How can I make my office Covid Secure?

How do I make my office Covid Secure? We have been asked this question many times over the last few months, in our view the guidance changes over time and we are sure that there will be other recommendations in the future. In particular when vaccines become available there will be different procedures that will need to be followed.

In the short term , the safest situation for staff is to not actually be in the office at all and to work from home. This is not always possible though.

There are layers of protection for staff which we can list later and of course a Covid Risk Assessment should always be made.

Although for some people working from home can work out fine, for many, the social interaction, management and the feeling of working as part of a team is missing. Humans are social animals. Many people look forward to going to work, once you walk away from the home environment and go to an office or work place, the mindset is changed. You can forget about home life for the moment, and if there are stresses and strains at home people can get away from this. The reverse is also true of course.

Practicalities of working from home.

There are practical issues that need to be overcome which are split into more than one area, so you have IT of course, how do you communicate with the office seamlessly, access information, network systems, software and phones? All can be overcome but not as perfect as being in the office.

Office furniture actually is designed to ensure that staff are as comfortable as possible and there are other legal requirements that offices have to stick such as the Visual Display Regulations, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Building Regulations to name but a few.

Working off a laptop in the spare room, sitting on a bed or sofa is not ideal.

For some, where people can work from a separate room, an ‘office’ then working from home practically is possible. Maybe the future is for people to be more part time at home with the advantages of working from home and perhaps going into the office once or twice a week to meet the ‘team’, catch up on training and buy into the culture of the Company. If people do not have the correct office furniture or proper seating the employer could be liable for work place posture issues amongst others.

Practical things that can be done at work

Advice is changing all of the time, social distancing can be quite hard to achieve so you need to look at the physical distances of where people sit and how they work and interact with each other. The first thing is to ensure that the staff follow your company risk assessment and procedures, things like taking responsibility for themselves if they are unwell and not coming into work, getting tested etc.

Cre8tive Interiors can provide:

  • Sneeze screens to fit onto desk top screens, either in acrylic or glass.
  • Partition screens, so full height glass walls.
  • Reception desk screens, made to measure.
  • UVC lamps to fit inside fresh air air handling units which kills 99.99% of all bacteria.
  • An examination of the office design, perhaps a redesign creating more break out areas, providing more space for staff, creating a more open environment as some staff may be working from home.

How can Cre8tive Interiors help

The best thing to do if you are not sure what to do is to pick up the phone or email and we will see whether we can help.

Air Conditioning News

Why have Ventilation in offices?

Why have ventilation in offices? We have been asked this a few times and there are actually several reasons. The question is more important at the moment with the current Covid 19 pandemic as people are worried about being inside enclosed spaces without ventilation.

Although this issue has been brought to many peoples attention, fresh air in offices is actually a legal requirement in order to comply with Building Regulations.


Refurbishment Projects

When we carry out refurbishment projects that affect fire escape routes, general fire protection separation in offices and warehouses we have to submit plans to Building Control to get approval. Part of the things they look for is in Part F which relates to ventilation and there is a required to supply a certain rate of air in litres per person. We therefore have to calculate the correct size unit for the number of people.

What about Windows?

Most offices have windows. In theory you could argue that as the office has windows it has fresh air ventilation so does not need any mechanical method of delivering it. How many people have the window open though? Particularly in winter when there is a howling gale outside as well as raining horizontally. People are just not going to open them. The best way to ensure that you have fresh air is to have a proper VAM unit installed.

CO2 levels

Although we can focus on C02, as well as being easily measured with a meter, there is an actual impact on people in terms of their performance if the C02 levels are too high. C02 is carbon dioxide and is a by product of combustion. Humans produce it when they breath.

Carbon dioxide levels and potential health problems are indicated below:

  • 250-350 ppm: background (normal) outdoor air level.
  • 350-1,000 ppm: typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
  • 1,000-2,000 ppm: levels associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air

The effect on office staff when C02 levels are above 1000 ppm cannot be under-estimated. If your office feels stuffy and there is a general lethargy in the mid afternoon where everyone needs more coffee and less is produced, there is probably not enough fresh air in the space.

