When the smoking at work ban came into effect, smokers could no longer use a designated room within a workplace to smoke. As an employer you are not legally obliged to provide a smoking area for staff; however, depending on the number of smokers in your workforce, it may be advisable to do so. There are number of key design considerations when planning an outdoor smoking area and here we take a quick look at four of the main areas.
Entry and exit
In terms of security, it is advised that smokers exit and return through the main reception door of a workplace. This reduces the chances of doors being held open for an undesirable guest and means reception staff can be tasked with checking identities.
Is it in keeping?
A new structure must be in keeping with the building. This is a general aesthetic consideration and could be a legal requirement if the office is within a conservation area or is listed. Information on conservation orders can be viewed on the government’s planning portal, where you will also find information on planning permission for smoking areas.
Impact on others
It is imperative to consider what effect the smoking area may have on members of the public. Firstly, the area must not obstruct pavement users. It is also important to check that it is not situated near any windows of your own office or a nearby office to ensure that those inside don’t suffer noise pollution or secondary smoke from the area. More advice on reducing the impact on others can be viewed on the SmokeFreeEngland website.
Rubbish and litter
A smoking area may unfortunately involve an increase in litter. In addition to butt bins, general rubbish bins will be essential, with the area likely to become littered with food and drink containers. Anywhere human rubbish is left can become a mecca for nuisance birds, which means limiting the amount of rubbish is very important. Local bird control services in London, such as http://www.vvenv.co.uk, will be able to advise you about local bird populations and ways to prevent their presence.
These key considerations, in addition to how enclosed the structure is and the specific guidelines of your local council, are vitally important when designing a workplace smoking area.