With the spotlight firmly on hygiene in the food manufacturing industry, the prevention of cross-contamination has never been more important. But if business is booming enough to expand or refurbish your site, how do you ensure that hygiene levels remain stringent and daily operations remain consistent while building work is carried out?

Food and drink news-online caught up with Adam Bell, Managing Director of Building Projects (UK), one of the few specialist high-care construction businesses operating within the food industry, to ask how the company approaches its projects.

“There is so much to consider when planning the design, construction and fit out of a food-related operation. Whilst construction is a necessity, it is not always possible or practical to close down sections or halt production in a food production area; it has to be business as usual for our clients. To achieve this aim, as well as maintaining complete safety for staff, and minimizing any potential risk or cross contamination, we implement strict controls that have been developed in our High Care Control Charter.

“Our High Care Control Charter sets out the methods we adopt on all our high care environment projects and the construction controls and procedures we use. Such as project specific risk assessment, creation of working zones using robust, dust-proof temporary screens capable of maintaining the necessary air pressures, construction of temporary airlocks with zipped double doors for access and egress of materials and personnel and the use of tacky-matting as dust traps in all access points of the working area.

“Our Charter is in addition to the standard health and safety regulations adhered to on a construction site and our quality management systems in line with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. We also use careful planning to minimize disruption to daily activities. The consequences are far too great for any company to ignore, but good planning and open communication goes a long way towards a project being delivered safely, on time and to budget.

“We identify the potential risks at the outset and plan to prevent them. Inexperience of construction in high care environments can carry potentially disastrous financial consequences and brand damage.”

Before any building work begins, Adam Bell urges food companies to ensure their building contractors undertake the following criteria on all projects as a minimum:

  1. Single point of contact for Hygiene Management
  2. Detailed risk assessments and method statements focusing on contamination control
  3. Creation of working zones by using robust dust proof barriers
  4. Daily inspection of the integrity of the working zones
  5. The use of zipped double doors for access and egress of materials and personnel
  6. Sealing of all ventilation ducts within the working area
  7. Careful routing of all staff and materials through the premises to avoid those areas thought to be most sensitive and vulnerable
  8. Constant use of protective garments such as gowns, masks, hats and overshoes in required areas
  9. The construction and use of a designated change area at the point of access/egress for the removal of contaminated garments
  10. The use of exclusive designated lifts or hoists for materials in and of the site
  11. All waste to be removed in sealed trolleys, trolleys to be “cleaned” prior to exit from working area
  12. The use of “tacky-mat” dust trap matting at all access points to the working area
  13. The single use only of dust sheets
  14. Sealing of windows where applicable
  15. Creation of negative pressure working areas where necessary
  16. Secure system of access and egress from site to ensure no unauthorized personnel are present
  17. Daily cleaning schedule within the working area
  18. Cleaning schedule for areas near but outside the immediate working area
  19. Regular spoil removal from the working areas
  20. Eliminate water leaks which can produce damp fungal growth
  21. Inspection and cleaning of ducts, grills and filters after completion of works
  22. Thorough clean of working area (including above false ceilings, ducts grills etc) after completion of works
  23. Hygiene inspection and certification of working area prior to hand-over of working area to client

For further information on Building Projects (UK) please visit www.buildingprojectsuk.com or email Adam on [email protected]

Building Projects’ sister company, Clean Projects, specialises in periodic deep cleaning for High Care Environments. Clean Projects was formed in 2009, it was born out of frustration with subcontract cleaning services supplied to Building Projects. For further information on Clean Projects, please visit www.cleanprojects.co.uk please email Bryony on [email protected]

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