nfpa 96 noncompliant exhaust systems

On The Road With IKECA: Reporting NFPA 96 Noncompliant Exhaust Systems to AHJs

in Fire Prevention by

As a knowledgeable IKECA Member, one of the best ways to strengthen your company’s relationship with local AHJs is to report any NFPA 96 noncompliant exhaust systems you come across. Below is an excerpt from page 12 of the IKECA Journal.

The Client

This client was a restaurant and property owner who had bought the property about 10 years ago. It is a wooden structure building with three floors: a restaurant on the first and rentals, both offices and tenants, on the other floors. The kitchen was an attached single story with rooftop exhaust. His staff only cleaned the hood and filters. He was forced to have his hood professionally cleaned by the local AHJ. During the clean, the hood techs noticed that their magnetic scraper did not attach to the ductwork. Of course, magnets do not stick to wood; in this case, wooden particle board was used for the entire duct run from the hood to the fan. Because the wooden ductwork could not be welded to the top of the hood, an investigation found a few inches of grease on the top of the hood where it leaked out but could not be seen without pulling ceiling tiles in the adjacent room.

Ductwork Made Of Wood
The wooden ductwork

The Action

We viewed this as very serious. Besides noting the violation of duct construction on the after-service report, the technicians also wrote on the hood label, “URGENT – SEE AFTER-SERVICE REPORT.” The next morning, I called and discussed the finding with the AHJ, who agreed to wait and see what actions the customer would take. A few calls to the client resulted in no returned calls. Two weeks later, upon return for reinspection, the AHJ saw the label, which called attention to the report; read the report; and required the customer to immediately upgrade the ductwork.

The Solution

The customer called me later that day and stated that he had no idea the ductwork was made of wood and asked for assistance and referrals to get it fixed. A call back to the AHJ informed him of the customer’s planned actions, and the AHJ was pleased as to how this issue worked itself out. The AHJ forcing the professional inspection and cleaning of the system was the driving force behind discovering the unknown wooden ductwork that was coated with and had absorbed grease for years. Our taking special communication actions to insure the AHJ knew about the problem helped in its being corrected. If that AHJ has to make a recommendation for a KEC company, who do you think he might recommend?

Learn how to talk to your local AHJs about noncompliant kitchen exhaust systems by reading page 12 of the IKECA Journal here.