Vital checks to make before you consider moving premises

moving office

Posted on 31st Oct, 2018 | By Lorretta Tatham

We’re now well into the final quarter of 2018, when many businesses will be taking stock of their situation, and thinking about how to move forward with future plans. Some may already be starting to consider a move to bigger or more specialised premises in the New Year.

If you’re one of those business at the early stages of this decision, it’s worth taking the time to consider what you’ll need from your premises, and the standards they’ll need to meet. Obviously the exact requirements will be different for every business, but there are some key points that will always hold true. Considerations such as…

1. A fire safety risk assessment is a must

Most of the points we’re about to make share an equal level of urgency, but when you’re sizing up your new premises we’d recommend looking at fire safety first. This will involve a detailed assessment of the current fire risks and emergency routes on-site, including emergency exits, the complexity of the routes, and how people with reduced mobility will handle them. Alongside this, you’ll need to consider the overall age and condition of the building.

fire risk

It’s also worth thinking about whether your business will need to make any special concessions, or mitigate for any particular risks. For example, a stationary company may have large amounts of flammable stock on hand at any given time, whereas mechanics or welders will be routinely using tools that have the potential to produce sparks.

This is one of the many reasons to carry out the fire safety risk assessment amongst your first jobs. If the site is unsafe or simply unsuited to your business or industry, there’s no reason to pursue it any further. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by learning this early!

2. Carry out an asbestos survey

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012) requires that a risk assessment for asbestos presence is to be conducted wherever applicable. (If you’re not sure why this is important, you can find out more by reading our post about dealing with the risks of asbestos.) You’ll need to find out whether the building has a history of asbestos in its construction, and whether it poses a danger to you and your staff. If possible, request access to the Asbestos Management Survey – it’s the duty of the building owner to be able to provide one. Once again, if there are dangers evident but no apparent plan to deal with them, consider looking elsewhere.

3. Inspect the electricals, gas systems, and equipment or devices

Electrical inspection is similarly important. In the best case scenario, poorly-maintained systems or devices can fail suddenly, which can cost you a lot in lost productivity (and that’s just to start with). In the worst case scenario, poorly managed or maintained systems can even prove fatal. We’d advise obtaining in-date certificates and maintenance reports for electrical and gas systems, as well as any on-site systems or devices and equipment you’ll be using such as computers or power tools, or scaffold towers or ladders.

electrical

All landlords are legally required to have gas appliances checked every 12 months, and hold a CP12 gas safety certificate. If you’re not able to access a certificate, it’s worth getting the premises inspected by an independent, reputable firm. Gas can be a particularly potent danger. The fumes themselves can cause serious health issues, and in many cases they can be flammable or even explosive.

4. Examine the security

This isn’t quite as urgent as the other items on this list, but it’s still an important consideration depending on your industry. Builders merchants or construction firms for example are likely to have a lot of high-value equipment on site, which could make them a prime target for thieves. Before you make the decision to move your business, you should first take the time to ensure there are adequate security measures in place. These will vary from business to business. In some, it might be a simple case of locks and alarms, whereas other locations might necessitate full-time security guards or round-the-clock surveillance.

Above all else, the health and safety should be your top concern at all times, so if there’s anything to suggest that they might be at risk, this should be your key priority to resolve before you make the move. Here at Browns Safety, we offer a number of relevant courses and services that can help ease the transition, including Asbestos Awareness Training and certified ladder inspections. To book your place on one of our courses, or to take advantage of our professional expertise, feel free to click on one of the links above, or give us a quick call on 01254 615517. We’re here to help!

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