The Bed & Breakfast Association of Alabama has designed the Standards Program to promote the highest level of safety, comfort, cleanliness and hospitality to guests. Hospitality and personalized attention is a primary consideration. It is recognized that B&Bs are as different and unique as their innkeepers and that establishments vary in size, number of guest rooms and rates. However, the goal of BBAA is to establish certain qualities and operational procedures that are standard to all professional B&Bs. Governmental codes supersede the requirements of this program.
In order to maintain the Standards set forth herein, the Association has developed the Guest Comment Card. The Association will provide comment cards to its members for use by guests. It is suggested that postage be affixed to these cards prior to giving them to guests. Guests should be encouraged to complete and mail the cards. The Association maintains a record of comment cards and/or correspondence received from guests. After review, they are forwarded to the respective B&B. The Chairperson of the Standards/Inspection Committee is notified of any negative comment cards and are reviewed.
Requests for BBAA membership come from the BBAA Website and are forwarded to the Membership Committee who e-mail the Member Application files to the applicant. Arrangements can be made to mail a copy if needed. The Applicant completes the membership forms and mails them along with copies of all required documents, and the non-refundable application/inspection fee of $125.00, to the Treasurer who forwards membership forms & documents to Chairperson of Standards/Inspection. Standards Chairperson will verify facts on the application and inspect the required documents such as proof of licenses, proof of required taxes paid, proof of insurance, compliance with government requirements, safety requirements, etc. and notify the Applicant of any missing documents that still need to be forwarded to the Standards Chairperson.
The Standards Chairperson also contacts the appropriate Independent Inspector who schedules the inspection with the Applicant at a time mutually agreed upon. The Independent Inspector is hired by the Board of Directors and works under the direction of the Chairperson of the Standards/ Inspection Committee. The B&B will provide a complimentary overnight stay. The Standards Chairperson may be present.
At the appointed time, the Independent Inspector will arrive at the B&B, meet with the Owner/Manager and prepare for the inspection process. Questions and/or comments from the applicant may be handled at this time and referred to the Standards Chairperson. The Independent Inspector will use the Inspection Checklist during the inspection. Items on the checklist will be determined to be “OK” (Acceptable) or “NO” (needs improvement). The Independent Inspector must follow the Inspection Checklist and provide comments and observations upon completion of the inspection. The Independent Inspector will be expected to provide information pertaining only to the inspection. The Independent Inspector may discuss the inspection with the Owner/Manager but shall not discuss any areas or specifics pertaining to the day-to-day business of the B&B. Any assistance required will be forwarded to the Standards Chairperson and District Director. During this time, any area of “Standards” that may not be acceptable will be discussed.
The cover page of the Site Inspection Report shall be signed and dated by the Independent Inspector during the inspection. The Independent Inspector will forward all completed forms to the Standards Chairperson for review. The Standards Chairperson will present the new Applicant to the Board of Directors for consideration at their next regularly scheduled meeting or via e-mail vote approval. The Board of Directors will consider all facts of the inspection prior to approval for membership. If the Board of Directors finds any area of “Standards” are violated, the Standards Chairperson will notify the Owner/Manager in writing of any conditions attached to Board approval. The Applicant may appeal the inspection report results and the Board’s decision. The appeal must be made to the Standards Chairperson in writing and must present valid reasons for the basis of the appeal. The appeal must be received within fourteen (14) days from the date the Applicant received the inspection results. The Standards Chairperson will present the appeal to the Board immediately. The decision by the Standards Chairperson and the Board must be made within thirty (30) days from the date the appeal was received by the Standards Chairperson.
An Applicant may request a variance from a Standard. That variance request must present a valid reason for non-compliance and must be submitted to the Standards Chairperson within seven (7) days from the date the applicant received the inspection results. The Standards Chairperson will present the variance request to the Board of Directors. The Board and the Standards Chairperson must reach a decision within thirty (30) days from the date the variance request was received by the Chairperson. Decisions made by the Board and the Standards Chairperson are final.
The Applicant shall have ninety (90) days in which to correct the non-compliance to Standards and complete a successful site inspection. The site inspection will be scheduled by the Standards Chairperson and BBAA President. An overnight stay may be required. The cost of the second site inspection is $125.00 and shall be paid to BBAA prior to the inspection date.
If ownership changes, re-inspection will be required within six months of ownership transfer. Prior to inspection, the new Owner/Manager will be sent a “Membership Pack” in preparation for the inspection. All new ownership inspections require an overnight stay. The new Owner/Manager will provide accommodations for the Independent Inspector and an optional 2nd inspection team member. The fee is $125.00 with payment due prior to inspection.
All BBAA members shall be re-inspected every two (2) years and a re-inspection fee of $75.00 will be assessed to each member requiring re-inspection on that year’s Membership Dues Invoice and must be paid by December 31 of previous year. Overnight stays are required only for new member inspections, unless deemed necessary by the Standards Chair.
