Plan & Specification Requirements for Retail Food Service Establishment

Plans and specifications for food service establishments, when received by the Health Department will be checked for conformance with State and local requirements in the following areas. This list, while not necessarily complete, points out some main areas of concern. Please make sure you use the checklist for the procedures for construction or remodeling a Retail Food Service Establishment prior to submitting plans and specifications to the Health Department.

  1. Plumbing Fixtures: Location and type. Includes drainage provisions for floors, compressors, slop sinks, coolers, etc. A floor drain is to be provided in the utensil washing area, if the area is to be water flushed, and for each walk-in cooler. A utility sink (or some other approved facility) must be provided for the disposal of slop water.
  2. Hot Water Equipment: Type, model, make, rated capacity of water and booster heaters in BTU's or kilowatt-hours. Supplies of adequate hot water at peak demand must be assured. Guidelines are available to make these calculations.
  3. Garbage and Refuse Disposal: Provisions for container washing and for adequate storage areas are to be indicated.
  4. Floor Plan of Operation: Designation of various areas - serving, food preparation, dry storage, toilets, hand washing, location of equipment, etc. This plan must be drawn to scale.
  5. Lighting: Location of fixtures. Foot candles of illumination of work areas to be specified (50-foot candles recommended). All lighting within an area where food is being prepared or served must be shielded from breakage.
  6. Ventilation Equipment: Cooking, dishwashing area, and toilet rooms. Model, make, and a rated capacity of the exhaust fans and the make-up air systems (if provided) are to be provided along with shop drawings which include the layout of the duct work.
  7. Food Service Equipment: Make, model, size, and location. All food service equipment should bear the National Sanitation Foundation seal of approval or be of equivalent standard. If any equipment is custom-fabricated, then shop drawings and specification sheets must be submitted for our evaluation. Domestic food service equipment is not designed for commercial use and is not recommended.
  8. Dry Food Storage: Indicate location and construction details of all dry food storage areas. Dry and cold food storage areas, as a rule, shall equal at least 15% of kitchen prep areas.
  9. Personal Articles: Provisions must be made for the orderly storage of employees' personal belongs (i.e., coats, pocketbooks, etc.) outside of the food prep and cooking areas.
  10. Material and finished surface used on floors, walls, and ceilings. Also, that used behind cooking equipment and interior surfaces of walk-in refrigerators.

a. Flooring and Cove: Preferred flooring includes quarry tile, terrazzo, or certain poured (seamless) epoxy floors. Floors should be constructed so as to be durable and easily cleanable. Commercial grade vinyl (1/8") asbestos tiling is approved in dry areas (i.e. not undergoing repeated water spillage or subjected to cleaning methods employing the use of liberal amounts of water). In all cases, base coving is to be provided.

b. Walls: These are to be finished so as to be smooth, nonabsorbent, and easily cleanable. Light-colored epoxy or enamel painted drywall is approved. Wall areas behind cooking equipment, dish machines, etc. should be covered with stainless steel, anodized aluminum, or ceramic tile.

c. Ceilings: Drywall painted with light-colored epoxy or enamel is approved. Drop ceiling panels are to be readily removable for cleaning or replacement. A vinylized coating for ceiling panels is recommended for it improves cleanability.

Early consultation between Health Department personnel and those planning, building, or operating an establishment is highly desirable. All plans are to be submitted to and reviewed by the Health Department prior to beginning any construction or remodeling. Should this not be done, you stand the chance of wasting money with unapproved construction and materials.