Guidance on food hygiene standards for new catering premises

This guidance is not legally binding but provides advice regarding the design of catering premises taking into consideration current legislative requirements. Any alternative standards being considered should be discussed with and approved by a relevant officer from this department prior to being adopted.

Water supply

All equipment and food washing sinks, ice machines, water fountains, drink making machines, and taps supplying water for food use, should be connected directly to a rising mains water supply to ensure such water is of drinking water quality.

Surface finishes

  • floors, walls, ceilings, and woodwork must have a smooth, impervious washable finish. In addition, the wall areas directly behind cookers should have a durable surface finish, such as stainless steel, to allow vigorous cleaning. Alternative surface finishes may be acceptable in areas in which open food is not prepared, treated or processed e.g. bottle stores
  • where tiles are laid a waterproof grout should be used
  • polystyrene or fibre ceiling tiles are not suitable in humid areas
  • floors should be slip resistant in preparation areas  

Design and layout

  • must permit adequate cleaning and good hygiene practices
  • movable equipment is recommended to facilitate cleaning but is not required by law
  • if necessary, separate vegetable preparation area and a storage area for root vegetables should be provided. If such an area is not provided then pre- prepared vegetables should be used in the catering operation
  • adequate work top space should be provided
  • where the scale of the operation necessitates, separate areas should be provided for the preparation (and if necessary the storage) of raw meats and for dish and/or pot washing to prevent contamination of foodstuffs
  • enclosed storage facilities for dry goods or a separate dry goods store should be provided
  • openable windows to areas containing open food must where necessary be protected with fly screens which can easily be removed for cleaning
  • electrical fly killing units should be provided at strategic locations. Such units should not be positioned over work tops or equipment, or near bright windows

Hand washing facilities

  • an adequate number of wash hand basins, dependent on the size and use of the premises, must be provided for hand washing only. Each basin must have hot and cold (or mixed) running water. Wash hand basins are required close to toilets and at strategic locations e.g. at the entrances to kitchens (additional basins may be required in larger premises)
  • paper towel and liquid soap dispensers should be provided at each wash hand basin. Wash hand basins with non-hand operated taps are preferable but are not a requirement


  • an adequate number of toilets must be provided for employees
  • there must be an intervening space between rooms containing sanitary conveniences and rooms in which food is handled
  • hand washing facilities are required close to all toilets
  • minimum requirements one W.C. for up to five employees, two W.Cs for up to 25 employees or, if men only, one W.C. and one urinal for up to 15 men
  • if such facilities are to be used by males and females each WC must be contained in a separate room which is lockable from the inside
  • it is good practice to have toilet facilities for food handlers separate from those for customers and others
  • further advice is available from this department


  • all areas must be suitably and sufficiently ventilated including dry goods stores to prevent excess humidity or heat
  • toilets must be adequately ventilated directly to the external air to prevent aerosols and odours from entering food rooms 
  • areas where moisture and cooking fumes are generated e.g. cooking areas, wash up areas, bakery ovens, fryers, hot plates etc. must have mechanical extraction, extraction canopies and grease filters as and where they are considered necessary 
  • cooking odours should be extracted to a point where they can disperse in the atmosphere without causing nuisance to occupants of the building or any surrounding buildings. This can usually be achieved by terminating the ducting one metre above the main eaves (or any roof windows)
  • where it is not practicable (or necessary) to terminate ducting above the main eaves it should terminate away from windows to minimise nuisance 
  • systems are available to deodorise cooking fumes and may be worth considering in such circumstances
  • air should not be drawn into clean areas from dirty areas e.g. toilets, pot wash areas  


  • recommended levels are from 150 lux in stores to 500 lux in food preparation areas
  • light fittings should be protected in areas containing open food and dry good stores


