Gas flame and combustion special effect requirements


Directive: Gas flame and combustion special effect requirements

November 17, 2022


Reference Number:


This directive is being issued by a provincial safety manager pursuant to section 30 of the Safety Standards Act.


This directive details Technical Safety BC gas and pressure vessel safety requirements for temporary operation of flame and combustion special effect equipment used in the production of trade shows, exhibits, displays, festivals, conventions, stage, theatre, carnivals, travelling shows, movie, television locations, and film, video productions, or similar venues.


The terms in this directive have the same definition as stated in the Safety Standards Act and associated regulations. Definitions for the following terms have been quoted for reference below.

Gas means any natural gas, manufactured gas, liquefied petroleum gas, digester gas, landfill gas, biogas, or a mixture or dilution of any of them; and/or hydrogen.

Gas equipment means anything used or designed to be used in connection with gas, including:

  • piping;
  • appliances;
  • fuel containers; and
  • vents.

Regulated work means the assembly, manufacture, construction, installation, operation, testing, maintenance, or repair of a regulated product, and the alteration of a regulated product.


The use of gas special effects (SPFX) involves regulated gas equipment and regulated work as defined under the Safety Standards Act and Gas Safety Regulation. Gas Safety Regulation 31(1)(a) requires that a person must not install or use a regulated gas product unless it has a certification mark, or an approval issued under section 10 of the Safety Standards Act.

1. Regulated gas equipment criteria

(1) For all regulated gas equipment, a design registration application is required. Each SPFX model design registration application must include the specific information listed under Appendix A. Gas design registration applications must be submitted through Technical Safety BC’s design registration portal. A design registration letter will be generated once the design has been accepted and registered. Relevant assessments by Safety Officers will be completed as necessary.

(2) For small or medium gas flame effect models, as per Appendix A:

a. To obtain approval for day-to-day use of regulated gas equipment, a Technical Safety BC certified special effects technician supervisor must submit a gas design registration application for each type of industry standard portable gas flame effect model(s) used. 

b. Sites will be assessed by a Safety Officer to ensure compliance to applicable codes and standards as well as the registered design. A notice of approval for the purpose of SSA section 10 will be issued by a Provincial Safety Manager approving use of each approved model, and this approval must accompany the regulated gas equipment whenever in operation.

(3) For effects outside the scope of small or medium models:

a. A licensed gas contractor with a Class A Gas fitter credential is to submit specific design registration applications for each separate site where the SPFX production will take place. Additional gas installation permit requirements may apply. 

b. Requests for Gas Safety Officer site assessments must be made through: at least two business days prior to when the effect is scheduled for operation.

(4) Accumulator tanks (SPFX cannons) operating above 103 kPa are considered a regulated pressure vessel, requires design registration, and must be constructed by either an ASME certificate of authorization holder or local MA shop license holder. Accumulators must be designed, purpose built pressure vessels, and registered in accordance with Regulatory Requirements for Registration of Pressure Vessels. Designs for Pressure Vessel Equipment can be registered through the design registration website and follow the Pressure Vessel Design Registration Checklist. Once a design has been registered, the accumulator owner must arrange for assessment by a boiler pressure vessel Safety Officer and obtain a pressure vessel operating permit prior to use. 

2. Regulated work criteria

(1) Owners of registered small or medium gas flame effect models detailed under s.1 (2) of this Directive can apply for a Special Type Gas Operating Permit (SPT8). Registered SPFX model approval notices must be provided at time of application for attachment to the operating permit for future reference. Issuance of the operating permit allows for use of the listed gas equipment and regulated work to be undertaken by persons authorized under the SSA and associated regulations. Once issued, operating permit holders will receive annual notifications for renewal. 

(2) A special effects coordinator or supervising first assistant, that successfully completes a training program recognized by a provincial safety manager can apply to obtain a Special Purpose Certificate of Qualification (SPCQ). An SPCQ holder can perform specific regulated gas work under the permission of an operating permit in accordance with s.2 (1) of this directive.  

3. Other agencies

(1) WorkSafe BC, Municipalities, local fire departments, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, and other Ministries of both federal and provincial governments may have approval/permit requirements for events involving special effects.

(2) Technical Safety BC approvals or permits do not constitute approval by any other regulatory body or agency. 

(3) Gas equipment approvals or authorizations from extra-provincial agencies are not recognized in BC.

Vicky Kang
Provincial Safety Manager, Energy

Safety Standards Act
Gas Safety Regulation

View Appendix A

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