Professional fire safety providers will soon have authority to issue clients with NSI/BAFE Certificates of compliance – much like an ‘MOT’ – to demonstrate that commercial kitchen fire protection systems are fit for purpose.
The move will give foodservice operators added assurance that their commercial kitchens are sufficiently protected in the event of an incident.
Approved installers will be required to demonstrate competency in the design, installation, commissioning, recharging and maintenance of their systems in regular audits. They must also be authorised by equipment manufacturers.
Data from the fire and insurance industries show that food and drink-related fires are statistically the third most likely cause of large fires, with restaurant and café fires specifically accounting for 42% of fires within this sector.
Insurers are particularly concerned about fire in commercial kitchens as the risk to life can be significant and consequential losses substantial.
The new Kitchen Fire Protection Systems Scheme – which has taken industry registration body BAFE two years to develop – will provide end-users responsible for kitchen fire safety with a high level of guarantee in the ongoing effectiveness of fire protection systems.
Certificates of Compliance will be issued at the time of system maintenance as well as at initial installation by installers approved by certification body National Security Inspectorate (NSI).
Certificates will be a valuable piece of documentation available to insurers and authorities as evidence of systems’ compliance and users’ obligations under national fire safety legislation.
The first NSI approvals for the scheme are expected in the first quarter of 2019.
Richard Jenkins, chief executive of NSI, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer professional installers of kitchen fire protection systems independent verification of competency. NSI Approved Installers will now be authorised to issue clients with Certificates of Compliance much like an ‘MOT’ to show installations are fit for purpose on an ongoing basis and are evidenced to be maintaining standards through regular independent audit.”
Mr Jenkins believes the initiative has the “undoubted ability” to significantly reduce risk and raise standards of fire safety in commercial catering.
Stephen Adams, chief executive of BAFE, said: “Third party certification for kitchen fire suppression/extinguishing works is long overdue and we welcome independent assessment of competency for this skilled service by NSI. [The Kitchen Fire Protection Systems Scheme] has taken almost two years to develop, working diligently to ensure it sets a high level of quality and competency for installers.”