Opening a window is good, and will create a difference but this is not always possible. In order to get the correct flow rates, and ensure that  the air is filtered then a VAM unit needs to be fitted.

Relevant Projects


What is a Mezzanine Floor?

The photograph to the right shows a mezzanine floor we fitted for a customer in Devizes.

Mezzanine Floor: There are several definitions if you look up the word on google. The wikipedia definition is, “ an intermediate floor in a building which is partly open to the double-height ceiling floor below.”

Perhaps a more useful definition is a Mezzanine is a “second floor“. Although usually the mezzanine level of a building is a partial floor, located between the ground floor and first floor. Another meaning of mezzanine is the lowest of a row of balconies in a theatre or symphony hall.”

Mezzanine floor in Offices

How does this all relate to offices and warehouses? When someone talks about a mezzanine in an office, what does that mean? If the main building is quite high, then you can introduce another intermediate floor level to split up the height of the building and increase the usuable floor space. Often this means not having to move premises and using the height of the building to maximise either the storage capacity or increase office space.

We define a mezzanine floor as an interdependently supported steel structure that forms a floor which can be used for storage or offices.

Safety in the event of a fire

There are some strict laws on the design and construction of these types of floors which are covered by Building Regulations. If you think about it, people will be potentially working above or below the steel structure and the Building Regulations are designed to protect people. Most mezzanine floors are made from stressed steel sections that are formed and cut to size. When heat is applied in a fire for example, the steel becomes soft, de-stressing the steel and the whole structure can collapse very quickly. The steel would not melt (unless really hot), but would bend and distort. We have several other blog posts in relation to fire performance:

Building Regulations.

Other articles or blog posts can be seen here, as well looking at the projects that we have carried out on the main project page.

  1. Is my existing mezzanine floor fire rated (it should be)
  2. Mezzanine floor protection.
  3. Why do I need Building Regulations
  4. Can I alter my existing Mezzanine Floor?
  5. How do I create more office space?


If you would like to have a look at some of our projects, please click the link to take you to the mezzanine floor page on this website. Below the main text will be some filtered projects with photographs of building.

Need to know more? Please contact us on 01380 7388 44 or email us at [email protected]


Project Management by Cre8tive Interiors

Saving time is one of the things that Cre8tive Interiors can do for a prospective client, there are however many things that go on inside an office. So physical things like partitions and ceilings, and the favourite one for our competitors is office furniture but all of the items are just things that can be purchased or not. The tricky bit is getting it all working together as well as getting the right specifications to meet what the client wants with balance between performance and cost. These are still very black and white things that can be quantified. What is difficult to measure is how much time is spent on trying to get something right and then organising it, which is what Cre8tive Interiors can do, carry out proper Project Management saving time.

A client may know a builder or a painter or electrician, but do they work well together? Are they insured? Are they ‘bonafide’ subcontractors? Do they want payment in cash? ( We do not deal in cash). Will they be available when required? Can the client arrange practical activities that depend on each other in order for things to work? Project coordination is one thing, the time it takes to get it all right is another.

Project plan

Saving Time on Projects - Project Management

What Cre8tive Interiors can do is to give the client time with effective Project Management, we deal with all of the sub contractors, payments, coordination of a project which allow the client to concentrate on their business making money, and we can concentrate on what we know saving the client time and therefore money. As we are carrying out projects every week, it is easier for us to organise suppliers as we give them quite a bit of work. As we tend to use the same fitters and sub contractors they all know each other on site and know the standards and qualities of what is required from us at all times.

Legalities of Proper Project Management

With larger projects the activities obviously get a bit more complicated, and if you are organising any construction activity then there are also some legal obligations as well. For example in the eyes of the law you are the ’employer’ of the sub contractors and you are therefore responsible for the Health and Safety of the people doing the work. Although you might want to get a relation, or a friend to do some painting or anything else, if they have an accident then as an employer the client is in serious trouble with the law as there are strict rules to protect sub contractors and contractors to work in a safe environment. All of this paperwork takes time, so many people do not bother, or if they employ Cre8tive Interiors then Cre8tive Interiors does this type of work and carries out proper Project Management on the project.

