Ductwork risk guide updated

Catering equipment distributors can utilise the latest issue of the Building & Engineering Services Association’s (B&ES) ‘TR/19 Guide to Good Practice – Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems’ to make end-users aware of the fire risks of poorly maintained kitchen extraction ductwork.

Many insurers now advise that, unless ventilation systems are cleaned to the standards set in TR/19, claims in the event of commercial kitchen fires may not be successful.

The updated version incorporates reference to the new British and European Standard BSEN 15780 ‘Ventilation for Buildings – Ductwork – Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems’ introduced in 2011 and, for the first time, highlights the current best practice for ensuring that kitchen extract systems are maintained to minimise the risk of fire associated with grease accumulation. TR/19 offers guidance on the fitting of efficient filtration systems such as the new generation of high-capacity filters that are capable of removing up to 94.6% of grease deposits.

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Bob Towse head of technical and safety at B&ES, commented: “The updated TR/19 publication provides clarity about when and to what standard grease extract systems should be cleaned and provides a detailed explanation of the frequency of cleaning required based on the type of cooking and the hours of kitchen use.

“If there is a coating of grease inside the ductwork it will act as a highly efficient transmitter of heat and flames through the rest of the building; all it needs is an ignition source – and kitchens have plenty of those.

“A fire will often start inside the ductwork simply because the temperature becomes high enough to ignite the accumulated grease, and 90% of catering fires are intensified by ignition of grease deposits in grease extract ducting.

“As a result, many insurance providers will include caveats in their policies that can lead to claims being rejected on the grounds that the building operator has failed to maintain the ventilation system effectively – or cannot prove that they have maintenance strategies in place.”

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