Full membership will be extended to Alabama B&B’s which:
- Meet the Association definition – “A Bed & Breakfast is a privately owned, residential property with 1 to 10 bedrooms to accommodate overnight guests with breakfast included in the room rate,
- are in operation for more than nine months of the year,
- have an owner or resident manager involved in daily operations,
- have the necessary licensing and insurance required by the state, county, local and BBAA, maintain a quality of operations set forth by the BBAA Standards Program and documented by a successful site inspection by Independent Inspector, paid dues/fees in full, approved by Board.
The base fee for dues will be $125 with a per room fee of $25. A bi-annual inspection fee in the amount of $75.00 will be included when required. Invoices for annual dues & required re-inspection fees shall be e-mailed on or before July 15th of previous year and are payable on or before December 31. After December 31, dues are considered delinquent. A 10% charge per month is imposed for delinquent dues. Invoices not paid by January 15 will result in your B & B’s removal from BBAA website. Dues must be received prior to the annual meeting for voting privileges. Annual fees over ninety (90) days late require reapplication for membership.
Fees for inspections are due prior to the inspection as follows:
- New member inspections - $125.00
- Second Site Inspection - $125.00
- Ownership Change Re-inspection - $125.00
- Two Year Re-inspection - $75.00
The B&B facility shall measure up to good condition standards, shall operate in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances and shall post proof of fire department inspection if required by local jurisdiction. Telephone messages shall be taken with reasonable consideration and delivered to guests in a timely manner. Telephones shall be clean and in a convenient location for guest use (away from television and other distractions). Trash and garbage shall be removed from the facility regularly. Door keys or combinations shall be made available to guest so that they may come and go as they wish. A variety of reading materials shall be available in common rooms and/or in keeping with the theme or ambience of the B&B.
Management and staff must be courteous, present a good appearance and operate in an ethical and business-like manner. Hospitable attention to guest service must be maintained at all times. A B&B is differentiated from a hotel offering continental breakfast by the personal service provided to the guest. If all you do is welcome the guests, take their money, give them a key and serve a continental breakfast, never seeing them after check-in, what sets your B&B apart from the hotels? Offering a tour of your home, acting as an Ambassador to your area and/or offering suggestions when needed are examples of personal service.
Excerpt from PAII’s newsletter “innkeeping” VOL 17, No 1, January 1999, page 2; article entitled “ Some Things Never Change”: The innkeeper is still the most common reason guests give for a satisfying visit and breakfast is the focal point of service and socializing.
Accurate reservation booking records and financial accounting must be kept up-to-date and all taxes and fees paid in compliance with all local, state and federal laws.
Adequate B&B liability business insurance above and beyond the normal homeowners’ policy shall be maintained with an appropriate insurer and proof of such shall be evidenced. A minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence Liability Insurance, which will protect the guests and their belongings, must be maintained over and above any homeowners' coverage and evidence of this must be provided.
Guests must be given a reasonable deposit and cancellation policy at the time reservations are finalized. It is recommended that this policy be printed in a brochure or on the confirmation form.
- First Aid Kit and/or supplies shall be readily available.
The exterior of the B&B facility shall be attractive, well maintained and well lighted. The entry area and house numbers shall be well lighted. Exterior doors must have locks.
A B&B located in a zoning area requiring licensing and inspection shall comply.
The Owner/Manager shall take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of guests both inside the facility and outdoors. Emergency telephone numbers and the address of the B&B shall be placed by telephone(s).
The B&B shall have written instructions for emergency exits and any other safety requirements of local jurisdiction.
Swimming pools and hot tubs shall be maintained at all times to protect the health and safety of the guests. The owner/manager must take appropriate steps to protect guests and other persons from hazards when pools are not in operation and/or unattended.
Guests shall be made aware of any local jurisdiction’s parking regulations and shall be assisted in locating suitable parking for vehicles when not provided on premises.
Each guest room shall have adequate ventilation, cooling and heating appropriate for local climatic conditions. Good illumination is required in guest bedrooms with special thought to bedside (60 watt min.) reading lamps and mirrors. An inside lock in each guest room is necessary for guest privacy. Each guest bedroom shall have privacy shades and/or curtains.
Guest bedrooms, common rooms and food preparation areas shall be maintained at a high level of cleanliness, be consistently well maintained and provide a pleasant atmosphere.
- Signage must be adequate from street/road entrance.
The kitchen area shall be clean, well maintained and comply with high standards of sanitation and hygiene. Food quality and preparation as well as attractive presentation must be consistently high quality. A full or continental breakfast shall be offered and is included in the room rate. The type of breakfast shall be established at the time of reservation. The Owner/Manager and/or staff person(s) shall be present during breakfast hours.
Continental Breakfast may consist of hot beverage, cereal, toast and/or pastry and juice.
- Full Breakfast may consist of juice, hot beverage, cereal, toast and/or pastry, juice, with hot entrée (eggs, casserole, meats, pancakes, etc.)
