Overhead Clearance for Cooking Appliances (Take the Quiz!)

Understanding the regulations and standards regarding overhead clearance for cooking appliances and rangehoods is crucial for ensuring safety and compliance in residential kitchens. 

Let’s review the changes in regulations over the years and how they impact the minimum clearance requirements for gas cooking appliances and rangehoods.

Grandfather Laws and Unknown Clearances

Before delving into specific regulations, it’s important to note that older installations or situations where clearance information is unknown should default to ensuring safety by following established standards.

Regulations in 2013

Prior to 2013, the minimum overhead clearance requirement for gas cooking appliances to rangehoods was set at 600mm unless the manufacturer specified a different clearance for either the rangehood or the gas cooktop.

Changes in 2022 Regulations

With the introduction of AS/NZS 5601.1: 2022, there are notable changes. Existing installations maintain a 600mm clearance, but for new kitchens built after the implementation date, a minimum clearance of 650mm is required unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer for either the gas cooking appliance or the rangehood.

By understanding these regulatory changes and adhering to manufacturer instructions, practitioners can ensure that installations meet safety standards and comply with the latest regulations.

Existing Regulations Tenants and Rental Providers Must Know

For older installations dating back to before 2010 where specific clearance specifications are not available, the concept of “grandfather laws” or “grandfather clauses” becomes relevant. What are grandfather laws? These clauses typically refer to exempting existing situations from new regulations or standards that have been implemented after the original installation. Here’s how it applies to the overhead clearance requirements for cooking appliances and rangehoods:

Lack of Specific Specifications

In cases where the original installation of gas cooking appliances and rangehoods predates the availability of specific clearance specifications, there might not be clear guidelines to follow regarding overhead clearances.

Application of Grandfather Laws

The principle of grandfather laws comes into play here. It implies that existing installations are typically exempt from adhering to new regulations retroactively unless there are specific safety concerns or updates mandated by authorities.

Prioritising Safety

While there may not be explicit clearance requirements documented for these older installations, prioritizing safety remains paramount. Practitioners should assess the situation based on general safety guidelines and common industry practices to ensure that there are no hazardous conditions related to the proximity of cooking appliances to rangehoods or exhaust fans.

Consultation and Professional Judgment

In such cases, consulting with experienced professionals or industry experts can be beneficial. They can provide insights based on their expertise and familiarity with historical practices and standards prevalent at the time of installation.

By applying a cautious approach, relying on industry knowledge, and prioritizing safety, practitioners can navigate the absence of specific specifications for overhead clearances in older installations effectively.

Is your overhead clearance compliant? Take this Quiz Now

Is your overhead clearance compliant? Take this Quiz Now

Is your overhead clearance compliant? Take this Quiz Now

Is the cooktop gas or electric?

How We Check for Compliance

Against Relevant Regulations at the Time

When assessing compliance, it’s crucial to refer to the regulations that were applicable at the time of installation or renovation. This involves understanding the regulatory framework in place during that period, including building codes, safety standards, and any specific guidelines related to gas installations, clearance requirements, and kitchen renovations.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

Compliance also hinges on adhering to the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines for the specific cooking appliances, rangehoods, and exhaust fans being installed. These specifications may include recommended clearance distances, installation methods, and safety considerations unique to each appliance.

Professional Judgment

In cases where clear specifications are lacking or where regulations have evolved over time, professional judgment plays a key role. Experienced professionals such as gasfitters and contractors should apply their knowledge, industry best practices, and awareness of historical standards to ensure installations meet safety and compliance requirements.

Checking for Fair and Reasonable Quoting

Current Regulations

When preparing a quote for a new installation or renovation, it’s essential to base the clearance requirements on the latest regulations and standards. This includes referencing current editions of relevant codes and standards such as AS/NZS 5601.1: 2022 for gas installations and associated clearances.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

Quoting should also consider the manufacturer’s specifications for the specific appliances being installed. This involves reviewing the manufacturer’s installation instructions, recommended clearances, and any special considerations that may impact the installation process or clearance requirements.

Account for Changes

As regulations and standards may evolve, it’s important to stay updated with any recent changes or amendments that may affect clearance requirements. This ensures that the quote reflects the most accurate and compliant information based on the latest industry standards and manufacturer guidelines.

By combining a thorough understanding of relevant regulations, adherence to manufacturer’s specifications, and staying informed about current industry standards, professionals can ensure both compliance with safety regulations and accurate quoting for gas cooking appliance installations and associated clearances.

Know Your Options for Raising Rangehood Clearance

We recommend cutting or adjusting the overhead cabinetry to lift the rangehood and satisfy clearance regulations. This may involve modifying the cabinetry height or creating additional space above the cooking appliance to meet the required clearance distances specified by regulations. By doing so, we ensure compliance with safety standards and create a safe environment for the installation of the rangehood.

See below:

overhead clearance for cooking appliance

Reference: Appliance Fixer Cooktop Installation

Reference: Appliance Fixer Cooktop Installation


Ensuring compliance with clearance regulations for rangehoods and other cooking appliances is critical to maintaining a safe and functional kitchen environment. By referencing relevant regulations at the time of installation or renovation and adhering to manufacturer specifications, we can guarantee that installations meet industry standards for safety and performance.

In cases where adjustments are needed to meet clearance requirements, such as raising the rangehood, we recommend cutting or adjusting overhead cabinetry as necessary. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance but also promotes a safer and more efficient kitchen setup.

Overall, our commitment to following regulations, incorporating manufacturer guidelines, and implementing practical solutions underscores our dedication to delivering high-quality and compliant installations for our clients’ peace of mind.

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