Detailed Knowledge

All building, alteration and refurbishment work is governed by the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM for short). Cre8tive Interiors are a professional company that assesses risks and produces method statements and risk assessments for the work. If the work takes longer than 30 days then the person organising the work has to by law, notify the Heath and Safety Executive with a document called an F10. This is a registration of the project. All subcontractors need to have the right insurance, with the correct liability insurance to carry out the work. A client organising the work themselves also need to have the right insurance to cover any building work. The insurance would stipulate that the client can only use ‘boni-fide’ contractors, each with their own insurance. If work is being carried out by a client on their own, the work area probably will not have the correct type of ‘all risks’ cover. Cre8tive Interiors for example when a project is started, has ‘ownership’ of the work area and so things like any damage that may happen, or anything stolen on site is covered by Cre8tive Interiors insurance policy. Please have a quick look at our CDM page by clicking this link.


If the work is very simple then the client could organise things themselves, but it does depend on whether the client has the right experience and knowledge to make the right decisions, as well as enough time. Cre8tive Interiors has been carrying out office refurbishment and fit out projects for over 20 years, so get over problems and issues on site often without the client ever knowing and this is just purely down to experience in this field. The client may be experienced in something completely different to refurbishment work, and be very good at it, and very knowledgeable, and makes lots of money in that particular field. Is it not better that the client focuses on their own business and let Cre8tive Interiors carry out the work, which will be better organised, legal, completed to the right standard, on time and in budget.

If a client employs Cre8tive Interiors then they will comply with the law, as Cre8tive Interiors can carry out all of the legal obligations required as well as organisation of the work saving time and money on any project.

What next?

If you would like Cre8tive to save you some time on your office project and want Cre8tive to project manage your project please give us a call on 01380 738844 or email us.


What is storage wall?

What is storage wall is a question we do get asked when we suggest installing it. As you can see from the initial picture above, it is a partition wall built from floor to ceiling, but has shelves in it. The system combines the functional requirement of a partition wall to be a room divider and the function of the full height cupboard. If you add the cost of a partition wall, to the cost of a full height cupboard then storage wall will be cheaper, and it also looks better as well.

The traditional places for storage wall are in meeting rooms and boardrooms, some of the projects that we have posted on this website have storage wall in them. Please have a look at some of the projects on our Storage Wall page for a better description and as this will give you a better idea of what can be done. On that page are also some projects with photographs so you can see what the systems look like.

  • We can introduce a pass door through the wall.
  • Glazing can be included
  • One of the most popular features is the construction of an Audio / Visual bay within the wall. This is ideal for either showing a screen, or hiding it, and including all of the presentation and sound systems within the wall. When not in use it is all put away.
  • We can build a back panel to the wall so that it finishes off the back of the cupboard in a matching wood finish
  • The internals are imensly flexible, pull out frames, lateral filing, plain shelves, or even a coat rack and hangers is possible.
  • Finishing the front of the doors we can also apply a digital image so that the doors look hidden.

If you would like to know more please give us a call on 0138 738844, or email us at [email protected]


Made in Britain

This may seem a topical post at the moment with the current news on Brexit, it is however relevant to us at Cre8tive Interiors. We note with interest what is going on, as we only use UK suppliers and have done for the last 20 years, whatever happens will not affect our projects. Made in Britain products are important to us.

Our background in Engineering and Manufacturing has meant we are very much supportive of British Manufacturing, over the last 20 years we have always thought of where product is made. We have experience of a competitor of ours that won a project against us using an imported office furniture product a few years ago. It was for around 30 workstations where the supplier was overseas and they had a manufacturing problem in supply. There were some technical issues with some of the parts of the desk frame not going together properly. Due to the distance and language problems it took 6 weeks to get replacement parts which put the contractor out of business. Just this last year we have also been made aware of one of our suppliers having problems with parts coming from within the EU. In our view there is always a potential supply issue using overseas manufactured product. Parts may be cheaper but risky to use in our view. All the product we supply is made in the UK, in the unlikely event of something going wrong we can get things sorted quickly. Sometimes problems do happen, we did have an issue last year with an install but it was resolved the same day, so the customer was not actually affected at all and was none the wiser.

