Cooking Area section added to Commercial Standards of Practice.

Only commercial HVAC technicians and exhaust cleaning companies are allowed anywhere near restaurant vent systems.

Erol writes:

Wrong. No such law.

No problem. I was only the warranty manager for a commercial cooking equipment service company for 7 years…

Never said it was a law. The exhaust ventilation of a kitchen is their life blood. Only trained, qualified personnel are allowed on a cook’s line.

Allowed by whom? What does that have to do with inspections?

You tell me. You started the thread.

It is part of our Commercial Standards of Practice 6.5.12.

And no… no one can prohibit a buyer of commercial property from hiring an inspector, and certainly the cook can’t.

Hey Nick,

The science of commercial kitchen ventilation includes both exhausting air as well as providing replacement air within the cooking area. Whether a restaurant is a small free-standing site or a large institutional kitchen, managing and balancing airflow is a complex issue. It is a challenge to properly ventilate commercial kitchens, as they require moving large volumes of air through ductwork and equipment placement in very restricted spaces.

Overall design, construction, installation coordination, and maintenance are required to get optimum performance and an energy-efficient air balance from the system.

SMACNA, through its technical manuals, provides the information and drawings to illustrate the elements of construction and installation of commercial kitchen exhaust hoods. The information is intended to encourage standardization in installations and to call attention to the appropriate segregation of responsibilities of those involved with food service design and installation.

Ducts accumulate combustible grease and should be constructed from 16- steel or 18-gage stainless steel as per code requirements.
In order for the exhaust system to work properly, make-up air is required to replace air equal to the amount removed. Make-up air can be provided via an independent system or in combination with the building’s HVAC system.

Inspection of Exhaust Systems
In accordance with Section 11.3 of the Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations (NFPA Standard 96):

When to Inspect? Who to Inspect?
“The entire exhaust system shall be inspected by a properly trained, qualified, and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Table 11.3.”

Table 11.3
Exhaust System Inspection Schedule

Type or Volume of Cooking Frequency
FrequencySystems serving solid fuel cooking operationsMonthly Systems serving high-volume cooking operations

  • such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cookingQuarterly Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operationsSemiannuallySystems serving low-volume cooking operations
  • such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centersAnnually

Did we forget the Ansul system instead of portable?

And here is a link to a typical checklist that might be useful.

Hope this helps some.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

There is no way our average client is willing to pay us to perform a full NFPA 96 hood inspection. Besides, most of that would require operating and testing the hood and exhaust, something we can’t do during a visual commercial property inspection.

Nick, I am not saying that one has to do a full NFPA 96 inspection, I have just provided the information that can be added to supplement a visual that only consist of " appears grease is coming out of duct, fire extinguisher on wall, filters look or appear dirty, etc.

Was the hood mounted at standard height?
Is the exhaust duct made of steel or stainless?
How does one verify the gauge?
Was there a damper installed, that would be eligle?
Fire suppression systems are mandated in a lot of Jurisdictions.
Was one installed, and what was the date of the last inspection?

See, these are mostly all visuals also.

I would hate to report that the kitchen exhaust system is OK, and find out that the system failed in the following week.

That is a lot of responsibility to take.
If your type of visual is done, I would report it as such, that it was indeed a visual and in no way construes a fully inspected system.


Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Was the hood mounted at standard height? Code and 6.5.13.II.B and 3.1.
Is the exhaust duct made of steel or stainless? 6.5.13.I.D., so yes we check that.
How does one verify the gauge? 6.5.13.II.F.
Was there a damper installed, that would be eligle? Not required always.
Fire suppression systems are mandated in a lot of Jurisdictions. Not all jursdictions and not all appliances, hence 6.5.12.II.G. A fire extinguisher is in nearly all jurisdictions though, hence 6.5.13.I.K., so yes we check that.
Was one installed, and what was the date of the last inspection? 6.5.12.II.E., although you could request this from the owner in 5.3.1 as part of your request for documents.

