Minimum Office Desk Distance Requirements in UK

Space planning the gap between office desks

We present a simple guide on the requirements between tables and desks when planning out interior furnishing layouts for three specific spaces.

  • Office Desks / According to British Standard (BS5588) fire regulations state that the minimum desk distance between desks should be a minimum of 60cm and 90cm for wheelchair users. However, usually, the space between desks is greater for practical reasons, so the distance between office desks is usually closer to a 100cm. Please note that this figure includes chair space. If desk users are sitting back to back please allow 200cm between the desks.
  • Cafe & Restaurants Tables / If possible, a minimum of 80cm of space is ample between tables to ensure people can sit and get up from their seat comfortably, and allow space for people to pass if required to do so.
  • School Desks / Between rectangular desks 180cm is appropriate for adequate clear working and circulation space. This would include the space required for chairs and walkway space.

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Space planning cafe tables yellow

Alongside these measurements, it is important to consider a number of key factors when determining the adequate amount of space required between Tables and desks. The following factors determine the varying factors for different sizes and requirements:

  • Nature of Space: this determines the style of interior furnishings and how they are placed. From an open-plan sales office to a small design studio office, each place has different requirements. Art classrooms will need more space than a standard maths classroom.
  • Tertiary Space Required by Each Individual: This is linked from the first point. Depending on the tasks carried out by each individual or group in each area of the office, school college or dining space, the amount of space they will require to carry out their work properly will vary.
  • Nature of Cafe/Restaurant: More formal dining areas require a slightly large walkway for waiting staff and some cafes may have a different range of seating options from wooden chairs to softer furnishings, so it is handy to consider these too.

Only a basic guide, we hope it will be handy when the questions regarding the adequate space requirements arise.


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