Time for TR19 compliance as the hospitality sector reopens its doors

With Plan B lifting, Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and people hopefully looking to socialise more after a quieter January, the hospitality sector is looking ahead to what may prove to be a busy period.

Many business owners will now be focusing on making sure their premises are clean, hygienic and fully equipped, ready to welcome back customers safely. As part of this preparation, it is vital that all areas of hospitality venues - including kitchens and those ‘back of house’ areas that are high-risk areas for fires, such as ductwork and extraction systems, are cleaned properly and regularly to remove accumulations of fats, grease, oil and dirt.

Statistics from the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service website highlight that almost one in five businesses suffer some sort of disruption, including fires, every year. Following such an incident, 25% of businesses never reopen, while 80% that do not recover within a month are likely to go out of business.

In most cases, commercial kitchens in restaurants, pubs and cafes feature ducts, kitchen extract and air handling facilities - systems that could enable a fire to quickly spread if one does break out. So it is crucial that establishments ensure all ductwork and extraction systems are cleaned to TR19 compliant standards in order to reduce risks.

What is TR19?

TR19 is a set of best practice guidelines created by BESA (Building Engineering Services Association), as a way to standardise extract and duct cleaning. Originally introduced in 2005, BESA published a new document in July 2019 with more detailed specifications and criteria that must be met by a service provider in order to provide a kitchen ventilation and duct clean that is TR19 compliant. Ultimately, the goal of these guidelines is to reduce the growing number of commercial kitchen fires, better protecting businesses and staff alike.

Whilst it is not currently a legal requirement, TR19 and its predecessors have been widely accepted within the building services sector and by the UK insurance industry as the essential hygiene standard.

Many insurance policies contain conditions relating to cleaning regimes and kitchen extraction systems. In fact, if a fire occurs that is shown to be associated with inadequate cleaning of ductwork, then it could jeopardise a company’s right to indemnity for loss or damage.

Given this high risk of fire, kitchen extraction systems also warrant 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 be used to help inform this Risk Assessment, ensuring that all systems remain safe at all times.

Reassessing after lockdowns

After a turbulent two years in which lockdowns have forced hospitality businesses to temporarily close, or to adapt by providing takeaway and delivery services to supply demand and maintain income, the volume and type of cooking offered by many hospitality venues has undergone a significant change. Even now as we look to return to ‘business as usual’, some venues will be looking to make these innovations a permanent fixture due to the success of offering new food services.

For many businesses, their operational changes will mean the frequency of ductwork and extraction system cleaning they schedule will need to be adjusted. To help prevent fires and help ensure the safety of their staff and customers, hospitality business owners and managers must make sure that their cleaning activities continue at appropriate frequencies and reassess if the cadence needs to change based on their latest operations.

TR19 cleaning frequency recommendations are made based on the level of use of a commercial kitchen. BESA’s most recently published document contains a predictive accumulation assessment table. This can be used to determine the cleaning frequency of a kitchen extraction system by calculating the daily micron average accumulation, then identifying where the total sits within the ranges provided in the table. This table should be used by service providers within their TR19 compliant post-clean report to ensure customers are aware of and can follow the suggested cleaning frequency.

How Rentokil Specialist Hygiene can help

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 compliant report typically features 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 whole system. In 2019, an update to TR19 also stated that, if a duct system cannot be fully cleaned, the certification will only say that it has received a partial clean.

To maintain TR19 compliance and make sure that premises are as safe as possible for the influx of customers, we recommend liaising with a certified cleaning specialist, such as professionals from Rentokil Specialist Hygiene. We offer a TR19-compliant kitchen ventilation deep cleaning and inspection service; including a full compliance report from BESA-accredited and trained grease hygiene technicians. As a BESA member, we are also constantly kept up-to-date with any changes to the criteria, ensuring that we can fully support hospitality businesses within a changing compliance market.

We have also invested in remote brushing equipment which uses a hydraulic motor brush attached to a hose that rotates throughout the duct system, quickly and effectively removing grease with safe access to the duct for a comprehensive, full clean.

Looking ahead

Whilst the past few years have been an incredibly difficult time for the hospitality sector, it is important for business owners to remain vigilant with their hygiene standards, in order to bounce back from the pandemic. As Coronavirus infection rates decrease and people feel increasingly more confident visiting restaurants, cafes and bars, it is now more important than ever to ensure that kitchen hygiene is up to scratch, particularly in an ongoing effort to minimise further disruptions to businesses within the sector.

If you require help in meeting the TR19 guidelines, call in the professionals from Rentokil Specialist Hygiene for effective and safe kitchen ventilation cleaning.