Construction Requirements for Retail Food Facilities
This guideline is based on requirements found in the California Health and Safety Code, Part 7 of the California Health and Safety Code and the Los Angeles County Code, Title 8 and Los Angeles County Code, Title 11. It is intended to serve as a general overview of the plan and construction requirements and should not be considered all-inclusive. Please refer to the California Health and Safety Code for additional requirements and details. The codes are referenced throughout this document to indicate the sections where the requirements can be found in law. The California Health and Safety Code may be downloaded here
Pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code, Section 114380, (a) A person proposing to build or remodel a food facility shall submit complete, easily readable plans drawn to scale, and specifications to the enforcement agency for review, and shall receive plan approval before starting any new construction or remodeling of any facility for use as a retail food facility, (b) Plans and specifications may also be required by the enforcement agency if the agency determines that they are necessary to assure compliance with the requirements of this part, including, but not limited to, a menu change or change in the facility's method of operation.
All applicable requirements of a retail food facility must be reflected in the plans submitted for review. Recommendations are included to give examples of methods which may be used for meeting the intent of the law, but may not apply in all circumstances. Additionally, this guideline only encompasses the health aspects of construction and should not be construed to include requirements of other agencies involved, such as the local planning and zoning departments, the local building department authority or local fire department, and industrial waste. Contact the appropriate local agencies involved to obtain any permits and/or to clarify other local codes.
A Retail Food Facility:
A place where food is stored, prepared, served, packaged, transported, or otherwise handled for dispensing or sale directly to the consumer. This includes, but is not limited to, liquor stores, bakeries, grocery stores, meat markets, restaurants, cocktail lounges, soda fountains, coffee shops, vitamin stores, food or herbal supplement stores, food banks, employee in-plant feeding operations (cafeterias), food market retail in association with custom slaughterers. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114380
- A building or structure being constructed as a brand new retail food facility OR
- An existing building or structure that is being converted into a retail food facility OR
- An existing retail food facility that has changed ownership and will undergo modifications.
Construction, renovation or repair to a food facility that holds a current valid Public Health Operating Permit, and requires a permit from the local building department. It shall involve but is not limited to structural alterations and the replacement, addition, relocation or significant modification of equipment or fixtures.
Plan Check Site Evaluation:
A field inspection that determines if a food facility meets the current health code requirements or if plans would be required to be submitted to Plan Check for review and approval. The following conditions must be met to qualify for a Plan Check site evaluation:
- The food facility has been closed for 90 days or more, or the Public Health Operating Permit has been revoked.
- There has been no change in the menu or the operation.
- No modification has been made to the building structure.
- There has been no alteration, replacement or addition of food equipment and fixtures.
When Food Facilities are Required to Submit Plans:
- Prior to a food facility being constructed.
- Prior to a permitted food facility being remodeled.
- When the Plan Check site evaluation has determined that plans are required (see above).
- When there is a change of ownership of an existing food facility and the facility will be modified, e.g. changing, adding or relocating equipment.
- Prior to a food facility changing its operation, e.g. changing from a limited menu to a full service operation.
- When a building permit is required (structural, plumbing, electrical, mechanical).
Note: Food facilities with only prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods that have less than 300 square feet of food display and storage are not required to submit plans. However, a Public Health Operating Permit is required and must be obtained from the local District Office (see Appendix G).
How Long Does the Plan Review Process Take?
Plans and specifications are handled on a first come, first serve basis. It is important that you allow time for the plan review process before construction. The turn-around time for a plan review is within twenty (20) working days after the receipt of payment. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114380(e)
Expedited plan review is offered upon request and subject to staff availability. The expedited plan review requires additional fees, and the turn-around time for expedited plan review is within ten (10) working days after the receipt of payment. Los Angeles County Code Title 8, Section 8.04.728 E
Before commencing construction, approvals must be obtained from the Environmental Health Plan Check Program, the local building department, and any other applicable authorities. If any changes to the approved plans become necessary, revised plans shall be submitted for review and approval prior to construction.
Before you being constructing, enlarging, altering or converting any building for use as a food facility, adhere to the following procedure: (see Plan Check Flow Chart below)
- Consult with the Health Department Plan Check. See Contact Information.