  • all sinks must be provided with hot and cold water, the cold water coming directly from the rising main
  • if a sink is used exclusively for washing food, hot water supply is not essential
  • equipment sinks must be large enough to deal with the equipment normally used in the business. Twin sinks are preferred to allow washing and rinsing of equipment particularly where a dishwasher is not provided
  • separate sinks should be provided for food and for equipment
  • in small operations (non restaurant) the same sink may be used for food and equipment, provided it is cleaned between each process and each process is carried out at a separate time

Drainage manholes

  • manholes or other inspection points should not be located in food rooms. Where this is unavoidable and such points have to be located in food rooms they must be covered with a bolted down sealed, air-tight double cover         


  • drains must have a sufficient fall and should flow away from clean areas to dirty areas. Toilets should feed into the system after the food rooms and there should be adequate traps
  • all appliances connected to the drainage system must be provided with an effective trap        

Grease traps

  • where necessary an external grease trap should be provided e.g. Wade, Condor, Klargester or similar
  • where an external grease trap cannot be installed a suitable alternative, designed specifically for internal use, which is sealed and designed to facilitate the hygienic removal of grease may be installed eg a double sealed and chemically activated grease trap may be acceptable or a self cleaning unit where grease is automatically separated to a removable container     

Potato peelers

  • potato peelers, where used should discharge into an external sludge box
  • the starchy waste from potato peelers may affect the efficiency of grease traps and manufacturers advice should be considered regarding the need for such waste to avoid the trap       

Floor gulleys

  • floor gulleys should only be provided where considered beneficial
  • in rooms containing floor gulleys the floor should be sloped towards the gulley to prevent pooling of water
  • any floor gulleys and grids must be cleanable and contain an effective trap
  • floor gulleys should discharge directly into a manhole via a separate pipe system from the toilet waste and such a system should be designed where necessary to prevent the return (back flow) of sewage from the sewer into the food room e.g. Where the floor of the food room is above the finished external ground level the floor gulley should discharge into an external, open, Back Inlet Gulley Trap (BIGT) before connecting to the sewage system or where the floor of the food room is below the finished external ground level the system should be fitted with a valve or trap which prevents such a back flow. Such a fitting must allow maintenance and rodding

Refuse storage

  • refuse containers used for the storage of waste awaiting collection must be constructed of a durable cleanable material and should be lidded
  • a suitable secure open area should be available within the premises boundary to store such bins. Alternatively an enclosed ventilated bin store situated away from the food rooms may be provided
  • bins should only be kept in public areas as a last resort and they must not be a source of nuisance either directly or indirectly due to vandalism
  • bin storage areas must be directly accessible for removal of waste and waste must not be taken through food rooms from storage areas

Cold storage

  • sufficient cold storage facilities (e.g. cold rooms, fridges, freezers) for the separate storage of raw and cooked products must be provided
  • if significant quantities of foods are to be cooked in advance and cooled it is advisable to consider if a blast chill would be required to ensure efficient cooling prior to refrigeration. Otherwise a cool well ventilated area should be provided for this purpose    

Changing facilities

  • provision must be made to allow handlers to change and store their street  clothes and personal effects away from open food
  • depending on the size of the operation, separate enclosed accommodation (lockers or cupboards) for outdoor clothing may be adequate. Larger premises or operations where a complete change is required should provide separate changing rooms

Bar areas

  • each bar servery must have a sink and a wash-hand basin. In certain circumstances when a glass washer is provided in the servery a sink may be sufficient for hand and utensil washing
  • ice machines should be connected to the rising main

Operational requirements

  • a container for the temporary holding of waste in food preparation areas
  • adequate first aid materials including blue waterproof dressings
  • a digital temperature probe
  • colour coded polypropylene cutting boards for food preparation

Laundry facilities

  • laundry facilities/washing machines where provided should not be located in food rooms so as to minimise the risk of food contamination. This is particularly relevant in nurseries, care centres and nursing homes where soiled materials may have to be washed


For further information, please contact us: 

Last updated: 20 April 2021 15:43:29

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