Duct cleaning specialist Swiftclean has contributed to a newly published specification from the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), which outlines specific requirements on the Fire Risk Management of Grease Accumulation Within Kitchen Extract Systems.
This has been issued by BESA and is essentially a complete revision of section 7 from the previous TR19 second edition, a guide to good practice, on the hygiene and maintenance of ventilation systems. Swiftclean MD Gary Nicholls, served as a member of BESA’s TR19 Grease Experts Panel, which was instrumental, alongside other industry stakeholders, in drafting the new specification.
To certify cleaning to this new specification there is a chargeable registration requirement for post system cleans in order to receive BESCA (Building Engineering Services Competence Assessment) certification of TR19 Grease compliance via its Ventilation Hygiene Elite (VHE) Scheme, of which Swiftclean is a founder member.
Nicholls said: “The minimal additional charge will help to create a robust record of essential fire safety cleaning carried out, and subsequent compliance auditing, through BESCA and the VHE. This is an excellent new safeguard for our customers, particularly for responsible persons, as it will give them an even clearer audit trail with which to demonstrate to insurers or, in the event of a fire to investigating authorities, that they have done all that they can to comply with their legal obligations.
“It is our hope that this will also help to raise awareness of the critical need for compliance and raise the bar of quality in our industry. Unfortunately, the lack of compliance in the past by contractors in our sector has resulted in the frequent occurrence of commercial kitchen extract duct fires, and also in commercial caterers finding themselves uninsured, or at risk of being found non-compliant with fire safety risk mitigation legislation.
“Even though this new certification scheme will add a very small cost for our customers, we welcome this initiative with enthusiasm. A few extra pounds per clean is really a very small price to pay for peace of mind and business continuity.”
As a member of BESA’s steering committee for TR19 since its earliest years, Nicholls has been a key influencer on the drafting of TR19 Grease specification, as well as its predecessors TR/19 and TR/17, from its first inception.
Featured in the new specification for the Fire Risk Management of Grease Accumulation Within Kitchen Extract Systems is the wet film test method for grease accumulation in extract ductwork, a method which was pioneered by Nicholls and used routinely by Swiftclean for many years.
Also highlighted is the need for sufficient access to clean the entire system effectively to TR19 Grease requirements, with advice that this should be considered at the design stage. Swiftclean is an advocate for designing and installing systems with ongoing TR19 compliance in mind.
An appropriate level of training and competence also features as a requirement of the new specification, and for the past 24 months, BESA accredited training schools have been developing the skills of hundreds of grease hygiene technicians in readiness for this new specification.
Nicholls said: “We have been keen to see kitchen extract ductwork have its own specification for some time, due to the very real fire hazard which non-compliance with TR19 has caused.
“We see the consequences of non-compliance on a frequent basis, even in instances where our customers have had previous cleaning contractors who they believed, misguidedly, were providing TR19 compliance. Some of this is due to poor standards of cleaning and/or lack of training, but some is due to the inaccessibility of sections of a system.
“We can rectify many of these problems by retrofitting additional access points, but there are also too many existing systems in which lack of accessibility will remain an ongoing barrier to full compliance. We would like to see this problem eliminated in future, as our colleagues design systems with ongoing compliance as a key objective from the outset.
“Requiring a registration through VHE will ensure that more specialist cleaning providers join this excellent scheme, and we hope that this new step will encourage an increase in the standards of compliance across our entire industry.