- Submit three (3) sets of complete, detailed construction and equipment plans to Environmental Health Plan Check for review and approval. Plans may be prepared by an architect, draftsman, designer, contractor or owner. Plans must be concise, detailed, clear and drawn to scale.
- Plans that are incomplete or that require corrections will be returned for revision prior to approval.
- Upon health department approval, submit plans and obtain the appropriate permits from the local building department. Any new construction, alteration, or remodeling shall be in accordance with all applicable local building codes.
- Maintain a copy of the approved plans on the job site until the final inspection is completed and/or a public health operating permit is issued.
- Install equipment and fixtures according to the health department approved plans and requirements. Purchase only ANSI certified food and utensil related equipment.
- Any revisions to the original approved plans shall be submitted by appointment to the health department for additional review and approve.
- Obtain final field approvals from Building & Safety and all other applicable enforcement agencies.
- Schedule a final inspection with the appropriate health department plan check office to obtain a public health permit. All construction and equipment installation shall be subject to field inspection for approval.
- Obtain all applicable licenses or permits as necessary, e.g. Business License, Seller's Permit, ABC License, etc.
The proper layout and construction of a food facility is an important element in a successful and profitable business. It assures that you will meet all structural and operational requirements of the applicable health laws and, at the same time, meet the objective of serving safe and wholesome food to the public. The intent of this guideline is to assist you in meeting these goals.
Plans shall be easily readable, drawn to scale, (e.g. ¼" = 1') and shall include:
- Complete floor plan with plumbing, electrical, lighting and equipment details. Demolition plans may be required for the proposed remodel of an existing food facility.
- Complete mechanical exhaust ventilation plans including make-up air. Indicate the type of comfort cooling in the building, e.g. "building is cooled by refrigerated air conditioning," "evaporative cooling," or "no cooling system is installed."
- Finish schedule for floors, walls, and ceilings that indicate the type of material, the surface finish, and the type of coved base at the floor-wall juncture. (See Appendix F )
- A site plan including proposed waste storage receptacle location. (If applicable specify location of common use restrooms, janitorial facilities and the On-Site Management Office.)
- Equipment manufacturer’s specification sheets may be required for plan review and approval.
- Copy of the proposed menu.
- Copy the current Public Health Operating Permit for the proposed remodel of an existing food facility.
NOTE: Additional equipment and construction information may be obtained from California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH) website at www.ccdeh.com
The plans shall show and specify in detail the following:
Each permanent food facility shall be fully enclosed in a building consisting of permanent floors, walls, and an overhead structure that meet the minimum standards as prescribed by this part. Food facilities that are not fully enclosed on all sides and that are in operation on January 1, 1985, shall not be required to meet the requirements of this section until the facility is remodeled or has a significant change in menu or its method of operation. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114266
The floor surfaces in all areas (except in sales and dining areas) where food is prepared, prepackaged, or stored, employee change rooms, where any utensil is washed, where refuse or garbage is stored, where janitorial facilities are located, and in all toilet and hand washing areas, shall be smooth and of durable construction and nonabsorbent material that is easily cleanable (impervious to water, grease and acid) (e.g. quarry tile or troweled epoxy, approved commercial grade sheet vinyl or other approved materials). Painted floor surfaces and Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) are not acceptable. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114266
These floor surfaces shall be coved at the juncture of the floor and wall with a three-eighths inch (3/8") minimum radius coving and shall extend up the wall at least four inches (4"), except in areas where food is stored only in unopened bottles, cans, cartons, sacks, or other original shipping containers. Vinyl top set cove base is not acceptable.
Approved anti-slip floor finishes or materials are ONLY acceptable in areas where necessary for safety reasons, such as foot traffic areas. However, floors and base coving under all sinks and equipment shall be smooth and washable.
