Structural requirements of a food premises

Helpful Information

If you are about to start a new food business, or take over an existing one, we recommend that you contact us before you start up for information and advice.

We can provide advice and information over the phone, or if you prefer, you can call to make an appointment to visit us at The Council Offices.
We offer one hour of advice free of charge. Following this: further assistance can be provided at a reasonable rate contact us for further details.

Alternatively you can request that we visit your business and provide you with bespoke information and advice tailored to your individual business needs. There is a fee for this however Businesses that follow and correctly  implement all the advice regularly receive a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Score of 5.



Structural Requirements of  food Premises

The law requires that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises shall ensure a good standard that allows for the production of hygienic food and good practices.


The layout and design should allow for effective cleaning. Alternatively, equipment (tables, cupboards etc) should be mobile to enable adequate cleaning and disinfection underneath and behind

The layout, design, construction and size of premises must avoid the accumulation of dirt in places inaccessible to cleaning.

The design and construction, especially of high level surfaces, should avoid finishes that may lead to shedding of particles such as flaking paint, plaster or fibres (example: artex finish would attract grease and dust)

Permit good hygiene practices, including protection against cross-contamination between and during operations, by food, equipment, materials, water, air supply or personnel and external sources of contamination such as pests. If high-risk foods are to be stored or handled at the same time as foods which may contaminate them, then there must be enough space to allow high risk food to be stored and prepared on separate work surfaces and equipment.

The design and construction of food preparation rooms should avoid the build-up of excessive temperatures and must be capable of keeping food at suitable temperature.

Provide adequate natural or artificial lighting

Provide adequate natural or artificial ventilation to extract odours from the premises  and to ensure  suitable temperature conditions for the hygienic processing and storage of products. Where natural ventilation is provided, measures must be taken to prevent pests entering the premises (ie window and door fly screens)

Food washing

The provisions for washing food must be separate from the hand washing facility. 

Where appropriate, adequate provision must be made for any necessary washing of food.
Every sink or other such facility provided for the washing of food must have an adequate supply of potable water as required, and be kept clean and sanitised.


Wash Basins for Hands

An adequate number of wash hand basins must be available which are suitably located and designated for cleaning hands.

The number of basins will depend on the size of the business and the size and layout of the premises.

They must be located at strategic places in the premises, so that workers have convenient access to them.

Where raw and cooked food is prepared on the premises, it is preferable to have designated wash basins for hands for each food. If this is not possible then documented procedures must be introduced to control any risk from sharing such wash basins for hands.

Wash hand basins must be provided with hot and cold (or appropriately mixed) running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying at all times. (Antibacterial liquid  soap and single use paper towels are recommended to reduce contamination potential)

There must be a seperate and dedicated wash basin for hands in the vicinity/lobby of the toilets for use after using the W/C



Floors must be maintained in a sound condition and must be easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect.

Floor covering should be made of impervious, non-absorbent, washable and non-toxic materials.

Suitable materials are: floor tiles (quarry, vinyl or ceramic) with waterproof grouting, vinyl safety flooring, Terrazzo safety flooring or resin flooring.

Consideration should be given to floor drainage, and the design of the floor should prevent water pooling during normal use. Internal drainage systems should be trapped and inspection covers should be sealed and screwed down to prevent offensive odours entering the food room.


Wall surfaces

Wall surfaces must be maintained in a sound condition and must be easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect. 
Wall covering should be made of impervious, non-absorbent, washable and non-toxic materials. Suitable materials are: washable painted plaster (gloss or vinyl silk paint finish), ceramic tiles, stainless steel sheeting, PVC or GRP plastic sheeting, epoxy resin or similar smooth coating.
Walls should be completed in a smooth and easy to clean finish up to a height appropriate for the operations. This may be 4/5 rows of tiles or higher if operations create food splashes 


Ceilings and other overhead fixtures must be designed, constructed and finished to prevent the accumulation of dirt and reduce condensation, the growth of moulds and the shedding of particles.
Suitable materials are similar to those for wall surfaces, (washable painted plaster (gloss or vinyl silk paint finish) PVC or GRP plastic sheeting, epoxy resin or similar smooth coating.painted plaster etc.)
Polystyrene  tiles are not suitable due to fire risk and high humidity.


Surfaces (including surfaces of equipment, that will come into contact with food)

Surfaces, including surfaces of equipment, that will come into contact with food, such as plastic bowls, dishes, jugs and chopping boards,  must be maintained in a sound condition and be easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect.
This will require the use of smooth, washable and non-toxic materials. Suitable materials will include stainless steel, ceramic or food grade plastic. 
Joins between work surfaces may allow dirt to become trapped, continuous surfaces are best, alternatively joins should be sealed with a suitable waterproof sealant, e.g epoxy grouting or silicon sealant.
Scored and stained plastic may hold bacteria and cannot easily ve cleaned, so plastic equipment must be inspected regularly and replaced when defective.
Be aware that plastic degrades when used in tne microwave and plastic can migrate into foods so only use microwavable euqipment for the reheating of food


Doors, like other surfaces in the premises must be easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect. This will require the use of smooth and non-absorbent surfaces, particularly around hand contact areas. People often forget cleaning of door handles and contact surfaces so pay attention and choose smooth, non ornate finishes


Windows and other openings must be constructed to prevent the accumulation of dirt.
Where open windows would result in contamination of foodstuffs, windows must remain closed and fixed during production.
When opening windows, you just ensure they are fitted with insect-proof screens (which can be easily removed for cleaning) to prevent the entry of flies and other flying insects.

