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Kitchen Extract Cleaning

A fresh look at ventilation maintenance

By | Ductwork Cleaning, Fire Dampers, Kitchen Extract Cleaning, News, Swiftclean | No Comments

Air quality within social housing is an increasingly important issue; fire safety even more so.  Adequately cleaning and maintaining the ventilation system in multiple occupancy buildings is essential for legal compliance, and for ensuring the health and safety of the property, as Gary Nicholls, Managing Director of Swiftclean Building Services, explains.


Multiple occupancy poses a potential for fire to spread from home to home, yet although multiple occupancy housing has been with us for well over a century, it is only for just over a decade that we have had fire legislation for this type of housing, thanks to the passing of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which came into force in October 2006.


Within multiple occupancy buildings, much care has been given to ensuring that each dwelling is effectively a separate compartment, so that the risk of fire spreading from one to another is greatly reduced.  Sharing ventilation and extract ductwork for kitchens and bathrooms, however, means that a potential route for fire is re-introduced, leading from one apartment to another, or from the apartment to the building’s communal areas.  Communal ductwork represents a potential weakness in terms of the spread of fire and also a possible cause of widespread poor air quality.


In order to restore some of this compartmentation when needed, fire dampers can be installed in the ductwork at the point where ductwork passes through a fire resistance-rated wall.  These are essentially a set of steel louvres which remain open to allow free air flow under normal conditions, but which are triggered by sensors to close automatically in the event of fire.  The closed louvres form a barrier to the spread of flames and hot gases, this barrier helps to delay the spread of fire from its point of origin to other parts of the property.


Where fire dampers are fitted, they must be tested and cleaned on an annual basis in accordance with British Standard BS:9999 2017, using a method called drop testing, which confirms that the louvres close effectively.  It used to be the case that the frequency of testing depended on the construction of the fire damper, but the 2017 revision to BS:9999 made it mandatory for annual drop testing, cleaning and any necessary repairs for every type of fire damper.


Kitchen extract fire safety cleaning should also be a priority. It is an inevitable result of everyday cooking, that deposits of fat, oil and grease build up as a thin film of grease throughout the kitchen extract ductwork.  These deposits represent a very real fire risk and must be removed on a regular basis.  The frequency of cleaning is laid out in tables within TR/19, which is the leading guidance document for ventilation ductwork cleaning, issued by BESA (Building & Engineering Services Association.)  This also requires ductwork to be classified as high, medium or low.  Multiple occupancy shared kitchen extracts will carry a high classification, requiring regular thorough cleaning in accordance with TR/19.


In some multiple occupancy buildings, the ground floor is given to retail units; often fast food outlets.  In these units, kitchen extract fire safety cleaning must be completed regularly in compliance with TR/19, in order to reduce the risk of the spread of fire to the floors above.


In refurbishments, especially kitchen and bathroom replacement programmes, consideration should be given to updating the ventilation systems as well as the units and sanitary ware.  It should be remembered that a clogged or greasy extract fan will also consume more electricity to run than a clean one, so this should be included in energy saving plans.  Where a common warm air system serves the entire building, it should be replaced, where possible, by individual self-contained heating systems, so that common areas and dwellings do not share the same system.  Alternatively we can replace the original grills with fire rated valves which help to contain the spread of fire.


Bathroom ventilation systems often draw in dust, fibres and dirt particles which begin to clog the system.  This can make it less effective, allowing less air to circulate and causing unpleasant odours to circulate. Regular cleaning to TR/19 guidance is important to ensure a good indoor air quality.


Planned preventative maintenance is vital in multiple occupancy buildings.  Gaining access to dwellings in order to carry out this cleaning may be difficult, but should be a priority; it will be essential to communicate the importance of this regular maintenance to occupants so that access for cleaning is granted.  In every communal ventilation system regular cleaning, regular testing and cleaning is not only a legal requirement, but also a vital safeguard for residents and visitors.

