Important commercial kitchen ventilation regulations


It is paramount for businesses in hospitality, and other industries that use a kitchen on their premises, to follow the official commercial kitchen extraction regulations, as they are designed to implement a safe and efficient working and customer environment. There are multiple regulations in the UK that are covered in various legislation, and they are all responsible for ensuring certain protocols are followed.

ducting in a commercial kitchen, commercial kitchen ventilation

1. Building Regulations

The Building Regulations Act has been updated and amendments were released in June 2023. Part F of these regulations outline the expected standard and specifics of ventilation systems in commercial kitchens in England and Wales. Including the building regulations for extractor fan outlets.

2. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This legislation is in place to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees whilst at work or participating in work activities. Commercial kitchen extraction fans are vital to maintaining a healthy and safe working environment for all kitchen staff and workers who access the kitchen area. The Health and Safety Executive Guidance Sheet 10 is a useful resource for understanding ventilation requirements.

3. Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

The Gas Safety regulations ensure the safe installation of gas appliances whilst also ensuring commercial kitchen extraction fans are in place to safely prevent the build-up of potentially harmful gases. The BS6173 Code of Practice provides guidance on the design and installation of ventilation used with gas appliances including airflow rates, ducting and fire safety.

4. Fire Safety Order 2005

The Fire Safety Order places the responsibility of fire risk prevention firmly on business owners, and this includes the installation of proper ventilation systems in commercial kitchen areas and their regular cleaning and maintenance to reduce the risk of fire and control their spread.

5. Food Safety Regulations

Maintaining proper ventilation in a commercial kitchen is crucial to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by maintaining appropriate temperatures and minimising the risk of cross-contamination.

6. Environmental Protection Act 1990:

This act covers the protection of air quality and properly installed commercial kitchen extraction fans are pivotal to help reduce the release of pollutants into the environment.

The various Acts and regulations are put in place for the overall protection of all staff and visitors in the working environment housing the commercial kitchen, and it is the responsibility of the business owner they are all followed correctly, and that all ventilation is always working adequately to maintain the health, safety and welfare of everyone. 

What could happen if my ventilation system is not properly installed or maintained?

The repercussions of having an incorrectly installed extraction system or not maintaining properly could literally be a matter of life or death. Inadequate extraction can lead to the build-up of harmful substances, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fumes, dust and other contaminants putting employees and visitors at risk. This could also result in costly legal issues for your business.

  • Fire Hazards
    • Accumulation of flammable materials like grease in commercial kitchen extraction fans can present a significant danger.
  • Toxic Fume Exposure
    • Inadequate or ill-maintained extraction units can accumulate toxic fumes and recirculate these hazardous particles throughout the working environment.
  • Microbial Contaminants
    • Substandard maintenance of a commercial kitchen extraction fan can result in the growth of mould, bacteria and biohazards in the system causing possible contamination of food products and ill-health of nearby employees.
  • Disease Spread
    • Inadequate installation or substandard maintenance can lead to the spread of airborne diseases.

There are also operational implications from poor commercial kitchen extraction fan installation and lack of efficient maintenance, such as reduced productivity due to increased sick days from employees, system downtime as poor maintenance often results in machine failure, and shorter equipment lifespan meaning you will be paying out for a new system a lot sooner than you need to be.

Any equipment that is not installed correctly or ill-maintained will not run at its peak efficiency which will increase your operational costs and may result in emergency callouts for repairs. It is also bad for the planet as it will also have unnecessary increased energy usage and release pollutants into the air. It is also very likely you will find yourself in trouble with environmental health and the local council, leaving you with hefty fines and even the possibility of being closed down. 

What can I do to make sure my business complies?

At Abraxas, we are fully aware of all commercial kitchen extractor fan regulations for the UK and with 25 years of experience in installing and maintaining commercial extraction systems, we are the experts in ensuring your business has a unit that not only works with efficiency but also meets all legal requirements.

Furthermore, we conform to the DW172 specification for kitchen ventilation systems.

DW172 is the specification for kitchen extraction systems, a guide produced by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), aimed to offer advice on how to design, install and maintain commercial kitchen extraction fans and units.

The risks to your business if you have an improper installation or fail to maintain your equipment properly can be detrimental but the most important thing to remember is the risk to life you are causing by going down this route. For peace of mind and a system that protects, get in touch with one of our professional team, who will be more than happy to discuss your needs and help find the ideal solution for you and your business.

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