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Legal issues for resource centres

In developing your resource centre you will have to consider a number of legal issues and take appropriate action if you are to operate safely and within the law. There is a whole raft of legislation associated with running a public building such as Health and Safety, Fire regulations and Disabled access

Most of these can be dealt with by an Architect or your local Council. An excellent book on the subject is "Plan, Design and Build, 21st Century Halls" published by ACRE.

You will also have to be covered by Public Liability insurance to protect against accidents to users of the centre. A good insurance broker can advise on this.

Once you are up and running, other legalities may affect you, such as:

  • Data Protection Act - if you hold personal details on a computer (Link?)/contact?
  • Employment Law - get advice from an Enterprise Agency

Health and Safety

You will have to take account of a range of issues including:

  • Access to the site, parking and turning
  • Emergency access and escape routes
  • Catering legislation including the Food Safety Act (whether or not your premises is registered as food premises), if you intend to use the kitchen for anything more than tea, coffee and biscuits.
  • Furniture - especially desks and chairs as related to use of a VDU
  • Computer screens: glare, quality, tiltable screens and so on

You can get advice from:

  • Your Local Council (in the UK)
  • Your Architect
  • The Health and Safety Executive (web link???) phone 0742 892346

Disabled access

In the UK, you must build in disabled access - don't forget parking spaces - and have at least one disabled loo - also consider safe floor surfaces and textured surfaces to help those with poor sight, and space for wheel chair users in the kitchen and through doorways. You can get advice from your Local Council in the UK - or your architect will advise.