Summer dining may mean more kitchen extract fires, warns Swiftclean

By | Kitchen Extract Cleaning, News | No Comments

Two kitchen extract fires in one Saturday in London demonstrate the risks of not regularly cleaning kitchen extract systems in accordance with TR/19, especially in warmer weather, says specialist building services provider, Swiftclean Building Services.  “We see this almost every year,” warns Swiftclean MD Gary Nicholls, commenting on fires on 15th July in Maiden lane, Covent Garden and Connaught Street in Bayswater, in which the extract systems of each restaurant were damaged from basement to first floor.  In both cases, a Fire Brigade statement put the blame on a greasy extract system.  Following the Connaught Street fire, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said, “Restaurant and take-away owners should always take care to make sure their extraction systems are kept clean as a build-up of fat and grease within the filters can lead to a fire.”


Gary Nicholls agrees wholeheartedly. “Summer tourism and al fresco dining can mean that grease deposits accumulate more quickly, and the higher ambient temperature does mean that grease does not need to be heated as much in order to spread fire,” he explains.  “In fine weather, the capacity of a restaurant can be increased with outdoor seating to provide more covers; logically, that means more cooking and more grease deposited in the extraction system.  So, the frequency of TR/19 compliant cleaning may need to be increased in summer in comparison with the colder, quieter months.  Seasonal factors can make a big difference; for instance, increased business from the build up to Christmas and New Year can also mean a greater build-up of grease which needs to be removed more frequently.


“That’s why it is essential to use a professional fire safety kitchen extract cleaning provider, preferably a BESA member, that will help you to analyse your kitchen usage and devise a seasonally responsive, cost-effective, TR/19 compliant cleaning programme that will help you to stay legal and compliant and, most importantly, safer from the risk of fire, all year round.”


Swiftclean is an award-winning company which provides specialist TR/19 compliant cleaning for major multi-location restaurant companies, including outlets at airports and railway stations, as well as smaller restaurant groups and independent restaurants and pubs across the UK.  MD Gary Nicholls is often called as an expert witness in fire insurance legal cases and was also a co-author of the current and earlier versions of BESA’s TR/19 guidance document on ventilation ductwork hygiene, as a member of the TR/19 steering committee.  Swiftclean is a member of BESA (Building Engineering Services Association.)

Is my golf club protected?

By | Fire Dampers, Kitchen Extract Cleaning, News | No Comments

On the course, holes are vital – but in your fire prevention processes, they could be fatal. We’re sure you have all your visible fire prevention measures under control, but what about your less visible fire hazards?

Is your kitchen extract system an unseen fire hazard?

If your clubhouse has a restaurant and a commercial kitchen, it is essential to eliminate the potential fire risk caused by the accumulation of airborne, fat, oil and grease (FOG) on the inner surfaces of the kitchen extraction system. Once this FOG layer exceeds 200 microns (about half the thickness of a business card) it represents a significant fire hazard.  Any fire that takes hold here can spread fire to other parts of the building.

Regular cleaning in compliance with TR/19, the leading industry guidance document on ventilation hygiene, issued by the Building Engineering Services Association, is a vital legal requirement. If you are not TR/19 compliant, your buildings insurance could also be compromised and you could even be at risk of prosecution if you don’t have a regular TR/19 cleaning routine in place.  Our expert Kitchen Extract Fire Safety Cleaning service removes every trace of grease and provides full photographic documentation that demonstrates that your system is TR/19 compliant.

Fire damper testing

If you have a mechanical ventilation system and internal fire-resistant walls, you almost certainly will have a fire damper wherever the ventilation duct intersects a fire wall. This is a set of louvres which are normally open, to allow air circulation, but which, in a fire, can be triggered to close automatically; to delay and prevent the spread of fire through the ductwork to other parts of the building.