shall be installed in floors that are water-flushed for cleaning and in areas where pressure spray methods for cleaning equipment are used. Floor surfaces in these areas shall be sloped 1:50, approximately one-quarter inch (¼”) per foot toward the floor drains. When floor drains are added to an existing facility where the floor surface is not sloped, a two (2) foot surrounding depression/slope to the floor drain may be required. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114269(a) and (b)
Wall & Ceilings:
The walls and ceilings of all rooms shall be of a durable, smooth, non- absorbent, easily cleanable surface except in the following areas: (a) bar areas in which only alcoholic beverages are sold or served directly to the consumers, except wall areas adjacent to bar sinks and areas where food is prepared; (b) areas where food is stored only in unopened bottles, cans, cartons, sacks, or other original shipping containers; (c) dining and sales areas; (d) offices; (e) restrooms used exclusively by the consumers, except that the walls and ceilings shall be of a nonabsorbent and washable surface. Acceptable materials are gloss or semi- gloss enamel paint, epoxy paint, FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Panel), stainless steel, ceramic tile or other approved materials and finishes. Acoustical ceiling tile may be used if it is installed not less than six feet above the floor. Brick, concrete block, rough concrete, rough plaster or textured gypsum boards are not acceptable. A sample may be required for review. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114271
Walls and ceilings of food preparation areas, restrooms, janitorial areas, warewashing areas, and interior surfaces of walk-in refrigeration units are recommended to be light colored.
Conduits of all types shall be installed within walls as practicable. When otherwise installed, they shall be mounted or enclosed so as to facilitate cleaning (e.g., at least ½ inch from the wall and six (6) inches above the floor surface).
In every room and area in which food is prepared, processed or packaged, or in which utensils are cleaned, sufficient natural or artificial lighting shall be provided to produce the following light intensity while the area is in use:
- At least 10-foot candles at a distance of 30 inches above the floor in walk-in refrigeration units and dry food storage areas.
- At least 20-foot candles where food is provided for consumer self-service; where fresh produce or prepackaged foods are sold or offered for consumption; inside equipment such as reach-in and under-counter refrigerators; handwashing areas; warewashing areas; equipment and utensil storage areas; and in toilet rooms.
- At least 50-foot candles at surfaces where a food employee is working with food or with utensils, equipment such as knives, slicers, grinders, or saws where employee safety is a factor; and in other rooms during periods of cleaning. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114252
Light bulbs shall be shielded, coated, or otherwise shatter-resistant in areas where there are non-prepackaged ready-to-eat foods, clean equipment, utensils, and linens, or unwrapped single-use articles. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114252.1
Ventilation shall be provided to remove toxic gases, odor, steam, heat, grease, vapors, or smoke from the food facility including: food preparation, scullery, toilet, janitorial, garbage and change rooms. All areas of a food facility shall have sufficient ventilation to facilitate proper food storage and to provide a reasonable condition of comfort for each employee, consistent with the job performed by the employee. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114149
Mechanical Exhaust Ventilation
shall be provided over all cooking equipment such as ranges, multiple table top cooking units, broilers, fry grills, steam jacketed kettles, griddles, ovens, deep fat fryers, barbecues, rotisseries, high temperature warewash machines (160˚F rinse water), and similar equipment to effectively remove steam, heat, grease, vapors, cooking odors and smoke from the food facility. Ventilation plans for each system shall include front and side elevation of the exhaust hood and duct details to the roof fans (both exhaust and make-up air.) Provide manufacturer specification sheets for exhaust fan, make-up air fan and hood filters along with the static pressure calculations. Refer to the California Mechanical Code Chapter on Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Systems. Refer to CCDEH Mechanical Exhaust Ventilation Systems Operational Guidelines at www.ccdeh.com. Specify the number and location(s) of make-up air diffusers. An air balance report completed by a third party may be required prior to final clearance. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114149.1 (See Appendix B )
NOTE: A maximum of two (2) pieces of electrical cooking equipment may be exempt from mechanical exhaust ventilation requirements when this department has determined that the equipment does not produce toxic gases, smoke, grease, vapors, or heat and when operated under conditions recommended by the manufacturer. Additional supporting documentation and fees may be required (Refer to the Cooking Equipment Exhaust Ventilation Exemption Document ) California Health and Safety Code, Section 114149.1(c)
Toilet rooms shall be vented to the outside air by means of an openable, screened window, an air shaft, or a light-switch activated exhaust fan consistent with the requirements of local building codes. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114149
Flies, Rodent and Vermin Exclusion:
A food facility shall at all times be constructed, equipped, maintained, and operated to prevent the entrance and harborage of animals, birds and vermin, including, but not limited to, rodents and insects. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114259
Windows: Openable exterior windows are not allowed in proximity to food preparation areas, except for pass-through windows.