We do not know what will happen with trade, the potential barriers with customs, or duties to any imported item at this time so we do not think this makes much sense in using overseas suppliers just for those reasons alone.

Combined with the uncertainties of Brexit, exchange rate, import duties and the length of the supply chain we will definitively not be changing our made in the UK policy on manufactured goods supplied to our customers. It was never going to change anyway, Brexit or not.


Is my existing Mezzanine floor fire rated?

Is my existing Mezzanine Floor Fire rated? We come across this question quite a bit, and to the untrained eye it can be difficult to tell. Only an expert like Cre8tive Interiors can really delve into the detail. What should happen of course, is once a mezzanine floor has been installed, the company installing must provide a Building Regulation approval document to demonstrate the structure has been inspected, from initial design through to construction. The design of the floor depends on the function required and the areas involved.

Office or Storage?

Small floors that are purely used for storage, dependant on the floor area and means of escape may not need fire protection. If the design has been checked prior to construction, there are certain things like the composition of the floor slab, that need to be considered in the initial design. Depending on the height of the floor, the spans of the beams and what the floor is going to be used for depends on the amount of loading that travels down the pillars. Often assumption have to be made, and the bottom of the posts can have large floor plates in order to spread the loading onto the base floor that the mezzanine structure is going to sit on. So it is not usually an issue.

Fire Protection

Another consideration if whether offices, or people are going to be working on the raised floor area. If offices are built, then there is an extra level of fire protection needed, which is usually where suppliers fall down. Many ceiling fitters for example, will just fix a cheap basic ceiling and no-one will know the difference. However ceiling tiles and grid may not necessarily be fire rated, so in effect you do not have any fire protection for the underside of the floor. You may think so what? As mentioned in our previous posts, the problem with a steel floor is that in the event of a fire, the whole structure bends and softens. The steel will not melt, but the steel beams are stressed formed, rolled sections, so the heat anneals the steel releasing the stresses that are creating in formation of the shapes, so in effect go soft. What happens is that the whole structure twiists and if people are working on it, they have no chance of getting out, and this softening can happen really quickly.

Getting back to the main question, well how do you know? Most people will not. Fore example you be provided a test certificate on a ceiling tile, which may say it has been tested for 60 minutes, and you may get another test report for a different grid also showing 60 minutes, but unless they have been tested together, and in the situation needed, so under a steel mezzanine. then the certification is useless.

Suspended Ceilings - are they important?

On a new mezzanine floor the supplier should provide a test report for the tile and grid, tested to 60 minutes if office are required above, under a steel mezzanine floor. To our knowledge so far there are only a couple of combinations that comply. Just looking at the grid and tile to see is pretty hard if there is no identification on it, however various website are available online to look at the profiles and sections of ceiling grid in order to determine this. The same with the tile, you can look online, and then if you do not have the certification you can contact the support desks from the major suppliers of components.

Unfortunately the distributors of tile and grid still get it wrong, only this week we contacted a supplier, and they gave us the wrong information. Only the manufactures can supply the correct details.

As well as the suspended ceiling, there are other aspects to look at as well. The floor loading, edge protections, escape routes and protection of office / warehouse all have rules. Other things that need to be considered include heating and ventilation, all legal requirements with Building Regulations.

Other links and articles about Mezzanine Floors

Other articles or blog posts can be seen here, as well looking at the projects that we have carried out on the main project page.

  1. Mezzanine floor protection.
  2. Why do I need Building Regulations
  3. Can I alter my existing Mezzanine Floor?
  4. How do I create more office space?