All fire dampers must be tested every twelve months, using a method called drop testing. We can provide a cost-effective programme of drop testing, along with cleaning and maintenance to ensure that, should the worst happen, your fire dampers will close as intended, buying valuable time to evacuate everyone to safety.  We’ll also document our work so you can demonstrate your compliance, safeguard your buildings insurance and avoid prosecution for negligence.

Clean air, happy guests

By | Ductwork Cleaning, Kitchen Extract Cleaning, Legionella, News | No Comments

Clean air, happy guests

By providing expert ventilation cleaning, Swiftclean’s services help you to comply and allow you to focus on the many other priorities that draw on your attention, safe in the knowledge that you are safeguarding guests and employees alike and meeting Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

Read more about ventilation cleaning

Kitchen extract ductwork – A hidden fire risk?

The restaurant kitchens at your golf club are central to its success, but they come with a particular hidden risk. Cooking produces airborne fat, oil and grease (FOG), resulting in the formation of grease deposits on the inside of the kitchen extract ductwork which are a serious fire hazard.

Award-winning Swiftclean is one of the UK’s leading specialist Kitchen Extract Fire Safety Cleaning experts, providing full compliance with TR/19, the leading industry document covering ductwork cleaning. Failure to have ductwork professionally cleaned by a specialist, to remove grease deposits, can be perceived as negligence in the eyes of the law, leaving you open to prosecution and uninsured.

Read more about kitchen extract cleaning

Pouring compliance on cold water

Although golf clubs have many members and guests, all will share the same water supply and, therefore, the same water borne risks. Numerous types of bacteria can be present in water, including the potentially fatal Legionella; neglected tanks are extremely high risk areas for the spread of disease. When conditions in water systems are allowed to deteriorate, legionella and other bacteria can proliferate.

Swiftclean offers water tank compliance services to ensure your system is safe and remains compliant with L8, the approved code of practice and guidance for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems. Maintaining compliance requires regular inspection, the correct standard of cleaning, ongoing monitoring and, where necessary, full refurbishment or replacement of sub-standard water tanks. Swiftclean provides expert support in all of these areas.

Read more about legionella and water tank cleaning

Is your school kitchen grease proof?

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Even if you follow the healthiest possible menu, cooking produces airborne fat, oil and grease which result in the formation of grease deposits on the inside of your school’s kitchen extract ductwork. These are an unseen but very real fire hazard. Assessors tell us that if a kitchen fire reaches the extract ductwork, it can be made much worse by grease deposits, which will accelerate the fire and spread it to other parts of the building. Not only can this pose a very real threat to life; having greasy extract ductwork can also compromise your buildings insurance.

Swiftclean is one of the UK’s leading specialist Kitchen Extract Fire Safety Cleaning experts, providing full compliance with TR/19, the leading industry document covering ductwork cleaning. If you don’t have ductwork professionally cleaned by a specialist to remove grease deposits you could be perceived as negligent in the eyes of the law and leave yourself open to prosecution, as well as compromising your buildings insurance policies.

If you know your system needs cleaning, simply call us now on 0800 114 3414. Not sure? Our handy compliance checker will tell you if you need to take action now.

Our other key specialist cleaning services will also help you comply with the law and keep you safe from prosecution:

Fire damper testing

Fire dampers prevent the spread of fire through a building’s ventilation system, so it is a legal requirement that they are regularly tested in accordance with BS 9999:2008. If you don’t know where they are, we can locate and test them for you. Try our compliance checker here, call 0800 114 3414 for help or read more information here.

Ventilation ductwork cleaning

Providing clean air for building users is a legal requirement so we provide ventilation ductwork cleaning in accordance with TR/19, BS EN 15780 and the BSRIA BG49/2013 Air Commissioning Guide.

Call 0800 114 3414 for help on how to achieve compliance and a better air quality that promotes good health, better concentration and learning. Try our handy compliance checkers for ventilation systems and air handling units.

