I'm trying to describe something that has been spontaneously established a while ago (without permission) but has since then became accepted (though not authorized).

This applies to a fireplace / campfire that someone a couple of years ago put in place with some stones and that still exists though is not officially recognized.

Ideally I would like to describe the aspect of spontaneity and unofficial in as short a sentence as possible.

I had some ideas: A spontaneous fireplace (misses that it is not authorized). An unauthorized / unofficial fireplace (misses spontaneity). A tolerated fireplace (still same issue).

  • Is this regarding some violation of housing authority regulations? Or city ordinances? And is the problem that it was unapproved, or spontaneous, or outside regulations, or specifically a fireplace? I'm struggling to understand the message you mean to convey. – Tim Ward Jan 22 '16 at 18:11
  • It was constructed at a beach and campfires are generally forbidden there. The problem therefore is also that it is not authorized. However, until now, nobody took notice or cared enough to remove it. – Stockfisch Jan 22 '16 at 18:14
  • So just call it unauthorized and be done with it. Just because it's been there doesn't mean it's allowed. Just my 2c. – Tim Ward Jan 22 '16 at 18:24
  • You might use 'rogue' in a transferred sense: "occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time" (OED); so, your example wld be "a rogue firering". – JEL Jan 22 '16 at 19:23
  • an "illicit" fireplace ? – Graffito Jan 23 '16 at 0:42

Makeshift is succinct enough to imply both spontaneous and unofficial.


If it's illegal, then it's an illegal fireplace. One of your suggestions - unauthorized fireplace - also works.


A fireplace built in ignorance of the penal code.

An unpremeditated fireplace.

A heedless fireplace.


The OP said:

Ideally I would like to describe the aspect of spontaneity and unofficial in as short a sentence as possible.

How about two short sentences?

Kids camping on the beach built a fireplace illegally. It's been de-facto grandfathered in.

A Grandfather clause, according to the Free Dictionary means

A provision in a statute that exempts an activity or item from new regulations that would otherwise prevent engagement in that activity or use of that item.

de facto means, according to Dictionary.com

actually existing, especially when without lawful authority (distinguished from de jure ).

If your town passed an ordinance forbidding fireplaces or fire-rings on the beach they could, if they chose, "grandfather in" the existing fire-ring that you asked about.

It seems that the fire-ring has been de facto grandfathered in by local custom and acceptance. You will probably upset people if you unilaterally dismantle it, but you probably won't be committing an illegal act. (Best to check, however.)

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