If you would like to have a look at some of our projects, please click the link to take you to the mezzanine floor page on this website. Below the main text will be some filtered projects with photographs of building.

Need to know more? Please contact us on 01380 7388 44 or email us at [email protected]



Mezzanine Floor Fire Protection

Mezzanine floor fire protection is the most important task to determine correctly when considering a mezzanine floor, old or new. When a new mezzanine floor is installed by us we always liaise with Building Control to ensure that the correct level of fire protection is carried out on the steel structure. You may think that steel is pretty strong which it is, but in a fire the steel will tend to twist and deform at not very high temperatures and there are several reasons for this.

The effects of fire on a steel mezzanine floor structure

The steel sections that are used in the construction are in themselves very strong but will have been formed from flat sheet steel and either rolled or welded to form the sizes required. Heat on steel anneals or softens the steel which wants to convert to its pre-stressed state. The effect of this is that the whole floor structure twists and due to the weight of the floor, what is on the floor and the steel the whole lot can come crashing down quickly.

All of our steel structures are calculated, and often have triangulation steels in the corners of the floor to prevent twisting in just loading conditions, so the design needs to be calculated properly.

Mezzanine floor fire protection – Suspended Ceilings

Contrary to popular belief and pure incompetence by many of our competitors there are actually very few suspended ceiling types that are fully tested with a specific suspended ceiling tile to give the 1 hour fire protection required by Building Regulations. Some mezzanine floors which are small in proportion to a building and maybe are just used for occasional light storage may not actually require any protection as there is actually no perceived danger to employees and staff. 99% of floors will need mezzanine floor fire protection.

There are a few advantages of using a suspended ceiling over a plasterboard one, the main one is you can hide the services inside it. It is also a finished product without the need for skimming or painting. It can also provide sound performance preventing noise from the ground floor going through the floor. It is also quick to install.

We visit many installations carried out by others where the cheapest ceiling tile has been used, and the cheapest grid, and there is absolutely no way that the suspended ceiling is fire rated and we have to advise the customer of this fact.

Mezzanine floor fire protection other items.

There are many other things that need to be considered but that is perhaps for another article, if you are in any doubt please give us a call and we can check.

What else needs to be done to a Mezzanine Floor once built?

Cre8tive Interiors can carry out all of the work required so that the client can just use the space straight away. This will include the following:

  1. Initial design and layouts for the new space along with costs
  2. Building Regulation Approval
  3. Planning for the work to be done, understanding what needs to be carried out prior to the install date.
  4. Supply and Installation of the mezzanine floor, including relevant fire protection
  5. Electrical work
  6. Partitioning and suspended ceiling work
  7. All lighting, emergency lighting, air conditioning and ventilation
  8. Construction of any toilet areas, canteen or warehouse areas
  9. All types of flooring and decoration.
  10. Office furniture if the extension is for offices.

What Mezzanine floor projects has Cre8tive carried out?

  1. Mezzanine floor in Devizes (light storage)
  2. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Warminster for Offices
  3. Fire rating of a Mezzanine Floor in Milton Keynes for Offices
  4. Converting / Fire rating an existing storage mezzanine in Corsham for use into Offices
  5. Installation of a new mezzanine floor into an existing warehouse to create offices in Gloucester
  6. Installation of a new mezzanine floor to extend existing offices at first floor level and below in Salisbury
  7. Construction of Fire rated partitions on top of an existing mezzanine floor to meet Building Regulation in Corsham

Why have Building Regulations for my offices?

Building Regulations are a legal requirement enforceable by Law. The building regulations are designed so that occupants of a building are safe in the event of a problem or issue. The chances of anything happening are of course pretty remote but they do happen, and when problems happen people can get hurt. The Regulations have not been designed as a set of rules that prevent people from doing what they want do and to be as obstructive as possible, there are very good reasons for them.

