Commercial kitchen design is so much more than simply choosing an oven or picking the colour of your flooring. It is the backbone of many businesses – especially those in the hospitality and leisure industries. Having a well designed and laid out kitchen can be the difference between driving the customers in or out of your door. At Aspen Services, we have over 100 years of combined experience helping businesses to design professional kitchens that work and prioritise safety at all costs. There are a host of regulations and legislations that need to be considered during this process. These protect your business, your employees and your customers. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about commercial kitchen regulations in the UK.
What Are The Main Things To Consider?
Your kitchen needs to provide a safe environment for employees to work as well as being suitable for safe food preparation too. Many of these regulations will fall under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which covers all working settings here in the UK. However, others will be specific to this sector and should be fully understood before your commercial kitchen begins working.
Businesses that produce food for public consumption are under strict regulations to ensure it is safe to eat. The Food Safety Act of 1990 sets out the framework in which all businesses that produce and supply food need to follow. It requires that your business:
- Does not contain, remove or treat food in a manner that means it would be dangerous for human consumption.
- Provide food that is of the quality that your customers expect.
- Ensure that all food is labelled, advertised and presented in a way that is not misleading and covers all aspects of HACCP and allergen awareness.
To ensure all of the above and keep food hygiene at the top of your priority list, you must also look at:
- Personal Hygiene – Everyone who prepares food must maintain good hand washing hygiene. They should also avoid wearing jewellery where bacteria can breed.
- Safe Food Storage – All food must be stored correctly, both before and after preparation.
- Safe Food Preparation – To avoid cross-contamination, different coloured chopping boards should be used for meats, fish, poultry, eggs and vegetables.
- Refrigeration – Foods that require refrigerating should be kept at optimal temperatures at all times.
- Cleaning – There should be a consistent and reliable cleaning procedure set in place to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination and keep everyone safe.
- Appliance Maintenance – Your equipment must be kept up-to-date and fully serviced to ensure you can achieve all of the above.
Kitchen’s produce a lot of waste – both food and general. For safety reasons, this waste must be removed from areas where food is present and disposed of accordingly. This may mean implementing a number of waste containers around and ensuring the storage facilities you have are locked away to present pests. In 2023, the UK government is looking to introduce mandatory separate food waste collections to reduce overall waste. This will raise a number of additional considerations for businesses – namely the need to find ways to store and dispose of different wastes accordingly.
To date, you need to do things such as ensuring waste is disposed of in a hygienic manner. It must not be a source of contamination – for example, you must not come into contact with waste during food preparation or run the risk of attracting pests. And, fats, oils and grease need to be disposed of separately in line with recommendations from your local authority.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992 set out legal requirements for all employers to provide adequate ventilation in every enclosed workplace. This applies directly to kitchens where excessive heat, moisture and hot liquids could pose a safety risk. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recommends that commercial kitchens be fitted with a form of mechanical extraction to do this. Building regulations also cover this fact with all professional kitchens requiring an extractor system for all kitchens built after April 2006.
The UK’s Gas Safety Regulations state that all food businesses operating a commercial kitchen must have a gas safety interlock system installed. These systems monitor the operation of fans in the extraction system and adjust them as needed. All systems must be installed and paired with a CP42 certification (Commercial Gas Safety Inspection) and need to be serviced annually by a Gas Safe Engineer to ensure continued compliance. This is also a requirement of British Standard BS6173.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, all commercial kitchens must have a fire safety procedure in place. This states that each commercial premises must have an appointed responsible person who will:
- Carry out regular fire safety risk assessments.
- Implement and maintain a means of escape, such as a fire escape route and fire doors.
- Provide and maintain firefighting and fire detection equipment.
- Set out a fire safety evacuation procedure and distribute this information throughout the business.
Commercial kitchens post a host of fire safety hazards that need to be considered – especially from the vast array of equipment and machinery that is required. Poorly maintained ovens, refrigerators and extraction systems can all pose a risk of fire. Therefore, it is equally as important that equipment maintenance be taken into account as well.
How Can Aspen Services Help?
For many of the points we’ve mentioned above, your business will need to implement structures and procedures. However, many others can be achieved through good commercial kitchen design. Working with the right team, you’ll be able to design a space that provides ample surface area for safe food preparation. One that has built-in waste disposal solutions that link up with your local authority’s requirements. And, one that takes into account important aspects such as ventilation, gas safety and functionality for your employees. The right kitchen won’t just help you prepare delicious foods. It will ensure your business can thrive in its chosen niche, creating a safe and practical space for every employee and guest.