I work on hood systems. Some of the inspectors (not NFPA 96 hood inspectors) take Schlieren photographs as an easy visual way determine if the exhaust and makeup air are working as intended. I put this in the same “value added” category as those who use IR cams for their home inspections.
3.1… a good one.
4.1… another good one.
4.3… another really good one.

Nick, I am not trying to burst your bubble here, but trying to help new inspectors that venture into this and not realize that they need to jump for one section of the SOP to the next to make sure they have done what they are suppose to.
Applying other different sections of the SOP to 6.5.12 is confusing for some and leads to ommissions and errors.
Whatever pertains to Cooking Areas including safety should be in this division of the SOP.

In my opinion, Commercial Kitchens Inspections would fall under an ancillary part of the inspection. There are to many variables due it relates to and falls under the Health Departments of the State and that applies everywhere.

Did the inspector forget to mention that this is a public restaurant and the kitchen is not equiped with a hand sink, or is ther only a three tub sink?

If the kitchen is used for preparing foods a prep sink is needed besides the three tub sink, and what is the purpose of the three tub sink?

These are all aspects of Commercial Inspections also.

I am only trying to help as many as I can that is all.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

I hear ya, but we can’t intertwine cooking area with life-safety completely, although I agree, much of cooking area has to do with life safety. One isn’t a subset of the other… instead they largely overlap: Much of life-safety has nothing to do with the cooking area, and some of the cooking area has nothing to do with life-safety… hence 6.5.12.

As for the sink issue, it is covered as something we don’t get into as commercial inspectors in 6.5.13.II.K and 6.5.13.II.L as that would regard food safety and cooking procedures.

And cooking area can’t be an add-on for this reason: Although I agree, most commercial properties do not include a cooking area… most real estate transfers of commercial properties do, and most of these are of the type that we inspect. In other words factories don’t change hands as often as pizza shops.

I’ll tell you a secret (well, I kind of revealed it a week ago in the State Legislation forum). The life-safety and cooking area sections have been developed with the help of the insurance industry ( )… you can probably predict where I’m going with this… On the insurance side, E&O discounts for inspectors who use, and on the insurance inspection side, insurance inspection work for InterNACHI members who use, and on the legal side, Ferry and Cohen working on providing legal arguments that make the use of anything less than the commercial inspection industry’s best practice negligence on behalf of the inspector and anyone who recommended him/her, and on the Trademark side, and on the marketing side… well… in the words of Quint in Jaws: “Y’all know me, know how I earn a livin’.” and that’s just the beginning.

Anyway, InterNACHI is taking over the commercial inspection portion of the industry for our members. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycocks. This shark, swallow you whole. No shakin’, no tenderizin’, down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll put all your businesses on a payin’ basis. But it’s not gonna be pleasant. InterNACHI wants the head, the tail, the whole damn thing. :wink:

Jaws 1 is my favorite movie.

I agree, Jaws II was not as good. :wink:

Good Morning Nick.

I guess, I always go a little more than visual. ha. ha.

Thanks for your help.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

I agree that some of this is relevent, but much will not be discovered during a visual. Remember, professional engineering is the application of engineering principles and data. Some of what is suggested borders on this. Other portions could only be discovered using invasive techniques, or as a part of a new construction inspection.

To include much of this as a best practice borders on poor practice, IMO. It places far to much on the post-built inspection, as opposed to what a code inspection entails. A code inspector can ask to see things in phases, or can demand documents or affadavits. We cannot. We are creating undue liability in this instance. These “requirements” in our COMSOP run contrary to the industry norm, IMO. Compare it to the inspection of a heating or air conditioning system. Now, apply the same logic and tasks to it.

The section is too far over the top, IMO. It creates liability for the inspector.

I also agree with Marcel. Most of this falls under the Fire Marshall and Health Department jurisdiction. We should NOT be verifying the bulk of this, IMO.

Hi to all,

Joe, I have to agree with you here:

Much of the NACHI commercial SOP scares me, and I for one could not use it in the real world of commercial inspections.