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Clearing the Air with Urban Engineering
With summer 2007 seeing the introduction of new legislation supporting a total ban on smoking in all enclosed public spaces throughout the UK, coming into force in July in England and April in Wales, leading smoking shelter and canopy manufacturer Urban Engineering hope to make things a little clearer for the thousands of businesses this will effect.
A number of premises will be affected by the ban, including; commercial property such as, offices, restaurants, pubs/clubs/bars and all ‘enclosed’ or ‘substantially enclosed’ public spaces. Those who do not take ‘reasonable’ actions to prevent smoking on their premises are liable to a £2500 fixed penalty fine, failing to display no smoking signs will result in a £200 fine, and those individuals who are caught smoking will receive a £50 fine.
Installing a smoking shelter is the ideal way to provide outside cover for smokers, however, this is not as straightforward as it seems and there are a number of additional factors that must be taken into consideration. The current legislation that is successfully in operation throughout Scotland contains a number of conditions that are likely to appear within UK regulations. For example, the smoking shelter must not constitute an enclosed space and 50% of the wall area must be open to the air. Also, the shelter must not have any objects such as a hedge or barrier closer than 1.5m from the structure or have an open side against another wall, as this will obstruct the flow of fresh air into the shelter.
In response to this Urban Engineering have designed a stylish and practical range of ‘compliant’ smoking shelters, allowing businesses to be covered well before the ban comes into force. Urban Engineering’s shelter range offers both quality and value, and as a division of Marshalls plc, the UK’s leading landscape transformation company, can be trusted to provide the highest levels of service.
Urban Engineering strive to meet the requirements of all our customers, and as such, have an in-house drawing team to produce bespoke designs allowing for any site circumstances to be accommodated.
With Scottish recommendations in mind, Urban Engineering has devised some FAQ’s to guide those affected by the ban, and explain some of the terminology commonly used:
1. What does ‘substantially enclosed’ mean?
In order for a structure to not be classed as substantially enclosed, at least 50% of the area of the walls/roof must be permanently open to the air. For example, if the structure was made up of four walls then two of these must be open to the fresh air. Awnings or retractable roofs are counted when assessing this.
2. What does ‘wholly enclosed’ mean?
Wholly enclosed describes a structure with no open spaces. For example, if a room had four walls that were totally covered by a roof and the only gap was a door, it would be described as wholly enclosed.
3. How do I calculate the wall area?
Add together the height of the roof and the area of the roof, and then divide by two. The solid parts of the structure must be less than ½ of this area.
4. Why a distance of 1.5m?
This is in place to ensure there is adequate ventilation of the structure and the flow of fresh air is not impeded, although this distance is only a guideline. Each location would need to be assessed on its individual circumstances. Barriers to the free flow of fresh air may include; trees, hedges, walls or fences.
5. How far can a smoking shelter be from a building?
A definitive distance is not specified within Scottish legislation. However, buildings or those structures that can be deemed as serving the purpose of a wall are considered when assessing if an area is substantially enclosed, and therefore cannot block any open sides of the shelter.
6. Can I erect a fence/wall around the shelter?
Yes, however, it is important that this is not within the 1.5m perimeter discussed above. Worked examples in Scotland have resulted in the recommendation that all fences/walls enclosing the smoking area must have a height no greater than 2m.
7. What about windows and doors?
Windows and doors do not provide an effective means of ventilation and should not be considered. The only way this can be achieved is to have areas of the shelter open to the outside air.
8. Do I have to create a smoking area?
Providing a smoking area is not a legal requirement, however, employers should consider the effects of not doing so, for example, infringement of Health & Safety regulations or creating littering problems.
Local Environmental Health officers can be contacted for further advice regarding compliance with smoking regulations.
For a brochure and advice on all Urban Engineering’s smoking shelters please call 0870 200 7979, or visit urbanengineering.co.uk to learn more. Alternatively call us on 01704 540 405 to discuss your requirements with one of our sales team.
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