Passthrough window service openings shall be limited to 216 square inches each. Each opening shall be provided with a solid or screened window, equipped with a self-closing device. Screening shall be at least 16 mesh per square inch. Passthrough windows up to 432 square inches are approved if equipped with an air curtain device. Window openings must be closed when not in use. The minimum distance between the openings shall not be less than eighteen inches (18"). California Health and Safety Code, Section 114259.2
All delivery doors leading to the outside shall be self-closing. Overhead, automatic switch-activated air curtains must be provided at delivery doors. The air curtain will produce an air flow eight (8) inches thick at the discharge opening and with an air velocity of not less than 1600 FPM (feet per minute) across the entire opening measured at a point three (3) feet below the air curtain. Food facilities that sell only pre-packaged food are exempt from this requirement. Large cargo-type doors shall not open directly into a food preparation or utensil washing area.
All exterior doors leading to the outside shall be self-closing, tight-fitting and vermin proof. Air curtains may be used as auxiliary fly control but are not adequate substitute devices to permit a door to remain open. A door system such as nano doors, bi-fold doors, and manual sliding doors shall not replace a permanent exterior wall.
Openings at the base and side of exterior doors shall not exceed one-fourth inch (¼"). All exterior wall pipes or other openings shall be tightly sealed. All exterior wall vents shall be properly screened with one-fourth inch (¼") hardware wire screening.
Garbage and Trash Area:
Each food facility shall be provided with facilities and equipment necessary to store or dispose of all waste material. An area designated for refuse, recyclables, returnables, and a redeeming machine for recyclables or returnables shall be located so that it is separate from food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles and a public health hazard or nuisance is not created. If located within the food facility, a storage area for refuse, recyclables, and returnables shall meet the requirements for floors, walls, ceilings, and vermin exclusion. If provided, an outdoor storage area or enclosure used for refuse, recyclables, and returnables shall be constructed of nonabsorbent material such as concrete or asphalt and shall be easily cleanable, durable, and sloped to drain. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114244, 114245, 114245.3, 114245.4
Each permanent food facility shall be provided with clean toilet rooms, in good repair for the use by employees. The number of toilet and handicapped facilities required shall be in accordance with local building and plumbing ordinances. Toilet rooms shall be separated from other portions of the food facility by well-fitted, self-closing doors. Toilet tissue shall be provided in a permanently installed dispenser at each toilet. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114250, 114276
Toilet facilities (at least one separate toilet facility for men and one separate toilet facility for women) in good repair shall be provided for consumers, guests, or invitees, when the food facility was constructed after July 1, 1984, and has more than 20,000 square feet of floor space.
For any building that is constructed after January 1, 2004, that provides space for the consumption of food on the premises shall provide clean toilet facilities in good repair for consumers, guests or invitees. These facilities shall be located where consumers, guests, and invitees do not pass through food preparation, food storage, or utensil washing areas to reach the toilet facilities.
Food facilities located within amusement parks, stadiums, arenas, food courts, fairgrounds, and similar premises shall not be required to provide toilet facilities for employee use within each food facility if the following conditions are met:
- Approved common use toilet facilities are located within 200 feet in travel distance of each food facility.
- Approved common use toilet facilities are readily available for use by employees.
- The On-site Management office shall be staffed with personnel responsible for the maintenance of the designated common toilet facilities.
- Prior approval must be obtained from the Health Department Plan Check.
- Approved common use toilet facilities shall be located in a common area that will not be accessible through another business.
Handwashing facilities shall be provided within or adjacent to toilet rooms and shall be equipped with an adequate supply of hot and cold running water under pressure. Handwashing sinks shall have water provided from a combination or premixing faucet which supplies warm water (at least 100°Farenheit) for a minimum of fifteen (15) seconds while both hands are free for washing. The number of handwashing facilities required shall be in accordance with local building and plumbing ordinances. Handwashing cleanser and single-use sanitary towels or hot-air blowers shall be provided in dispensers at all handwashing facilities.
