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Mechanical ventilation and exhaust systems are one of the most important features and must have items in a commercial kitchen. The Australian standard makes it imperative to install such a system according to AS 1668. The primary reason for good ventilation and mechanical exhausts is to ensure that airborne particles cannot contaminate food and fumes, smoke, steam and vapours are removed from the premises. Ventilation includes both providing fresh air and removing of cooking vapours and fumes.
Air-conditioning to provide cool air to staff, in this regard, is not compulsory and unless a fresh air system (make up air) is installed as well, is not very efficient.

Common ventilation problems resulting from poor exhaust systems include mould growth on walls and ceilings especially in bakeries where there is a high number of mould spores in the air. In commercial kitchens, an inefficient exhaust system can lead to grease build up on walls and ceilings and generally make it quite hot and could lead to issues with staff. Natural or mechanical systems can be used to minimise vapours however when using natural ventilation, none or very little cooking is allowed. An example of natural ventilation is an open shop front and a window in the kitchen, or a back door. A business, which is planning to cook foods, especially with gas, must have a mechanical exhaust system and if in doubt, request a site consultation with one of our specialists since an installation of a new system once the shop has opened, will be far more costly and inconvenient.

All parts of a mechanical ventilation system, such as fans, kitchen exhaust hoods and ductwork are ‘fixtures, fittings and equipment’ and must comply with the requirements of the Australian standard AS 1668.2 -2012. Existing systems in premises which have been installed prior to 2012 don’t have to be upgraded, only if the system is inadequate and absolutely doesn’t meet the standard then a health inspector or certifier can void it as inadequate and it must then be upgraded. Evidence of this includes grease on walls and ceilings, and flaking paint on walls and ceilings in dish wash areas which stems from condensation. Sometimes a new fan can make a huge difference or an extension of the canopy will suffice.
In general, if it works, then no upgrade is required!

At PCK we take exhaust systems very seriously and we have a lot of experience with the design and installation of new systems. I always get the same question of what material to use. In general I would always recommend using stainless steel, although it is more expensive. The cheaper option of using galvanised steel is both harder to clean and looks worse so ultimately the decision is yours but as a chef myself, I would always go with the stainless steel option. The ductwork and riser can be galvanised steel, there is no issue with this as it is most often boxed in or inside a ceiling and creates to issues. Wood fired ovens and charcoal systems have a special place in the kitchen and since 2012 the installation of these systems have become more complicated but have also added an extra layer of security and piece of mind in preventing fires. Before 2012 a charcoal or wood fired system could be connected to an existing exhaust ducting but this caused a number of issues and eventually was prohibited. Now these exhausts have to be standalone systems and need their own ducting and riser right to the roof top.

All councils in Australia require Charcoal exhaust hoods and wood fired systems to have a ‘zero emisson’ policy which effectively means all smell, vapour and smoke have to be eliminated by an electrostatic filter (ESP), ozone generators or UV filtration, or any other method or device which is approved in Australia. We work with specialist suppliers who design their own canopies and use specialised filters systems to suit the right purpose. At PCK our goal is to make your business succeed and assisting in choosing the right ventilation solutions is most important!

Contact us now for a free site consultation on 1300 368 911