- The B&B shall be in compliance with local, county and state health department rules and regulations. If a B&B is also a restaurant, tea room, etc, the current health permit must be available for inspection.
Since hospitality is the hallmark of B&B accommodations, a common room or parlor is desirable to encourage guest and host interaction. A large breakfast area where guests are served may also serve this purpose. Establishments with restaurant facilities shall have a separate private common area for the use of B&B guests.
Items shall include: tables, chairs, adequate lighting and reading materials.
Common rooms shall be maintained at a consistently high level of cleanliness, providing a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.
- The owner/manager’s personal items, not part of the décor, shall be removed from guest rooms.
- Adequate space
must be provided for hanging clothes and storing
personal items. Luggage racks, closets with
hangers provided, hooks on doors, clothes trees
and dresser drawers are suggested.
- Bedroom window
treatment will provide for privacy and to shut
out offensive light from outside sources.
- Bedroom doors shall have locks to ensure privacy.
- Guest room beds shall be comfortable with good, firm, clean mattresses. Bedding shall include a mattress pad, two sheets, pillows with covers and cases, and adequate blankets with attractive comforter or bedspread. All must be free of wear, soil or stain. Extra pillows and blankets must be easily accessible.
- Each bedroom
shall be equipped with: alarm clock, an emergency
light and an functional smoke/fire alarm.
- For guest stays
of more than one night, linen shall be changed
at least after the third night's use.
- The owner/operator’s
personal items, not part of the décor,
shall be removed from guest rooms.
There shall be at least one full bathroom for each two (2) guest bedrooms. Guests must be advised of shared baths at the time of reservation.
Adequate hot water with good water pressure shall be available for guest bathrooms.
Each guest bathroom shall be equipped with the following fixtures of high quality and at least standard size: commode, tub or shower with non-skid surface and/or a non-skid mat, sink, adequate space for guest toiletries not to include toilet tank top or medicine cabinet, well lighted mirror at the sink with a GFI (ground fault interrupt) electrical outlet, towel bars or hooks or clothes hamper. A ventilation exhaust fan is recommended.
Bathroom cleanliness shall be of the highest standard with fixtures and surfaces well maintained.
Each guest shall be supplied with at least one large bath towel and wash cloth, to be changed daily. Additional bathroom supplies shall include bath mat, lined waste basket, toilet tissue, drinking glass or paper cup and individually wrapped soap or liquid soap in dispenser. Extra towels shall be readily available.
Doors of shared bathrooms shall have privacy latch or lock.
The Owner/Manager’s personal items, not part of the décor, shall be removed from guest bathrooms.
ServSafe Certification Courses
The Bed and Breakfast Association of Alabama strongly encourages all its members to complete a ServSafe course.
Alabama has adopted the FDA Model Food Code which requires a demonstration of knowledge of the risks inherent to a food operation and to control those risks for foodborne disease prevention. The rules adopted by the State Board of Health require attendance of a nationally accredited course to satisfy the demonstration of knowledge requirement. There are currently three accredited courses - ServSafe, The National Registry, and Thompson Prometric. The board also deferred enforcement of this requirement until January 1, 2010. In the meantime an establishment can earn two bonus points on their inspection report for completion of an accredited course.
Food establishments that handle unpackaged raw animal foods, cook potentially hazardous foods to eliminate or reduce pathogens, cool foods, or where customer contact utensils are reused will be required to have at least one person on staff that has completed an accredited course.
Bed and Breakfast operations that do not require a food permit will not have to meet this requirement. Your local county health department should be able to provide specific information concerning your establishment. Mark Sestak of the Alabama Department Public Health can provide contact information if needed: 334-206-5375.
The ServSafe® program is the most recognized food safety training program and is accepted by more federal, state, and local jurisdictions. More than 1.5 million professionals have been certified through the ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification Examination. The ServSafe® examination also has been nationally recognized by the Conference for Food Protection (CFP).
ALABAMA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
The following is the link to Alabama Administrative Code stating the B&B exemption from Hotel standards: http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/
The citation is from the Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 420-3-11-.01(2)(b) which clarifies the B&B exemption .
Ron Dawsey, Director
Division of Food, Milk, and Lodging
420-3-11-.01 General Provisions.
(1) Purpose - These rules are promulgated to provide definitions; to set minimum
standards for the construction, operation, and maintenance of hotels; to provide for hotel
permit issuance, suspension, and revocation, to provide for inspections; and to provide for
plan review and approval. These rules shall be interpreted and applied to promote the
protection of public health.
(2) Definitions - For the purpose of these rules:
(a) "Approved" means acceptable to the State Health Officer based on his/her
determination as to conformance with appropriate standards and good public
(b) "Bed and Breakfast" means a private owner-occupied residence providing
accommodations for a charge to the public with no more than ten (10) guest
rooms for rent. Breakfast only may be provided to the guests. Bed and
Breakfast establishments are exempt from the Rules for Construction,
Maintenance, and Operation of Hotels (420-3-11) and the Rules for Food Service