Storage of cleaning materials

Cleaning agents and disinfectants are not to be stored in areas where food is handled.

Adequate facilities must be provided for the cleaning and disinfecting of work tools and equipment. These facilities, e.g. sinks and/or dish washing machine with hot rinse cycle, must be constructed of materials resistant to corrosion and must be easy to clean and have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.



An adequate number of flush lavatories must be available and connected to an effective drainage system.
The minimum requirement is 1 toilet or WC for up to 5 employees. For more than 5 employees, additional toilets must be provided on the basis of the Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992.
All sanitary conveniences within food premises must be provided with adequate natural or mechanical ventilation. This is to prevent (as far as possible) aerosols and offensive odours from permeating food rooms.
Lavatories must not lead directly into rooms in which food is handled. Toilets must be ventilated and  there must be a lobby between the toilet and any food room. Ideally this lobby will be ventilated.


There must be suitable and sufficient means of natural or mechanical ventilation.
Ventilation must be provided to ensure that heat and/or humidity do not build up to levels that could compromise the safety of food.
Where natural ventilation is relied upon: you must take adequate measures to prevent pests entering the premises by the use of fly screens fItted to doors and windows.
A mechanical ventilation system may be necessary and should consist of a suitable canopy and extraction fan to draw air to remove heat, steam and grease laden fumes through an extract point. This may require the incorporation of grease filters which should be removed on a regular basis for cleaning.
Mechanical air flow from a contaminated area to a clean area must be avoided.
Ventilation systems must be so constructed as to enable filters and other parts requiring cleaning or replacement to be readily accessible.
Special attention must be given to areas where steam and humidity are generated in order to avoid the build-up of condensation. This will be linked to the type of ventilation system installed.
Before any system is installed you should seek advice from a ventilation engineer, for more information. You may also require planning permission for any ventilation stack.


Food premises must have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting.
Where fluorescent strip lighting is used over food preparation surfaces these should be protected with a tube shield or diffuser.
Lighting must be good enough to allow safe food handling, effective cleaning and the monitoring of cleaning standards.


Drainage facilities must be adequate for the purpose intended
Drainage  must be designed and constructed to avoid the risk of contamination of foodstuffs.
Drains must have sufficient fall to allow all solid and liquid waste to flow away.
All appliances connected to the drainage system must be provided with an effective trap. Inspection points must be available, but they must be adequately sealed.

Changing facilities

Adequate changing facilities for personnel must be provided where necessary.
Provision must be made to allow food handlers to change and to store their outdoor clothing (those they arrive at work in) and any personal effects (bags, mobile phones, purses etc) away from open foods. This is to reduce any chances of contamination.
It is good practice to have separate changing rooms.  In any event: clothing worn in and whilst preparing and serving food should not be stored or changed into in a toilet.

Food waste

None hand operated (e.g. foot operated) bins are desirable in a catering environment to prevent contamination of hands when disposing of refuse.
Food waste and other refuse must not be allowed to accumulate in food rooms, except so far as is unavoidable during the business operation.
It is good practice to remove all waste from the food room at the end of the day.
Food waste and other refuse must be deposited in closable containers. These containers must be of an appropriate construction, fitted with close fitting lids, kept in sound condition, and where necessary be easy to clean and disinfect.
Refuse stores (and areas where refuse is stored) must be designed and managed in such a way as to enable them to be kept clean, and to protect against access by pests, and against contamination of food, drinking water, equipment or premises.
Adequate provision must be made for the removal and storage of food waste and other refuse by an authorised waste removal operator only.
Refuse should be removed frequently and, depending on the size and type of business more than one collection/removal per week may be required. Storage facilities must be kept in a clean condition and the waste be protected from rodents or birds.

Water supply

An adequate supply of potable water must be provided.
Under normal circumstances water provided by "Severn Trent" will meet this requirement.
Where water is drawn from a "private" supply (i.e. well or bore hole) this will have to be of potable quality and meet the standards of the Water Supply Regulations 1991. In these circumstances, you should contact the Food Team at Ashfield district council for further help and guidance 

Suitable and sufficient storage for food will be required:

Refrigeration equipment for chilled, high-risk foods (storage or display) must be capable of maintaining suitable temperatures (Food must be kept at or below 8°C) 
Refrigerated equipment must have sufficient capacity for the amount of food stored within it.
Foods stores (dry goods, fruit & veg) should be ventilated to maintain cool dry conditions.
Ventilation may be provided by either mechanical or natural means.
All foods should be stored above floor level to facilitate easy cleaning and pest control.
Frozen  equipment must be capable of maintaining suitable temperatures and have sufficient storage capacity.