kitchen design flexibility for food halls and mixed use properties

How to design kitchen ventilation flexibility into Food Halls and Mixed-Use Retail properties.

Vendor spaces in Food Halls or Mixed-Use Retail properties have significant logistical and infrastructure challenges. Creating spaces for foodservice operations before the vendor(s) have been identified while maintaining a high degree of infrastructure flexibility would be the goal, but often can fall short. Depending on the Food Halls or Mixed-Use property location, a secondary concern is addressing odor abatement, space flexibility, and fire risk that must all be accounted for in the design.

It is important to understand that foodservice operations are effectively production facilities with the associated effluent as a byproduct. In the course of production, heat, effluent, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are produced. These are typically exhausted to the atmosphere and carry condensable grease and odor with them. If residential properties are proximate to these establishments, it creates a condition that lends itself to odor and/or smoke complaints. Fire safety is another issue that should be addressed. Regular maintenance of the system components and ductwork is critical. No two operations have the same discharge footprint. The medium being served, and the equipment it is cooked on, dictates the amount of grease and effluent released during the cooking process.

Assuming the base building infrastructure has been designed to account for multiple vendors or tenants, the exhaust hood system needs to have capabilities to operate in this unique environment. Some of the critical considerations for the exhaust hood systems are as follows;

  • Infrastructure flexibility
    • Allowance for future vendor operations
      • Independent operation of the vendor exhaust
    • Minimizing duct routing and determining exhaust discharge
    • Unoccupied vendor spaces should be able to be added to the system over time without interfering with operating vendors
    • Able to quickly change ventilation settings with changing vendors
    • Remotely manage/view the system on any cell, tablet, or PC.
    • Enforcement of maintenance
  • Vendor Space Configuration
    • Well defined responsibility scope
    • Independent operation capability
    • Established vendor criteria

Generally, the mechanical fit-out of a Food Hall or Mixed-Use Retail space is designed well ahead of the foodservice vendors being identified. This presents some challenges to ensure the greatest flexibility and availability to the greatest number of potential vendors. Potential revenue-producing space mustn’t be used as much as is practical for infrastructure, such as duct routing. This can be accomplished by creating a manifold system that vendor spaces can tie into, but with the correct controls,  the vendor can operate independently. (this would be part of the base building infrastructure plan)

Vendor Hood System

Once it is determined, the rate of grease extraction at the hood level and whether a UV-C system is warranted, then the ventilation design can be completed. It is critically important to maintain system integrity by requiring the vendor package from a single source that ties into the base building system. Budgetary concerns can be alleviated by having the costing for various systems provided to the developer ahead of time. In this way, there is transparency on the overall cost and impact on the system.

The vendor package would include the hood system of a fixed size based on the Food Hall or Mixed-Use property lease criteria. A heat load-based design can be provided to determine the exhaust rate required for the cooking lineup for any particular vendor. This is critical to ensure proper load calculation for any air conditioning requirements. The exhaust rate would then be programmed into the master system to allocate the appropriate exhaust levels for the vendor’s appliance load. In addition, the ventilation provider would have included in their package, the fire system (this ties into the common system) and a remote touch screen with system status for their space. Any tie into the makeup air system would output from the vendor’s controller. 

Putting it all together

At its core, a well-defined scope of responsibility is the key to a successful project. Although it may appear daunting in a fluid, fast-moving project, it can be done. The following is an example of a comprehensive scope that is part of the construction documents and tenant lease documents.

Example of a Vendor Kitchen Exhaust System Scope

The information contained in this article is intended to outline the scope of work required for the successful installation of a Type-1 Kitchen Exhaust System supplied by the designated exhaust hood manufacturer. The detailed list outlines the responsibilities of the Landlord and Vendor relative to project units pre-determined by the Landlord consultant team as requiring an integrated kitchen exhaust system. It is a requirement that in addition to any of the requirements outlined within the Lease Agreement and this article, that all Tenants must follow all applicable local codes having jurisdiction over the project location. This includes, but is not limited to, the applicable Building Code and Fire & Safety Codes as outlined in IMC 2006, NFPA 96, NFPA 17A.

The kitchen exhaust system design should include the following components listed below that form the “System.” Components that make up the System are identified as either the responsibility of the Landlord or the Tenant. This list (Table A) is further supported by a Field Wiring Diagram that identifies specific items requiring coordination between the Landlord and Tenant contractors.