They are designed to protect staff within buildings from unscrupulous owners of buildings or directors who do not care, or do not know that they need to comply with the law. We focus on offices, and there are many Building Regulations that relate to all kinds of properties, but offices is our speciality. Building Regulations for offices are not too onerous, and the main thrust of them covers fire protection and access routes for staff to get out of a burning building as safely and as quickly as possible. Associated with this is that it is a mandatory requirements that all commercial premises must have a fire risk assessment carried out every five years, we can organise this if the customer does not have one in place.

Non Compliance to Building Regulations

We come across many offices that have not had any consideration to the Law, offices have been built in the wrong place with no fire rating when they should be and this may be for a number of reasons, it could be that the Interiors company installing the partitioning did not understand the regulations and the customer has instructed the company to install the partitions in on price. Unfortunately it will be the directors of the company who will be in trouble if people can’t get out quickly enough or can’t get out of a building because they employed a fit out contractor that did not give them the right advice, people die and Directors go to jail. Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law and it is incumbent on the directors to understand their legal obligations to their staff.

Mezzanine Floors

We have covered Mezzanine Floors in a few places, but this is one of the improvements that people do in offices that is fraught with risk if it is not built properly. If you take on a new space with the floor in place, it may not comply depending on what you are using the floor for. Although you can plead ignorance if you have not determine the proper levels of fire protection, and in the very unlikely event something happens then the Directors are in trouble.

General Advice

We offer a service where we can provide a report which highlights areas that need to be looked at. It will not go into formal detail such as quoting for any work, or actually producing plans and drawings to get Building Regulation approval, it is designed to be before this stage is initiated as it may not be required. The report is designed for Directors to at least highlight areas that should be looked at prior to any work being commissioned as many Directors and owners of buildings do not know that things need to be considered in the first place.

Please give us a call on 01380 73 88 44 to see how we can help

Fire damaged office

Fire damaged office


What is Demountable Partitioning?

Good question. Before being involved with office interiors I did not know what Demountable Partitioning was either. Once in the industry you forget that for most people, they just want an office built or extended, and do not know that there are many different types and options to consider depending on what you want to achieve from the partition.<

What does Demountable mean?

The clue is in the name, the physical partition system can be taken down and relocated after being re-assembled should you wish to move it. The main benefit of Demountable Partitioning is that they create less damage to the ceilings and floors than a traditional metal or timber stud partition wall that is typically found in everyone’s house. Most timber or stud walls are plastered or tape and jointed, which means that when you remove them they make a mess. A demountable system usually has pre-finished plasterboard which is decorated with a wall covering, so when you dismantle the system the fixers just remove the board cover trims, and remove the finished boards.

You do get some mess still but no-where near as much as you would have with a traditional stud wall.

Why do Landlords like Demountable Partitions.

Some landlords actually insist that any offices being built in the office by a tenant have to be demountable. So anyone renting office space should check the small print. The main reason is that if for whatever reason the landlord has to get the tenant out, or the tenant leaves, there is much less mess and damage needing to put the space back to an original condition ready to let out again, if Demountable Partitions are used.

What are the different types of Demountable Partitioning?

The key difference is the thickness of the wall which reflects the performance and cost. All of the systems can have glazing of different configurations, heights, widths, single or double glazed, or silicon jointed. There are three basic widths, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm. The all glass version which has a very minimal frame, uses very thin ‘u’ channel tracks to support the glass

Summary on Demountable Partitioning?

  1. Using Demountable Partitioning is very tax efficient as they are seen as movable items and so can be treated differently in writing down allowances in the accounts.
  2. We can also lease Demountable Partitioning as they are movable, this spreads the costs of having the work done as Demountable Partitions always cost more than customers think.
  3. Leasing of demountable partitioning is very tax efficient and Cre8tive can provide illustrations, please contact us for further information.
  4. Most landlords insist on Demountable Partitions being used for offices as it is much easier to take them out should the tenant renting the space leave for any reason. The benefit is that is saves making a huge amount of mess and destruction that would be need with a conventional stud and plasterboard constructed wall.

Questions on Demountable Partitioning?

If you are not sure about anything as well as taking about all kinds of partitioning including Demountable we love to talk about projects and sort out problems and issues with space, please give us a call on 01380 738844