When it comes to modern business, particularly if it is a social space then we know that you are no longer allowed to smoke inside the building. However, there is still a large population of smokers in the country to providing accommodation for them makes business sense, particularly if you want them to remain there for quite some time. But we look at what you need to know in order to create a smoking shelter for your customers.
The first thing that you will need to be aware of is that any permanent structure will require planning permission before it can be built. This means that it is not just a case of getting the work done, you need to plan carefully before you undertake any work. In some cases, planning permission can be applied for retrospectively, but it is not recommended because if it is refused then you risk having to destroy the structure as well as pay fines.
If the smoking shelter is of modest size, then the chances are you won’t need building regulation approval. However, if the building floor area is over 15 meters squared and within 1 meter of a boundary then you might well need to get approval prior to construction. If the floor area is over 30 meters squared, then you will need approval. If the shelter in any way attaches to another building, then you should make sure you discuss it with building control prior to construction.
Make Sure It is Legal
You must ensure that any smoking shelter that you build is compliant with the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006. This means that your shelter must not be wholly enclosed or substantially enclosed. In practice, this means that at least 50% of your structure must be open to the air. Even if you have structures that open, e.g. shutters, doors, or windows these do not count towards the 50%.
Location, Location, Location
You need to be careful about where you put your shelter. If it is to be used at night, you need to ensure that any light or noise from the users of the shelter will not disturb nearby residents. You also want to make sure that any smoke from the shelter can’t get sucked into the air vents of nearby properties. You need to make sure that the open sides don’t face a fence or wall otherwise you might not comply with the 50% rule. You also need to make sure that the location of the shelter is safe for users of the shelter, this can be particularly true if it is in a car park or other area.
If you are considering getting a smoke structure built or are looking at the best way to provide accommodation for smokers at your business, then get in touch with us. We have a great deal of experience and will be able to make the best recommendation for you.