Where alcoholic beverages
are sold or given away for consumption on the premises there shall be provided for use by the public, separate toilet rooms for each gender, with the men’s toilet room having at least one urinal. At least one lavatory shall be provided in conjunction with and convenient to each toilet room. The toilet rooms must be located within the food facility and where consumers, guests, and invitees do not pass through food preparation, storage, or utensil washing areas to reach the toilet facilities. Los Angeles County Code, Title 11.38.570(D)
Employee Changing Room:
Lockers or other suitable facilities shall be located in a designated room or area where contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single- use articles cannot occur. Dressing rooms or dressing areas shall be provided and used by employees if the employees regularly change their clothes in the facility. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114256
All equipment shall be designed and constructed to be durable and to retain their characteristic qualities under normal use conditions. All new and replacement food-related and utensil-related equipment shall be certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification program. In the absence of an applicable sanitation certification, unique or special equipment may be evaluated for approval by the local enforcement agency. All materials that are used in the construction of utensils and food contact surfaces of equipment shall not allow the migration of deleterious substances or impart colors, odors, or tastes to food; and under normal use conditions shall be safe, durable, corrosion-resistant, nonabsorbent, sufficient in weight and thickness to withstand repeated washing, finished to have a smooth, easily cleanable surface, and resistant to pitting, chipping, crazing, scratching, scoring, distortion and decomposition. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114130
Food facilities constructed or extensively remodeled after January 1, 1996, that handle non-prepackaged food, shall provide facilities exclusively for handwashing in the food preparation areas and in warewashing areas that are not located within or immediately adjacent to food preparation areas. Handwashing facilities shall be sufficient in number and conveniently located, maintained clean, unobstructed and accessible at all times for use by food employees. Handwashing sinks shall have water provided from a combination or premixing faucet which supplies warm water (at least 100°Farenheit) for a minimum of fifteen (15) seconds while both hands are free for washing. Automatic faucets at handwashing sinks shall be pre-set at 100-108°Farenheit. Handwashing facilities shall be provided with handwashing cleanser and sanitary single-use towels. California Health and Safety Code, Section 113953
Food Preparation Sink:
Food facilities are required to have a separate sink for when they are engaged in activities such as washing, rinsing, soaking, thawing, or similar preparation of foods, and shall be located within the food preparation area. The sink shall have an integral drain board, and have minimum tub dimensions of 18” x 18” by 12” deep. An adjacent work table of similar dimensions may be substituted for the drain board. A food preparation sink must drain indirectly through an air gap into a floor sink and must be free standing (not installed in cabinets). California Health and Safety Code, Section 114163
Manual Warewashing Sink:
All food facilities, except those that have only prepackaged items in their original unopened sealed containers, shall provide a three-compartment warewashing sink with two integral drain boards. The tub compartments shall be large enough to accommodate immersion of the largest piece of equipment and utensils; i.e., minimum 16" x 20" or 18" x 18" by 12" deep. The sink must be free standing (not installed in cabinets). Hot and cold running water under pressure shall be provided to each compartment. When the three-compartment sink is installed next to a wall, a metal "back splash" shall extend up the wall a minimum of eight (8) inches, and shall be formed as an integral part of the unit and sealed to the wall. The manual warewashing sink shall be easily accessible and conveniently located to the food preparation area. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114099
Bar Sink (Warewashing):
A three (3) compartment bar sink (minimum 10" X 14" X 10") with two integral metal drain boards shall be provided in bars.
Mechanical warewashing shall be accomplished by using an approved machine installed and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Warewashing machines shall have two integral drain boards that are of adequate size and construction to accommodate the warewashing trays (i.e., 24" x 24"). The drain-boards shall be sloped and drained to an approved waste receptor. Where an undercounter warewashing machine is used, there shall be two metal drain boards located adjacent to the machine. This requirement may be satisfied by using the drain boards that are part of the manual warewashing sinks if the facilities are located adjacent to the machine. Pot and pan washers shall be equipped with drain boards or shall be equipped with approved alternative equipment that provides adequate and suitable space for soiled and clean equipment and utensils.
A single compartment rinse/work sink may be provided in service areas where blenders or similar equipment are rinsed and the three-compartment sink is not located within the area. NOTE: Rinse/work sink will not be a substitute for the requirement of a 3-compartment sink.