Legionella control and water tank cleaning

Spring and summer school holidays mean warmer, static water – the perfect breeding ground for legionella during shutdown periods. Holidays are also the best time for Swiftclean’s water tank cleaning and legionella control services which comply with L8 guidelines. Not sure if you comply on Legionella control? Check your compliance here or call us on 0800 114 3414.

Local exhaust ventilation cleaning

Another often overlooked area of compliance is the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system in science laboratories. Swiftclean’s LEV cleaning service complies with COSHH regulations and HSE guidance (HSG 258) to protect students, teachers and technicians from airborne contaminants. Check your current status with our LEV compliance checker here or call 0800 114 3414 for a quote.

Be outstanding on compliance

Compliance in these areas may not be an Ofsted requirement, but it should be a top priority for the health and safety of all school users. We can help you to be outstanding with our award-winning services for schools and commercial buildings.

Compliance should also be rewarded, so if you take two of our specialist services, we’ll be happy to teach your team, free of charge, how to maintain strong and healthy compliance.

Call 0800 114 3414 now or visit Swiftclean Support and we’ll help you get a great report on your compliance.

Kitchen extract fire safety cleaning

By | Kitchen Extract Cleaning | No Comments

Your spotless commercial kitchen could be harbouring unseen grease deposits and with them a potential fire risk which could put more than the kitchen staff in jeopardy. While the grease may be hidden, regular removal of it is a legal requirement. With Swiftclean’s kitchen extract fire safety cleaning service, grease does not stay hidden; it’s swiftly eradicated to comply with both the current B&ES guidance and your buildings insurance policy. Not sure if you comply? Try our handy compliance checker.

Fire Safety Extract Cleaning should be top of menu for all restaurants, warns Swiftclean

By | Kitchen Extract Cleaning | No Comments

A fire restricted to the kitchen extract ductwork of Daphne’s, one of London’s most exclusive restaurants, demonstrates the importance of regular Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning, says Gary Nicholls, managing director of Swiftclean, one of the UK’s leading providers of expert ductwork cleaning services.  “Even the finest cuisine generates deposits of fat, oil and grease in the extract ventilation system, and these must be removed on a regular basis,” warns Nicholls.   “Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning is essential in any commercial building with a busy kitchen and really should be top of the maintenance menu to prevent fires like this from happening.”


As kitchen staff were preparing for the lunchtime serving on Tuesday 25th February, a fire broke out in the kitchen’s extract system just before 11am.  Around 20 firefighters were required to tackle the blaze which was confined to the ductwork and which took several hours to bring under control.  Daphne’s, a sister restaurant to The Ivy, is located in Chelsea.  Fire crews used a cherry picker to try to control it, while neighbouring streets in Chelsea and South Kensington were cordoned off.


“Since the fire in this case was restricted to the ductwork, we would anticipate there being some questions to be answered by the Responsible Person for the building about its schedule of Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning,” says Nicholls.  “It is essential to have accurate documentation for this because if you cannot demonstrate that you have done everything you can to comply, you could find yourself facing an investigation or even criminal charges, particularly if the fire creates a lot of damage or there are fatalities.”


The London Fire Brigade stated at the scene that to access the fire was difficult and it that made it take longer to get it under control.   It is because of the difficulty of accessing kitchen extract ductwork that using a specialist is essential, says Swiftclean.  Kitchen extract ductwork needs to be fitted with access points at regular intervals to ensure that grease deposits can be monitored and removed effectively in accordance with Section 7 of TR/19, which is recognised as the leading guidance document for controlling fire risk in kitchen extract systems. If access points are not present, Swiftclean can install them retrospectively to bring the building up to a compliant standard.  Swiftclean Technicians not only carry out expert fire safety extract cleaning, they also provide documentation of the cleaning carried out in compliance with TR/19.


The company has recently launched a new ‘Make Hidden Grease Visible’ campaign in order to raise awareness of the issue of grease deposit build up in unseen areas within ductwork and hopes to see a reduction in the incidence of grease-laden extract ductwork fires as a result.