If you are a landlord for an apartment building, you may be concerned about second hand smoke in your building... and rightly so. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 36.8% of tenants living in apartment housing showed signs of being exposed to second hand smoke. Fortunately, most states allow landlords to designate their rental units as smoke-free.
But, as everyone knows, where there's a will, there's a way. It's a well known fact that smokers are addicted to nicotine, which means they may try to sneak in a cigarette or two occasionally. For this reason, it's a good idea to provide your tenants with a smoking shelter outside. Here's what you need to know.
Second Hand Smoke in Buildings
The researchers determined the number of people exposed to second hand smoke by taking a blood sample and reading their serum cotinine level, which is a metabolite of nicotine. The reason this is a problem in buildings like yours is that the air and ventilation systems in buildings cannot be cleaned good enough to completely eliminate cigarette smoke, which is why some landlords choose to ban smoking within their multi-unit rental buildings.
Provide a Custom-Designed Smoking Shelter
While you can screen smokers during the tenancy application process, it's still a good idea to provide a smoking shelter for tenants and/or their guests who may want to light up occasionally. This type of shelter is a shelter that is similar to what you find at bus stops, but it should be enclosed to contain the smoke. A canopy is another option for a designated smoking area, but it will not contain smoke. This is important in case non-smokers walk by and to keep the smoke from wafting into the building from an open door or window.
Contract with a steel fabrication company to custom design smoking shelters for your property. The framing will be made of aluminum or steel and will have tempered safety glass secured into the framing. It's a good idea to locate the doorway opening for the shelter in the opposite direction of the entrance to the building. Another thing to consider is the roof of the shelter, which should be sloped so snow and rain won't accumulate on the roof of the structure.
Amenities in the Smoking Shelter
Since smokers may want to use the shelter during the night, install a solar-powered lighting unit. With solar-powered lighting, there is no need to run electricity to the smoking shelter. You can choose a lighting system that is motion activated so it only turns on when someone enters the enclosure and turns off when they leave. Alternatively, choose a system that turns on and off automatically based on natural sunlight.
This type of unit can be fabricated directly into the framing and ceiling by the steel fabrication company. It's important to understand that the solar cells on the roof will not need to be in direct sunlight in order for the lighting to work at night, which means you won't be limited in the options for the location of the smoking shelter.
Seating, such as a bench, can also be incorporated into the design by a steel fabricator. However, keep in mind that by including a bench in the shelter, it may cause some smokers to linger longer than they would if there was no seating.
Also, since you are designing a custom-made smoking shelter, ask the steel fabrication company to include a butt disposal in the design. They can make and incorporate a large, ashtray-style container directly onto an interior portion of the shelter. Don't forget to have your maintenance crew clean out the ashtray when they make their rounds.