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Commercial kitchens in businesses or facilities

Many kitchens in businesses or facilities are designed for food warming only, and lack equipment and fire and safety code features for cooking food, such as commercial ventilation hoods to remove grease-laden vapours from the environment. As some of these facilities are used to host community and other public events with a lot of people, food preparation which may include cooking with oil and deep frying has become common in some facilities. This can be very dangerous, causing fire and other unsafe conditions for anyone using these facilities.

We are working to help businesses and groups ensure their kitchens meet the Alberta building and fire codes and are safe for the many people who use them.

In community-operated facilities that are City-owned, we are completing all Calgary Fire Department inspections in 2017. All of these facilities that wish to declare that they are not a commercial kitchen after their Calgary Fire Department inspection must complete a City of Calgary declaration form and ensure that it is on the facility premises.

If you have questions about the process, please contact 311 or:

Alberta Fire Code and Calgary Fire Department inspections: Call Dana Robinson, Fire Inspections Coordinator at 403-268-8724.

Alberta Building Code and upgrading your kitchen: Contact 311 and ask to speak to a safety codes officer in the Technical Assistance Centre, submit an online inquiry, or call Todd Wagstaff, Sr. Safety Codes Officer at 403-371-6446.

April 2017 update

The City has completed further consultation and review of STANDATA FCI-14-02 and determined that cooking in a closed oven will be considered acceptable, as long as the community group has a mandatory cleaning and maintenance schedule. This is a small change intended to make the process easier while still ensuring a safe kitchen.

When is a commercial kitchen required?

A commercial kitchen is required if you are cooking foods or using appliances with the potential to produce smoke or grease-laden vapours.

Examples of appliances and cooking that make a kitchen commercial include:

  • Using a range top for any of the following activities:
    • Cooking or baking eggs
    • Cooking bacon
    • Cooking hashbrowns
    • Cooking raw meat products
    • Cooking donairs
    • Cooking other food products with oil
    • Using a deep fryer
    • Using a pressure fryer with lid
    • Using a range
    • Using a griddle
    • Using open or closed top chain broilers
    • Using charbroilers
    • Using upright/salamander broilers
    • Using gas radiants
    • Using woks
    • Using tilt skillets
    • Using braising pans
    • Using exhaust canopies

You do not have a commercial kitchen if you are performing the following activities:

    • Warming pre-cooked hot dogs and other pre-cooked food or meals, meat products, soups and stews
    • Boiling water for purposes like cooking potatoes, pasta, rice or poached eggs
    • Heating beverages
    • Baking cookies, bread or cakes
    • Cooking paninis
    • Cooking meat from raw inside a closed oven

Using these appliances:

  • Closed oven with a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule
  • Closed pizza oven
  • Baking oven
  • Coffee maker or roaster
  • Hot dog display heater
  • Pastry oven
  • Popcorn maker
  • Roll warmer
  • Steamer
  • Toaster
  • Warming oven
  • One listed self-contained fryer (such as a Perfect Fry)
  • Soup kettle
  • Rice cooker
  • Panini press
  • Range

These activities do not produce smoke or grease laden vapours, but still require a mechanical ventilation system that includes canopies, ductwork and fans to remove odours, steam or heat outside the building. Make up air may also be required. The only exception to this is if you are doing these activities in a closed oven, and have a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your oven. Please note: all ventilation systems require regular cleaning and maintenance specific to the type of system. Regular cleaning will mean a set schedule of cleaning to avoid a buildup of grease in the range hood or oven. The frequency of cleaning will vary, depending on the type of system and the type and frequency of cooking. Maintenance will also vary, depending on the type of system installed.

Each organization is responsible to ensure that no food is cooked in their facility which produces grease-laden vapours. This information should be included in all rental agreements and posted clearly in the kitchen and facility.

What should you consider before upgrading your kitchen?

After a Calgary Fire Department inspection is complete, you may be required to upgrade your kitchen.

You should be aware that depending on the work to be done, a significant investment in time and money may be required to complete this project. Other building components can be affected, such as electrical panels may need to be upgraded, or a roof may not be able to support a make up air unit. This type of work can take between six and 18 months to complete, and can range anywhere from $20,000 to over $200,000 if structural changes are involved. You will require City of Calgary building and trade permits.

Commercial kitchens require ongoing maintenance and professional cleaning. This maintenance must be completed by a licensed technician and can cost approximately $5,000-$10,000 a year. In addition, at all times that the kitchen is being used, at least one person inside the kitchen must be trained on the use of the fire suppression systems. Groups would need to either be present when renters are using the facility, or provide adequate training to renters.

Any group with a commercial kitchen will need to inform their insurance provider that a commercial kitchen is available in the facility. Insurance premiums may increase if the broker considers this to be an extra risk.