A single compartment dump sink is generally installed in alcoholic beverage bars for the emptying of the contents of used pitchers and glasses.
Drainage connection for warewashing, rinse/work sink, dump sink and similar type equipment:
While an indirect connection to a floor sink is acceptable, verify with the local building department for the proper connection of the drainage system to sewer. A direct connection will result in the requirement of an adjacent (within five feet) floor drain upstream of the warewashing equipment, as per the California Plumbing Code Section 704.3.
At least one (1) of the following is to be used for general cleaning purposes and for the disposal of mop bucket wastes and other liquid wastes:
- A one-compartment, non-porous janitorial sink.
- A slab, basin, or curbed cleaning facility constructed of concrete or equivalent material, and sloped to a drain.
Such facilities shall be connected to an approved sewerage, provided with hot and cold running water and protected with a backflow protection device. Janitorial sinks and basins shall be separated from other equipment by at least 30 inches; or a solid partition that extends a minimum of 18 inches above the rim or top of the janitorial sink or basin.
A room, area, or cabinet separated from any food preparation, food storage area or warewashing area shall be provided for the storage of cleaning equipment and supplies, such as mops, buckets, brooms, cleansers and waxes. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114279, 114281
Janitorial facilities shall not be required within each food facility if the following conditions are met:
- Approved common use janitorial facilities are located within 100 feet in travel distance of each food facility and shall be on same level as the food facility.
- Approved common use janitorial facilities are readily available for use by employees.
- The on-site management office shall be staffed with personnel responsible for the maintenance of the designated common use janitorial facilities.
- Prior approval must be obtained from the Health Department Plan Check.
- Approved common use janitorial facilities shall be located in a common area that will not be accessible through another business.
Food and Equipment Protection:
Non-prepackaged food on display and food contact surfaces shall be protected from contamination by the use of packaging, counter, service line, or sneeze guards that intercept a direct line between the consumer’s mouth and the food being displayed, containers with tight-fitting securely attached lids, display cases, mechanical dispensers, or other effective means. Cafeteria, buffet and salad bar self-service, food preparation equipment and food preparation areas shall be protected by approved sneeze guards. Non-prepackaged food may be displayed and sold in bulk on other than self-service containers if the food is served by a food employee directly to a consumer. California Health and Safety Code, Section 113890, 114060
Equipment for cooling and heating food and for holding cold and hot food shall be sufficient in number and capacity to ensure proper food temperature control during transportation and operation. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114153,
Garbage disposals may be installed in drain boards if the drain board is lengthened to accommodate the disposal cone in addition to the minimum required drain board size. Garbage disposals may not be installed under a sink compartment, unless an additional compartment is provided for the disposal. Verify with local building department and industrial waste management prior to installation of a garbage disposal.
Reach in refrigerators shall either be self-contained or drained indirectly to a floor sink. Refrigeration units shall be provided with an accurate, readily visible thermometer, have shelving that is nonabsorbent, non-corrodible, easily cleanable, and shall meet all applicable NSF/ ANSI standards. Wood is not an acceptable structural material finish of the refrigeration unit. California Health and Safety Code, Section 113885, 114130, 114193
Walk-in refrigerators shall have a well-fitted door, shall open into an approved area of the food facility, shall be constructed flush with the floor; coved base shall be provided at the intersection of floors and walls with a minimum 3/8” radius and 4” height; be flashed or sealed to walls and/or ceiling as needed to prevent rodent and vermin harborage; have non-corrodible shelving that is at least six (6) inches above the floor; shall be certified or classified for sanitation to applicable NSF/ ANSI standards. Wood is not acceptable. Diamond plated floor is not acceptable unless a trench drain is provided just outside the walk-in refrigeration door, the walk-in floor slopes 1:50 towards the trench drain, and a power wash spray method of cleaning is provided. Condensate from refrigeration units shall be drained in a sanitary manner to a floor sink, or other approved device by an indirect connection. Plumbing waste receptors, including floor drains, floor sinks, and evaporators are to be located outside of refrigeration units. California Health and Safety Code, Section 113885, 114130, 114193
Installation of Equipment:
All equipment shall be either easily movable (e.g., on casters), elevated on legs that provide at least a six inch (6”) clearance between the floor and the equipment, or sealed to minimum four inch (4") solid masonry island with minimum three-eighths inch (3/8") coved radius. If on an island, it shall overhang the base at least two inches (2"), but not more than the height of the island. Sealing to the floor is acceptable only if no other means are available, such as beer coolers behind bars, and large bakery ovens. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114169
Table-mounted equipment that is not easily movable shall be installed to allow cleaning of the equipment and areas underneath and around the equipment by being sealed to the table or elevated on legs that provide at least a four-inch clearance between the table and the equipment. Gaps and spaces between equipment base and top of islands shall be sealed with a non-hardening silicone sealant.
