How To Check An Office Space is Electrically Safe Before Renting
Considering fire safety before renting a new office space is an important process to undertake. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, and people will often be quite busy and rushed; it’s not a good environment to let potential hazards lie.
Spotting a few of the potential big risks and tells for fire safety can make the difference between a dream office and a nightmare.
1. Powerpoints should be safe to use
The most common, and potentially one of the most dangerous forms of neglect in electrical safety comes from simple wall sockets. Not only can an improperly grounded or ill-fitted socket cause electrocution, but you’ll also run the risk of frying equipment or sparks potentially starting a fire should it not function properly.
Your landlord has a duty to inform you of any hazards and upkeep your office space, but remember also that under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 an employer additionally has a responsibility for anybody performing work for them to be electrically safe.
2. Be aware of ergonomic risks
A second, often overlooked facet of electrical safety is proximity. Too much electrical equipment near each other produces a lot of heat, and a cramped space filled with both people and machines can make for a lot of potential hazards.
These can range from simple tripping hazards on cords and machines, shorting out equipment by knocking into things, overheating and electrical fires and overtaxing circuits for power draw.
Check if the workspace has adequate walkways and passages, as well as enough storage room for your equipment to be safely stored with no risk to people or other machines.
3. Don’t let dust collect
Undue amounts of dust isn’t just an unsightly thing to have around, nor is it only a choking hazard. Dust can be explosive if it builds up in a small area with little ventilation, especially around a lot of electrical equipment. Ensure anywhere that’s going to get dusty is cleaned regularly and well ventilated. A space lacking either of those things isn’t a place you want to risk working in.
4. Fire alarms should be working order
If you think the current situation might be a bit neglectful, a good place to start looking is fire alarms. If they’re not displaying signs of working (such as intermittent red lights, on most models), odds are the rest of the fire and electrical safety is going to be slapdash at best. If you can’t find any, that’s an even bigger warning sign. Your workspace must have functioning alarms, so be sure to acquire a log of the recent alarm tests and make sure it is regularly tested once you move into the workspace.
5. Thoroughly check the inspection logs
Before signing anything, and much earlier in the proceeds if you’re not certain of the veracity of claims, you should ask for a copy of the inspection logs for the property. This will tell you two things:
- You’ll know if the property owners are keeping up with the legally required checks and balances.
- You’ll know if they’ve been neglectful of anything in the past, how often maintenance gets done, and what to look out for in the future if you do commit.
Understanding Your Rights As A Renter
While you’re looking for the ideal office space to rent make sure you understand what rights and responsibilities you have before entering an agreement. Your landlord has a duty of care to ensure that any property that is rented out is safe, and to ensure adequate working conditions for the people expected to conduct business there.
Property owners are expected to have all electrical work done by trained professionals, conduct all checks and balances regularly, and the safe operation of the space. As long as you, as a renter, keep using this in good faith, and don’t put undue strain on any channels, they’re expected to cover for these eventualities.
Refer to your local and state laws, as safety obligations and laws differ slightly between regions
Speak to an electrician
Whether you’ve found a dream property but are unsure of the specifics you should consider enrolling the services of a professional electrician.
Consulting an electrician will remove the doubt and ensure the strength of your outcomes for a building that might become your primary place of business for years or decades to come; it’s a large investment in resources, time, and upkeep to go into blind.