Canopy protection systems should be considered in all of the following environments as part of the overall fire safety program.
Hotels, Schools state and private, Care Homes, Pubs, larger Sports Centres, larger manufacturing plants with an in house catering provision for staff should all be assessed correctly to look at both the life safety and consequential loss issues for having canopy protection.
Whilst the building regulations are a little vague as to the use of a canopy packages and most risk assessors don’t request it as they defer to the BCO, the use of canopy protection must be given far more serious consideration for a variety of reasons.
From a life safety position, a canopy package for a commercial kitchen that carries as a typical layout x 2 chip fryers with 25L of fat, plus a 6 burner grill and griddle and salamander grill, an automated suppression system is far more appropriate than expecting staff to try and tackle a chip fire with a wet chemical extinguisher.
What do you do when the extinguisher is empty? and what do you do if, after the extinguisher has been exhausted there is an issue of reflash.
From the position of the clients insurance provider, they will not want staff trying to put out anything more than a small bin fire due to the potential for an employers liability claim being made in the event that a member of staff tries to put out a fire and ends up with injuries.
Furthermore looking at things from the insurance providers position they will also look at the potential for a large and costly consequential loss claim for kitchen damage that prevents the kitchen being used for what might be several weeks following a relatively small fire.
For the client to consider the potential costs of hiring in a portable kitchen or trying to bring in food from an outside source will run into many thousands even for only a few weeks.
There is a clear life safety issue within a commercial kitchen environment for the use of automated suppression and that FRA’s do not make references to its application are really not giving the client the very best guidance.
Best practice and diligent design would have a canopy package included within whatever the L or P system was being installed with interface links for its connection to the main “house” system, not to do so is both weak in terms of the assessment and taking a to narrow view of the issues specific to the site in terms of both potential staff injury’s and a very large insurance claim in the event that the kitchen is written off before the brigade arrive and can deal with it.
Within the kitchen areas there are 2 other issues which will also need to be addressed
1. Enhanced escape lighting in what the assessment should deem a hazardous area
2. VAD units for the fire alarm under EN54 Part 23 with a validated DB test to assess the ambient noise
Cost effective and tax friendly funding is available to cover these types of projects
(subject to the usual acceptance) so please feel free to contact me be you a contractor or end user to discuss in confidence where and how Veritas can help you.