed by PFS, not a NRTL, to UL 127, not on the list. – user71659 Apr 30 at 21:54
5

The memo you've linked refers to the Denver Building and Fire code (the 2011 edition, not the current 2016 edition, but the section numbers still seem to match up), which in turn includes the 2015 International Fire Code as amended. The "Listed" wording comes from Denver's amendments, while the definition comes from chapter 2 of the IFC:

LISTED. Equipment, materials, products or services included in a list published by an organization acceptable to the fire code official and concerned with evaluation of products or services that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services and whose listing states either that the equipment, material, product or service meets identified standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.

If Denver has a list of acceptable organizations, I've been unable to find it.

1

"Listed" is a term of art referring to devices tested and approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. This is the list of recognized listers. Here too is a list of organizations that are not recognized. You can start an organization by submitting an application to OSHA. OSHA gets to say who is approved because of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The requirements for becoming an NRTL are here.

  • 4
    "Listed" as used here is a legal term, defined in the 2015 International Fire Code. The fact that it is also a term of art with a different meaning is irrelevant. – Mark Apr 30 at 21:08
  • "Listed" is more general than that, not limited to fire codes, and has been around for much longer than 3 years. The fact that it is also defined in the 2015 International Fire Code is irrelevant. – user6726 Apr 30 at 22:20
  • 2
    The question refers to a memo from the Denver Fire Department. The memo cites sections from the Denver Building and Fire Code, which includes by reference the International Fire Code. The International Fire code gives a definition of "Listed". As a general principle of law, the most specific definition of a word (in this case, the definition given in Chapter 2 of the IFC) overrides a more general definition. – Mark Apr 30 at 22:37
0

As others have suggested "Listed" refers to being successfully tested by one of the national testing labs, of which Underwriter's Laboratory is probably the best known. There are others (ETL being a common alternative).

One is free to start their own testing company, but whether or not it is recognized by anyone, including the City of Denver, is an entirely different matter. The good news is that most products for which a "listing" would be required either have one, or really shouldn't be used on a balcony. This last bit is the important part -- "UL / ETL Listing" really is about ensuring a product is designed with safety in mind.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.