All equipment flashings and backsplashes are to be adequately sealed to the wall or moved away from the wall six inches (6") for every four (4) linear feet of equipment frontal length, or away from each other. Soldering, welding, approved sealants, or "T" cap molding may be used. A minimum of thirty inches (30") clearance is to be provided for all aisles and working areas.
Adequate and suitable space shall be provided for the storage of food. Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the food preparation area and at least 96 lineal feet of approved shelving for each 100 square feet of required storage area is considered adequate (excluding refrigeration). Adequate storage generally means a minimum of 96 linear feet of 18” deep shelving. Each food facility will be evaluated on a case by case basis. If pallets are to be used, pallet jacks or forklifts should be available for ease in movement. Shelving is to be constructed so as to be easily cleanable. Shelves installed on a wall shall have at least a one inch (1") open space between the back edge of the shelf or be sealed to the wall with silicone sealant or equivalent. The lowest shelf shall be at least six inches (6") above the floor with a clear, unobstructed area below. All shelves supported by legs on the floor must be in compliance with applicable NSF/ ANSI standards. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114047
Plumbing, Gas and Electric:
All plumbing, plumbing fixtures, gas lines and gas operated equipment shall be installed in compliance with local plumbing ordinances. They shall be maintained so as to prevent any contamination; shall be kept clean; shall be fully operative, and shall be in good repair. All liquid wastes shall be disposed of through the plumbing system which shall discharge into the public sewerage or into an approved private sewage disposal system. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114190
All steam tables, ice machines and bins, food preparation sinks, warewashing sinks, display cases, walk-in refrigerators, dipper wells for scooping ice cream and other similar equipment that discharge liquid waste shall be drained by means of indirect waste pipes, and all wastes drained by them shall discharge through an air gap into a floor sink or other approved type of receptor. Waste lines shall not cross any aisle, traffic area, or door opening. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114193
Dipper wells plumbed with cold running water shall be provided for ice cream dipping cabinet or other similar scooping operations.
Effective July 1, 1999, Los Angeles City, all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and most incorporated cities have adopted the California Plumbing Code. These jurisdictions will require that all utensil/pot washing sinks and mechanical warewashing machines shall be connected DIRECTLY to the sewage system. Per the California Plumbing Code, Section 704.3, a floor drain shall be provided adjacent to the fixture, and the fixture shall be connected on the sewer side of the floor drain trap, provided that no other drainage line is connected between the floor drain waste connection and the fixture drain. Contact the local Building department for further information.
Electrical power shall be supplied at all times to operate the food facility. All electrical features and accessories shall be installed in compliance with the applicable local electrical ordinances. (Generators will only be allowed as a backup power source in the event of an emergency, i.e. power outage) California Health and Safety Code, Section 114182
An adequate, protected, pressurized, potable supply of hot water at least 49° Celsius (120° F) measured from the faucet and cold running water shall be provided from an approved source. The potable water supply shall be protected with a backflow or back- siphon device, as required by applicable local plumbing codes.
Each food facility shall be provided with its own dedicated commercial water heater. Hot water generation and distribution systems shall be sufficient to meet the peak hot water demands throughout the food facility. Where fixtures are located more than sixty feet (60') from the water heater, a recirculation pump must be installed. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114192, 114195
In sizing the water heater, the peak hourly demands for all sinks, warewashing machines, etc., are added together to determine the minimum required recovery rate. If installing a tankless water heater, the manufacturer specification sheet (including the flow rate in GPM and temperature rise) must be provided for review.
CCDEH Water Heater Sizing Guidelines may be downloaded at www.ccdeh.com
"Insta-hot" units are not accepted in lieu of a commercial water heater.
