Minimum Office Desk Distance Requirements in UK

Space planning the gap between office desks

A guide to the distance between office desks and office desk space requirements.

A simple guide to office desk space requirements and distance between office desks when planning interior furniture layouts for three specific commercial spaces:

Office Desks

  • Office Desks / British Standard (BS5588) fire regulations state that the minimum space between desks/distance between desks should be 60 cm, with 90 cm space between desks for wheelchair users. However, the space between desks will generally be greater for practical reasons, so the distance between office desks is usually closer to 100 cm.*Please note that this figure includes chair space.
  • Minimum space between back to back desks UK:
    If people are sitting back to back please allow 200 cm between desks.
    Remember to think about space between the desk and wall for chairs.

Cafe & Restaurant Tables

  • Cafe & Restaurants Tables / If possible, a minimum of 80 cm of space is needed between tables to ensure that people can sit down comfortably and get up from their seat easily, as well as allowing space for people to pass.

School Desks

  • School Desks / Between rectangular desks between 140 and 180 cm are appropriate for adequate clear working and circulation space. This would include the space required for chairs and walkways.

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In addition to these basic measurements, it’s important to consider a number of key factors when determining minimum space between desks in office UK and minimum space between back to back desks UK.

The following factors determine the different sizes and requirements that may be needed:

Nature of Space:

  • This determines the style of interior furnishings needed and how they are best placed.
    From a modern, open-plan sales office to a small design studio, commercial workplaces can have very different furnishing requirements. For example, an art classroom is likely to require greater individual working space than a standard maths classroom.

Tertiary Space Required by Each Individual:

  • Depending on the tasks carried out by each individual or group in each area of the office, school, college or dining room, the amount of space they will require to carry out their work properly will vary. Design should take into account practical behaviour and movement through the space, minimum space between desk and wall as well as calculating space between desks and walls for chairs.

Nature of Cafe/Restaurant:

  • More formal dining areas require a slightly larger walkway for waiting staff rather than minimum space between desk and wall. Some cafes may have a different range of seating options, from wooden chairs to larger soft furniture like armchairs, so it is wise to consider these too.

Need more guidance? Ask our experts.

This is intended to be a very basic guide to office desk space requirements and minimum space between desks in office UK.

For help with space planning and commercial workplace design please call the Spaceist team for expert advice and guidance.


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