For new comers that haven’t built a commercial kitchen before the ever oppressing list of associated professionals required can be daunting. One of those is the the Hydraulic Engineer, in layman’s terms the person that plans all the plumbing requirements both for the kitchen and the entire site.
As well as planning all correct plumbing drain requirements they will often also cover correct tap ware specifications (all though we normally cover this also) they will specify other items required also such as RPZ Valves, Sink arrestors , correct floor wastes as per building codes (in association with the kitchen designers requirements), hot water systems , grease traps and any other associated plumbing concerns.
The Hydraulics engineer works closely with the local council/authority to ensure correct plumbing requirements meet with the local town planning guides.
An application for a new ‘Food Service Premise Licence’ has two main components of paper work the Kitchen/bar Plans to Australian Standards provided by your food service consultant AND the Hydraulic Engineers plans.
The Hydraulic engineer(HE) cannot even start his plans until he has received the final kitchen/bar designs, and equipment specifications. We provide the plans in CAD format to the HE they then can draw them design and specification over the top of our plan.
We normally look over the HE plans for the kitchen and bar once completed to ensure all appliances and requirements have been covered.
Why is all this important in the scheme of things?
It’s very because if the hydraulics are not dealt with correctly the environmental damage that can be caused to the community can be massive. A recent example of what happens when it all goes pear shaped is the recent London Fat Berg! The Foodservice & Restaurant industry was heavily blamed for the fat build up because of poor or lack of any grease trap/collection being done in large.
Other things that can trigger the need for a HE and new plans.
This is where a lot of clients get caught out with extra expenses, especially the classic ‘upgrade’. In many situations the establishment has been around for years, decades even, initially it may have been servicing a small market and business, small kitchen, small dishwasher etc. Times pass, business increases often dramatically and the time comes for a much larger kitchen and facilities, this will include often a larger Dishwasher system, Combi Oven/s Fryers, more sinks, different locations etc and of course a lot more customers.
Net result the requirement to upgrade the water/hydraulic waste facilities on site this can be a significant cost to the project, yet it’s unavoidable.
Even smaller players can easily get caught out, simply upgrading your Dishwasher to a larger model, changing the menu that can mean equipment/cooking changes. For example the site changes from a small Cafe doing Coffee/Cake to a Burger Store , the Hydraulic requirements and outputs will vary greatly, for sure there will be the need for a HE to be involved and possibly some major capital investments to the property.
In most cases the local council/authority requires new HE plans anytime there are plumbing changes on site (new Sink, Combi Ovens etc)
Read more of the disgusting mess here, if you dare!
To Drain or Not to Drain?
Actually shouldn’t even be a question on a new build or a refurbishment. The Australian Code CLEARLY calls for commercial kitchen floors to have correct floor falls to drains, so that ‘pooling of water does not occur’.
I recently visited a newly refurbished club kitchen, the floor was a disaster! Drain locations in all the WRONG spots and NO FALL to any of them! In fact the only fall was to the corners of the room under benches , exactly what the health inspector doesn’t want, the local inspector must have been asleep when he inspected this one to reissue the food premise license, clearly it was a fail.
How to fall? When the new floor is being prepared a filler level are applied around the perimeter of the room and in other key areas that slope TOWARDS the drain/s, so when a for example a bucket of liquid is thrown on the floor all liquid heads to the drain. There are correct Australian Standards that dictate the angles required etc.
Too much fall/angle can lead to challenges for equipment and appliances also, in some cases requiring modification to front castors/legs or plinths to compensate the angle.
What sort of floor drains? In bigger busier kitchens I prefer floor trough grates, (must be able to remove the ‘Ant Slip’ grate and wash floor cleaning typically in front of Combi Ovens, Brat Pans, Dishwasher areas , other areas simple ’round’ floor waste drain grates are fine. Not a fan of the ‘square’ floor waste drain covers they tend to catch mops, and have corners that are easily raised etc.
There is a fair bit of building preparation required for these drains, and in some cases (raised concrete slabs) it is not always possible to have ‘troughs’ as there is too much structural integrity lost by the large cuts in the slab required, this is when the smaller round drains need to be used. The building engineer will make this call.