TR19 compliance is even more important as the hospitality sector reopens

As the hospitality industry prepares to reopen after lockdown, many business owners will be looking to make sure their premises are clean and hygienic, and ready to safely welcome back customers. While cleaning customer-facing areas will be a priority for many, it’s important ‘back of house’ areas are up to standard as well in order to ensure a smooth and incident free return to full capacity. After months of closure with potentially limited cleaning being undertaken, it is recommended that pubs, restaurants and cafes ensure all ductwork and extraction systems are cleaned to TR19 compliance standards to reduce fire risks.

TR19 sets out the guidelines
from the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) introduced to standardise duct, kitchen extract, and air handling cleaning in the UK. Businesses must adhere to the standard to ensure compliance for safety and insurance purposes.

As the Fire Protection Association’s Director of Operations and Principal Consultant Howard Passey points out, “Throughout the pandemic, legislation relating to fire safety has always been in force and it remains the responsibility of the responsible person/ duty holder to ensure that testing and maintenance of fire safety measures are in place to safeguard the premises.”

Explaining TR19

BESA originally introduced the guidelines in 2005 for commercial kitchens. TR19 and its predecessors have been widely accepted within the building services sector and by the UK insurance industry as the standard to which ventilation systems should be cleaned. Due to the high risk of fire, kitchen extraction also warrants very close attention in the Fire Risk Assessment required under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and equivalent national legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. TR19 guidelines should inform this assessment to help ensure that your system remains safe at all times. Additionally, if a fire occurs in a kitchen system and it can be shown to be associated with inadequate cleaning of ductwork, it could jeopardise the right to indemnity for loss or damage under your insurance policy.

The 2019 TR19 update stated that if a duct system cannot be fully cleaned, the certification will only say that it has received a partial clean. In order to ensure a full certification is achieved, Rentokil Specialist Hygiene has invested in remote brushing equipment. This uses a hydraulic motor brush attached to a hose that rotates throughout the duct system. The equipment quickly and effectively removes grease with safe access to the duct for a comprehensive, full clean.

Compliance with TR19 means ensuring adequate access is provided to ductwork, inspection mechanisms, cleaning processes and that post-cleaning verification methods are met. A TR19 compliance report is complex – it includes clear statements that indicate how the system has been cleaned in its entirety, recommendations on cleaning frequency, and even a schematic diagram or as-installed drawing of the system in its entirety.

Increased risk due to lockdown

TR19 cleaning frequency recommendations are made based on the rate of use of kitchens. However, lockdown has forced many hospitality businesses to adapt their operating models to increase takeaway and delivery services, or temporarily close completely, all of which will have changed the volume and type of cooking undertaken in a commercial kitchen. For many businesses, this means the frequency of ductwork and extraction system cleaning will need to be adjusted. To prevent fires and help ensure the safety of customers and staff, owners and operators must ensure cleaning activities continue at appropriate frequencies and resist the temptation to ‘reset’ cleaning procedures at the point of reopening.

What’s more, many systems that have been put into hibernation at the start of lockdown may have an existing build-up of oils, fat and grease, which, due to the break in operations, will have likely missed a scheduled clean.

To ensure TR19 compliance is maintained and premises are as safe as possible for the return of customers, liaison with a certified cleaning specialist, such as professionals from Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, is crucial to ensure systems are safe to restart.  This will also provide the opportunity to adjust cleaning frequency, fire risks are mitigated and legislative responsibilities are met.

Final Thoughts

Although lockdown rightly limited business operations, it’s important for owners and operators to remember that the government has stated that key services and providers of safety functions (including specialist cleaning services) are considered critical workers and remain in operation. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene offers a TR19 compliant kitchen ventilation deep cleaning and inspection service; including a full compliance report from BESA accredited and trained grease hygiene technicians. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene is also a BESA member, meaning we are kept constantly up-to-date with any changes to the criteria. To ensure compliance and mitigate risk, call in the professionals for effective and safe kitchen ventilation cleaning.