Kitchen extract fire safety management
When you take out buildings’ insurance cover, the insurer has a reasonable expectation that you will fulfil all your legal responsibilities in managing your property, including compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
In the case of a commercial kitchen, compliance relies heavily on regular expert testing and cleaning of your extract systems to control levels of the fat, oil and grease, which arises from cooking and collects on the interior surfaces of the ductwork. Should you fail to ensure this regular testing and cleaning of kitchen grease extract systems, you may find that your buildings insurance cover is invalidated, and that you face further scrutiny of other aspects of your legal compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. To avoid this, you must ensure that your extract system is compliant with the industry specification, TR19® Grease.
TR19® Grease: Fire Risk Management of Grease Accumulation within Kitchen Extraction Systems, is a specification issued by the BESA (Building & Engineering Services Association). It was developed from TR19®: Guide to Good Practice Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems, the leading industry guidance document on ventilation hygiene. It provides a framework in which to control fat, oil and grease accumulation to safe levels
TR19® Grease applies to the whole of your kitchen extract system, from the canopy through the extract ductwork to where the system exits the building. Compliance with TR19® Grease should now be high on your list of fire safety measures.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire & Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 are the principal fire regulations in the UK. TR19® Grease compliance is an essential element in meeting your legal responsibilities. Your appointed Responsible Person must ensure that the levels of grease inside every part of the ductwork are controlled within the tolerance levels quoted in TR19® Grease. They must also ensure that each section of ductwork is cleaned at regular intervals, in accordance with the tables laid out in the TR19® Grease specification.
Your insurer will also expect that you comply with TR19® Grease, as it significantly reduces the risk of fire in each kitchen extract system.
Kitchen extract fire safety cleaning and management is a specialist task, so you will need to employ an expert in order to achieve and maintain compliance with TR19® Grease. The specialist contractor that you appoint should have a sound reputation, and a long track record of providing excellent TR19® Grease compliant cleaning.
A wise strategy is to choose a member of the BESA, essentially one who is a member of the BESCA Vent Hygiene Elite Scheme (or VHE scheme). Swiftclean was influential in the formulation of TR/17, which preceded TR/19, and has been closely involved in developing every subsequent edition of the TR/19 guidelines, including TR19® Grease. The company is a founder member of the VHE scheme and provides expert witness services in cases of litigation over alleged non-compliance by contractors and commercial kitchen operators.
Demonstrating that you have complied with TR19® Grease may be just as important as complying, so your expert cleaning contractor should provide you with robust evidence. You should receive a ‘post clean report’ of each individual asset which your provider cleans for you.
This evidence should include before and after photographic evidence of every asset; as well as details of the cleaning methodology; before and after grease measurements; and details of any chemicals used during cleaning. Your documentation should clearly state that your ductwork is compliant, from the date that it was cleaned and must include certification through the BESCA VHE scheme.
Sometimes, after ductwork has been installed, parts of it are made inaccessible by the addition of extra walls, solid ceilings, or stairwells. Some ductwork systems also lack the access platforms which will allow cleaning technicians to work safely at height. It is very important that these problems are highlighted and reported to you. Your provider should provide you with schematic drawings to explain fully where any problems, especially non-compliant sections, are located. They should also provide you with suggestions for rectifying each issue. Quite often, these problems can be rectified by retrofitting some additional access doors. This is often the case in older systems which were designed without compliance with TR19® Grease in mind.
However, there are some problems which cannot be so easily overcome. if this is the case, your provider should explain the problem to you and make you aware of any major work needed. You should give careful consideration to the likely costs of major works as future compliance with TR19® Grease will ensure you meet the legal requirement. The implications of not rectifying such access issues and achieving compliance throughout the system should be explained to you clearly.
You must appoint a ‘Responsible person’. Their role is to ensure that you comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. You should also appoint a competent, professional specialist cleaning provider with proven expertise in the management of kitchen extract system and canopy testing and cleaning – preferably a member of the VHE scheme. You should check that the post clean reports that you are given contain full documentation of the work carried out, including before and after photography, pre-cleaning grease thickness measurements, and meaningful certification and guidance on the frequency of cleaning required to keep fat, oil and grease thickness within safe levels. This will provide a robust audit trail, which you may need in order to demonstrate your compliance, safeguard your insurance and protect you against future prosecution.
To contact Swiftclean, call 0800 243 471, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.swiftclean.co.uk.
A fire damper is a passive fire protection product, comprising a set of steel louvres which can be opened and closed as required. Fire dampers are integrated into the ductwork of heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems to help delay the spread of smoke and fire in the event of a building fire. For most of the time, the louvre blades are held in the open position, allowing air to flow freely through them to facilitate good ventilation, but, in the event of fire, they are designed to close to form a barrier. This delays the spread of fire, securing valuable added time for people to be evacuated to safety.
Most commercial and public premises are protected by fire-resistant doors and walls. However, where ductwork passes through a fire-resistant wall, it creates an opening through which a fire could spread. Without a fully functioning fire damper, fire can pass quickly through the ductwork and reach other parts of the premises, including vital escape routes. Fire dampers are installed at the point at which the ductwork passes through the fire-resistant wall. Once closed, it effectively reseals the compartment or barrier provided by the fire-resistant wall.
Fire dampers can be linked to the building control system so that they close automatically in the event of fire. It is crucial, therefore, to test them regularly to ensure that they will perform as designed to provide this vital fire safety function.
If a fire damper becomes dirty, greasy or damaged in any way, it may not close when it is required to. Fire dampers must be properly maintained to ensure that they are working properly at all times. The failure of a fire damper to close can make the difference between the life and death of a building’s occupants.
Tragically, we have seen the result of fires spreading unchecked, in several high-profile buildings; the subsequent Hackitt Report did much to highlight the importance of planned preventative maintenance in helping to prevent a fire from spreading. Regularly testing of fire dampers is an important aspect of this work.
Regardless of their type or construction, it is a legal requirement to test every fire damper, the British Standard requires testing every twelve months. This annual testing should not be overlooked or compromised and is just as important as the regular testing of fire alarms and inspection of fire extinguishers. It is not acceptable to test a sample of them, or to test every couple of years; every individual fire damper must be tested annually.
There are several reasons why a fire damper might fail the testing process. The most common causes which prevent a tight seal are obstructions or blockages, corrosion, broken springs and dirt and debris. It may also fail because it has been poorly or incorrectly installed, including being installed in the wrong location. If this is the case, we can reinstall it correctly and retest it.
Just one damper failure can allow fire to spread throughout a property, so it is essential that testing is comprehensive and detailed. The damage done by fire and smoke to a property can be disastrous, often causing business failure, as well as posing a huge threat to life.
These crucial safety devices must be checked, tested, and maintained regularly and thoroughly in order to help ensure the safety of both people and properties.
It is not unusual for building managers to be unsure or unaware that their properties have fire dampers. They may have no idea when they were last tested. In the past, fire damper testing was often overlooked, so records are often incomplete. With current legislation however, this is not acceptable.
Swiftclean will be able to locate your fire dampers, create a complete record of every asset, and help you to put a regular testing programme in place, so that you comply with your legal duties. We will help you ensure that all your fire dampers are in top working order, and provide the robust evidence that will provide peace of mind, as well as safeguarding your building and its occupants.
We are happy to give advice and guidance about this important fire safety measure. To find out more about our fire damper services, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.
To get in touch with Swiftclean, please call 0800 243 471, email email@example.com or visit www.swiftclean.co.uk .