The heat is on

Chris Auger explains developments that led BAFE to develop its SP206 scheme, designed to promote safety in commercial kitchens

behind the so called ‘casual dining crunch’, yet demand among other culinary providers for retail space is still reportedly healthy. This suggests that the signifi cant increase in the number of operational kitchens over the past few years is likely to continue – a factor that’s already provided cause for concern among insurers, worried about the scale and nature of kitchen fi re incidents at commercial establishments across the UK. Analysts believe that the market remains sizeable and a lucrative target for other ambitious restaurant brands now coming through. So, it seems that demand for premises will remain strong – just one factor prompting BAFE’s involvement in developing a kitchen fi re protection certifi cation scheme to refl ect the growing concern from within the insurance market about the manifest risks related to this long term market development.

M Focused attention

With commercial real estate values – particularly in the South East – typically priced in millions of pounds, the growing prevalence of fi res in kitchens

EDIA COVERAGE of fi nancial problems in 2018 among a number of restaurant chains has focused on the causes

has therefore quickly become an area of focus for insurers and one of the major reasons behind BAFE’s move to develop its SP206 scheme. The value of kitchen fi re losses refl ected in insurance claims has been rising signifi cantly too, but for some establishments, all of this may simply be too late since the impact of a serious kitchen fi re can effectively destroy the business through literal, as well as longer term reputational, damage. It therefore became clear that the market needed a third party certifi cation audit process in which the demonstration of competence by providers of kitchen fi re suppression/extinguishing systems is a key criterion for the benefi t of end users. These end user customers will gain from the SP206 scheme in a variety of other ways, not least by showing their due diligence to protect property. They also obtain an assurance that the contractor they have used has been properly assessed for quality and competence, and that legislatively compliant and appropriate fire protection measures have been introduced for the benefi t of the kitchen’s users, staff, visitors and patrons. So just how important a problem was this to merit the SP206 scheme’s introduction in the fi rst place? Reviewing the Fire Protection Association (FPA)/RISCAuthority and other insurance data that’s available makes it clear that food and drink


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