Nursery Building - Guide to Planning a New Nursery

So you have made the decision and are planning on purchasing a new nursery building. Whether this is your route into business, or a development of an existing business, there are a lot of things to think about. Here is a quick guide to some of the points you need to consider.

Size of building

Each additional square meter will have a cost implication; so it is essential that you get the layout of your new nursery building just right. You need to consider not only the numbers of children, staff, and rooms necessary, but also plan them so that there is minimal wasted space. If you choose a building which is individually designed, and unique to your business, then you have an ideal opportunity to do this.

Indoor Play for Nursery Buildings

Perhaps the most obvious, but the first thing to consider is the space allocation you will need. National standards exist for the allocated play areas for nursery age groups.

Space standards represent minimum space per child for the whole provision;

England and Wales;

Age Group under 2 years - 3.5 sqmAge Group 2 years - 2.5 sqmAge Group 3 - 7 years - 2.3 sqm


Age Group under 2 years - 3.7 sqmAge Group 2 years - 2.8 sqmAge Group 3 - 7 years - 2.3 sqm

This area can include space for quiet play or relaxation. It can easily be planned to provide areas dedicated to messy or wet play within the rooms. Provision of water fountains is also popular. Where preferred, layouts can be planned to give access to the w.c direct from the main play rooms to minimise interference with staffing levels.

Adequate Storage

As some areas may have more than one function, many nurseries benefit from walk-in storage areas, where play items can be stored between sessions. Planned storage can be particularly important to nurseries who share the main facilities with other community groups. This can be built into the floor plan of a new building and give you neat, organised, storage which will help extend the life of the toys and equipment you provide.

Toilet Facilities

1 w.c and hand basin to every 10 children over 2 years. Part M applies, so disability access requires an additional w.c. Many nurseries are able to use this as their staff facility as well which helps maximise use of space within the new building.

Outdoor Play

Safe outdoor play areas can be secured as part of the new project through considering L or T shaped nursery buildings. Here a partially enclosed area is created by the building shape giving ideal opportunity for covered verandas which offer all weather play. Remember to include outdoor taps for the children's gardening activities

Staffing Ratios

1 member of staff for every 3 children under 2 years of age1 member of staff for every 4 children aged 2 years1 member of staff for every 8 children aged 3 to 8 years of age

Office Facilities

A small office will give you the opportunity to have the necessary space and quiet to conduct any meetings (staff/parents/suppliers) and, if positioned next to the main access door, can ensure that you as owner/manager see every person who comes into your premises.


Depending on the type of care you are offering, you will either require a basic food prep area, where you can prepare mid-session snacks and drinks, or a full kitchen, where day care children have their healthy meals prepared. Planning the position of this can help you save space.


A warm, inviting, and safe environment will work for children and parents alike. Choose something that will set your business apart from the norm: like this lovely log building, filled with primary colours to stimulate young minds set against the warmth of the log wall.

Speed of Construction

Especially important if you are replacing an existing childcare building and do not want any interruption to your business. Certain build options, such as off-site manufacture, ensure that a large amount of the construction preparation is carried out prior to arriving on site. This can mean that a complete new nursery building is created in as little as 4 weeks

Disruption during the Build

When you are building your new premises, and hoping to create a positive impression on the community, you want a construction solution that will create interest and enthusiasm. Look out for the Considerate Constructors Scheme: participating companies have a focus on ensuring that they are good neighbours during the build process, which will stand you in good stead with the community when you open for business.


When you have planned out your new building you can start to look at the sustainable options as well. Make sure that your new building demonstrates your commitment to the environment by choosing a building that is constructed from sustainable materials, is energy efficient, and low maintenance during use, and will not be a detriment to the planet when It reaches the end of it its life.

Your new nursery building will not only be your place of work, but the face of your business: you want it to reflect your company's ethos. For more information on pre-school, school and sustainable buildings visit our website.

Original article