Table A. Vendor Kitchen Exhaust System Scope
Table A – Vendor Kitchen Exhaust System Scope

The sequence in which kitchen hoods are selected, supplied, and commissioned should be as follows:

  1. The manufacturer should participate in an initial ‘Start-up Meeting’ with the Landlord’s Project Management team, which includes all applicable base building consultants, to review the project requirements and establish the design parameters for the System.
  2. Landlord to provide the manufacturer with a copy of the Tenant project drawings including mechanical and electrical drawings for review and comment.
  3. The manufacturer should select and design the appropriate Tenant System based on the project requirements and design parameters agreed with the Landlord during the initial meeting.
  4. The manufacturer should provide equipment pricing to the Landlord for the supply and installation of the system as outlined above in Table A.
  5. Equipment order will proceed following receipt of the authorized Landlord or contractor purchase order.
  6. The manufacturer’s technical equipment drawings will be sent out to the Landlord for review and approval by the Tenant design team and the Landlord consultant team.
  7. The manufacturer’s technical equipment drawings to be returned approved by both parties.
  8. Equipment manufacturing will commence; an approximate lead time of 3-4 weeks should be expected.
  9. The manufacturer will select and contract a Fire Suppression contractor through an internal selection process.
  10. Coordination meeting between the manufacturer and the vendor Contractor to be scheduled. Items discussed and finalized are:
    • Delivery of the kitchen exhaust hood equipment and controls package
    • Scheduling of vendor System installation
    • Coordination with Landlord base building controls contractor for all low voltage wiring.
    • Coordination with Landlord base building electrical contractor for all power wiring
    • Coordination of Fire Suppression components, including installation and schedule vendor system (i.e., Hoods equipment & Controls) delivered to the project site.
  11. Landlord’s general contractor installs exhaust hood(s) and connects the hood collar to the exhaust branch duct provided by the Landlord.
  12. Landlord or vendor electrical contractor supplies electrical power from the vendor electrical panel to the manufacturer’s hood(s) and control panel as outlined on the manufacturer’s drawings and field wiring diagram.
  13. Landlord base building controls contractor supplies and installs all conduits and wiring associated with the manufacturer’s control panel within the vendor’s space at the vendor’s expense.
  14. Landlord base building controls contractor will supply and install all necessary conduits and control wiring from the base building automation system (BAS) to the Vendor control panel at the Vendor’s expense.
  15. Fire Suppression contractor (as a sub of the manufacturer) supplies and installs all necessary components of the kitchen exhaust hood fire suppression system at the vendor’s expense before any vendor cooking equipment arrives on site.
  16. The manufacturer’s technician to verify and confirm that all required power and controls are properly installed.
  17. All power and control wiring required for the manufacturer’s system must be completed no later than two (2) weeks before the scheduled vendor Space opening to allow for the proper commissioning and balancing to be completed and approved.
  18. Fire Suppression system installation will be completed after the vendor cooking equipment arrives on site.
  19. A balloon test will also take place at this stage of the installation. The manufacture will issue a final approval certificate to the Landlord and vendor.
  20. The manufacturer will provide the manufacturer system equipment training to the Landlord.

Tenant Lease Agreement Language for Food Halls and Mixed-Use Retail Properties

Vendor Agreement
Exhaust systems

Minimum Requirements for Kitchen Hoods and associated Exhaust Equipment in tenant spaces

  • The Landlord shall provide a central kitchen exhaust Pollution Control Unit or exhaust fan and kitchen exhaust ductwork to the vendor space downstream of the Pollution Control Unit or exhaust fan. Landlord shall also provide the Pollution Control Unit(s) or exhaust fan and duct capped connection upstream of the PCU or exhaust fan and connect to capped duct connection provided by the Landlord
  • It will be the Landlord’s responsibility to gain approval from the local authority on the Scrubber system (if applicable) and common duct
  • The vendor shall be responsible to provide specifications for the appliances to be served by the exhaust hood for the purpose of calculating and apportioning the flow rates for the vendor’s hood.
  • The kitchen exhaust hood(s) are required to be U.L. 710 Listed exhaust hoods, with a demand control system suitable for control and monitoring by the Landlord’s B.A.S. 
  • Kitchen Exhaust ductwork upstream of the PCU or exhaust fan unit shall be manufactured from 16 ga cold rolled steel and comply with all the requirements of NFPA 96 and be continuously welded or listed prefabricated ductwork.
  • The entire system design and installation shall meet NFPA 96 and other applicable local codes and requirements of the authority having jurisdiction
  • Vendors are responsible for connecting their kitchen exhaust hood fire suppression, fire alarm, and control panels to the Landlord’s central fire alarm system by engaging the services of the Landlord’s base building fire alarm contractor
  • A regular inspection and maintenance service schedule will be required by the Vendor on the U.L. 710 listed exhaust hood(s) and will be administered by the Landlord at the Vendor’s expense.
  • The Landlord will be responsible for the maintenance of the PCU or exhaust system.

With a properly planned design with the appropriate technology in place, you can be assured that all the logistical and adaptability challenges will be addressed. 

Should your application require kitchen design flexibility, the experts that manufacture these types of systems and solutions can guide you on the proper selection and any accessories needed to meet the local requirements.

Read other articles relating to Kitchen Ventilation System Designs

Subscribe to

Stay up to date by subscribing to Halton’s Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Blogs by entering your email address to subscribe and Halton will provide you with the latest information on commercial kitchen exhaust hoods, pollution control units, air handling, and safety systems. You will receive notifications of new posts by email.

Subscribe to blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to and receive notifications or new posts by email.