When starting a business or creating a new office space, it is important to understand the UK laws and regulations which govern the facilities that you are obligated to provide. 

In this article, we will discuss the essential facilities you need to legally provide in your new office space in the UK.

Health and Safety Facilities

The health and safety of your employees are paramount, so it is important that all necessary health and safety facilities are provided to create a safe workplace environment. This includes:

  • First Aid Kit – a first aid kit should be easily accessible in the workplace, containing essential supplies to treat minor injuries. For your workplace to be considered safe, your first aid kit will depend on what your business does. A small office will require a basic first aid kit, and an office above a warehouse will require a more comprehensive kit and staff training.
  • Fire Extinguishers – fire extinguishers should be available in plain sight throughout the office space and checked regularly. Conduct a fire risk safety assessment to identify what may cause a fire then situate fire extinguishers in accessible locations close to potential ignitions.
  • Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detector – during your fire risk assessment you identify where best to place smoke alarms and detectors. These are essential safety devices which should be installed in the office and checked regularly. Carbon monoxide detectors should be close to gas sources, like cookers or boilers.
  • Emergency Lighting – emergency lighting is required by law so that people can safely evacuate the building in case of a power outage or fire. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that emergency routes and exits must have signs and illumination. This could include emergency doors, stairwells or corridors based on your office layout.
  • Non-slip Flooring – non-slip flooring is important for reducing the risk of slips and falls in the office space. Your flooring should be in good condition and free from obstructions to avoid trip hazards.
  • Secure Electrical Wiring – all electrical wiring should be secure, with no exposed wires or loose connections. Electricity can be deadly for your workers, so the building and appliance wiring should be secure. In fact, appliances cause over 20,000 electrical fires every year in UK homes, so make sure they are secure in your office too!
  • Adequate Ventilation – good ventilation is important to ensure the comfort and well-being of staff. Not only that, but good ventilation is important to stop the spread of infection and viruses. So, if you want a healthy, happy workforce, adequate ventilation is key.
ergonomic office

Accessibility Facilities

It is imperative that your office space complies with The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) by providing adequate accessibility facilities. This includes:

  • Disabled Toilet and/or Changing Room – these facilities should be accessible and clearly marked with signage, in addition to your other toilet facilities.
  • Access Ramp or Lift – a Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) compliant ramp or lift ensures the building is accessible for people with physical disabilities or reduced mobility. If you are unable to provide this in your office you should provide remote working opportunities, or a room accessible to those with disabilities.
  • Disabled Parking Spaces – designated parking spaces should be provided for those with disabilities. They should be clearly signed and only occupied by disabled employees.
  • Tactile Ground Surface Indicators – these are required to inform visually impaired people of changes in the floor level, such as stairs.
  • Door/Lift Controls at Accessible Heights – door and lift controls should be installed at accessible heights so that people with physical disabilities can easily use them.

Seating and Tables

It is important to provide comfortable seating and appropriate tables that are suitable for different types of tasks. There is no specific legal obligation for employers to provide comfortable furniture for their employees. However, if you are moving into a new office it does improve motivation and productivity. So, the furniture needed to furnish your office includes:

  • Office Chairs – these should be adjustable, ergonomically designed, and have good lumbar support. Employees that are comfortable while working are reportedly more productive.
  • Task Lights – task lights should be provided to ensure employees can work in well-lit areas.
  • Desks – desks should be large enough to accommodate the tasks required, and provide adequate storage. You could even consider investing in height-adjustable desks so employees can work seated or standing. Sitting for long periods of time can cause numerous health problems.
  • Filing Cabinets – even though we are now in a more digital world filing cabinets are essential for storing documents and important files securely. Businesses still require to print important documents and paperwork, so it makes sense to have somewhere to store them. On top of this, there is no need to create unnecessary trip hazards with reams of paper.
relaxed office

Communication Facilities

Good communication is key to a successful workplace, so it is important that the necessary communication facilities are provided. This includes:

  • Telephones – telephones should be available for employees to use, or an intercom system if appropriate.
  • Computers and Networks – computers, internet access and a network system should be installed in the office space to facilitate easier communication between staff. These should be set up before you make an office move, with some moving companies offering IT relocation services to ensure no lost productivity.
  • Video Conferencing – this is an important tool for remote working as well as speaking to clients. Video conferencing can be used to communicate with staff in different locations if you allow flexible working. More importantly, it is unlikely that your clients will all be in your immediate area so video conferences may be the primary method of communication with the businesses you work with.
  • Printer & Scanner – these devices should be provided for employees to use when necessary.

These essential facilities will help ensure that your office space is legally compliant, and provides a safe, comfortable and productive environment for your staff.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your office provides the necessary facilities for a successful working environment. It is important to remember that regular maintenance and inspections should be carried out to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. The safety of your office environment should never be overlooked, and it is essential that you keep up to date with any new regulations or changes in the law.

Make your office move stress-free with Better Business Removals! Our experienced team of professionals will help you plan and execute a successful relocation, ensuring that all essential facilities are provided and compliance regulations are met. Get in touch today and let us make your office transition smooth and hassle-free!

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