Sewage Disposal, Grease Traps and Interceptors
A grease trap or grease interceptor shall not be located in a food or utensil handling area unless specifically approved by the enforcement agency; and shall be easily accessible for servicing. Contact the local Building department, Sanitary, or Public Works agencies for information or regulations regarding special sewerage, grease trap and grease interceptor requirements California Health and Safety Code, Section 114190, 114201
- The building is to be rodent-proofed. Doors leading to the outside are to be self-closing and have no more than ¼ inch gap around the perimeter of the door. Seal all holes, gaps in the walls, and ceilings. Screen window openings with tight-fitting fly screens.
- Provide at least one restroom with single-use soap and paper towels, adequate lighting, proper ventilation, and a self-closing door.
- Provide janitorial facilities including a mop sink with a backflow prevention device; shelves for storage of cleaning supplies; and a mop and broom hanger.
- Provide a minimum 20-gallon commercial hot water heater; specify the location; specify all sinks are to be supplied with hot water from this water heater.
- Provide an employee dressing area with lockers and adequate storage shelving.
- When there is refrigeration, specify if it is self-contained or if the condensation drains to a floor sink. Walk-in refrigeration must drain to a floor sink or other approved indirect waste receptacle. Provide specifications for all refrigeration equipment and ensure that it meets ANSI certification standards.
- Provide a finish schedule for all areas, except customer sales area, Floors, base cove (no VCT or rubber base allowed), walls and ceilings in the restrooms, janitorial areas, walk-in refrigeration and locker areas must be smooth, durable, nonabsorbent, and easily cleanable. Light colors are strongly recommended.
Plans are not required for food facilities food facilities that meet the following criteria:
- 300 square feet or less of food display and storage combined
- Sell or give away only prepackaged non-potentially hazardous food
NOTE: A Public Health Operating Permit may be required for the above mentioned facilities. Contact your local District Office for more information. (See Appendix G)
- A Public Health operating Permit will not be issued to a portion of a food facility for the purpose of being sub-leased, rented or shared.
- Once plans are approved by the Health Department, obtain all necessary permits and approvals from the local building department and all applicable agencies prior to construction.
- Any changes to approved Health Department plans must be brought to your Plan Checkers attention.
- All construction and equipment installation is subject to on-site inspections. During the course of construction, and particularly before you plan to open, you are advised to call if you should have any questions.
- Prior to calling for a final inspection and issuance of your Public Health Operating Permit, the local building department as well as any other applicable local authorities must have given final approvals regarding construction completion.
- Final inspection, on-site approval, and issuance of a Public Health Operating Permit are required before opening the food facility or before utilizing any remodeled areas within existing food facilities. The inspector requires at least three (3) working days advance notice to schedule a final inspection.
- On-site approval is required before stocking food on the premises.
IT IS A MISDEMEANOR VIOLATION TO BEGIN OPERATING WITHOUT A FINAL INSPECTION AND OBTAINING A VALID PUBLIC HEALTH OPERATING PERMIT. PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU OPEN FOR BUSINESS PRIOR TO OBTAINING A PUBLIC HEALTH OPERATING PERMIT, YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO CLOSURE AND POSSIBLE FURTHER LEGAL ACTION. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114381,
NOTE: A Public Health Operating Permit will not be issued to a portion of a food facility for the purpose of being subleased, rented or shared.
All facilities are subject to construction inspections, and routine, random inspections thereafter, by the Health Department. These inspections are intended to protect the health of the public as well as the well-being of the operator by ensuring that food facilities are operated in a clean and sanitary manner with all utensils and equipment being maintained operational and in good repair. California Health and Safety Code, Section 114390
Appendix A: Plan Check Program Office Directory
For Plan Check Office locations, please visit our Plan Check Program page.
Please Contact the programs listed below for Plan Check requirements of other types of retail food facilities:
- Appendix B: Commerical Hoods/Mechanical Exhaust Data Sheet
- Appendix C: Sample Floor Plan - Prepackaged Food Facility
- Appendix D: Sample Floor Plan - Restaurant
- Appendix E: Sample Equipment Schedule
- Appendix F: Sample Finish Schedule