By Jack Grace, CECS,CESI, HOODZ International
With the addition of the IKECA/ ANSI C10-2016 standard to the International Fire Code, we as an industry have achieved an incredible milestone, yet our work is truly just beginning. Educating ourselves on the standards and ensuring that we are following them in our own organizations is critical, but so, too, is the education of and outreach to our authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) community and our clients. Through education and outreach, we can ensure a successful future for all of us in the KEC industry, and more importantly, we will achieve our primary purpose of protecting life and property. The work that the wonderful volunteers at IKECA have already accomplished and that which is ongoing keep our members at the forefront of the international stage as standards-setting leaders. The new edition of the C10 standard has arrived and, with it, arrives another opportunity to improve our standards across the industry.
All this hard work has been done, yet we still have the task of getting the message out that the standard exists, both to those we serve as well as those AHJs who oversee the work we perform. In my opinion, it has always been a challenge to sell the premium service that we as IKECA providers pride ourselves on offering, especially when faced with a competitive environment in which some providers may not follow the best practices required to properly clean kitchen exhaust systems. As we continue to raise the standards and include more components to ensure a safer workplace and a better end result, we also incur the associated expenses, and this often translates to an increased premium for services provided.
The client of a quality kitchen exhaust provider who lacks understanding of the process, requirements, and scope of this system may easily be tempted to buy a substandard product from a provider who fails to follow best practices whether due to ignorance of the codes and requirements or willful engagement in grossly negligent business practices. An intelligent consumer would ask how one provider could offer the same service as another for a fraction of the price. Knowledge and strict compliance with the IKECA/ANSI C10- 2016 standard should be a mandatory minimum for anyone looking to purchase kitchen exhaust cleaning services. Further, AHJs should also accept no less than this codified standard. By educating and sharing the knowledge of this industry critical document, you are helping the entire industry move in the proper direction toward compliance and helping others to become quality competitors by rising to the standard. After all, we all need quality competition in our markets and our industry. It is a certainty that fair competition between competent quality providers beats the alternatives.
Therefore, I recommend to all IKECA members that you make it a best practice to share the IKECA/ANSI C10-2016 standard with your clients, AHJs, and, yes, even your competitors, who may not be aware of the standard (despite the length of time it has been in existence). Be sure that your clients are educated consumers and that they insist on using providers who embrace and practice the standard. Although it is a slow process to make all parties aware of the standard, and at times, it may be surprising to learn who does and does not know of the standard, the end result is a giant leap forward for our industry as a whole.
In summary, by embracing the C10 standard and educating our clients as to the process and methodology of proper kitchen exhaust cleaning, we as providers can help our consumers make quality decisions about with whom they entrust the responsibility for the proper cleaning of their systems. Having an accepted standard that is, in fact, a part of the International Fire Code provides us all with the minimum standards with which all services must be performed. As cleaners, consumers, and AHJs become aware that this standard is in place, we will all benefit.
Jack is the Senior Business Implementation Specialist with HOODZ International. Jack has also served as President of IKECA (2012– 2014) and as a member of the Board of Directors (2008–2014).
Read the full article in the IKECA Spring Journal.