The managing agent at our new office won't allow my company to put in showers due to health issues - Legionnaires - this can't be true can it?

The tech company I'm working for is moving from Old St to offices in Aldgate.  One of the things we lobbied for was showers to be installed in our new offices.  Although the company I work for was quite happy to pay for the work to be done, the managing agent of the office block has claimed that they cannot put in showers due to risk of Legionnaires disease.

Sounds like complete cobblers to me?  Anyone got any experience of this type of excuse for refusing the installation of showers?




Sorry can't help with execuses issue, which sounds v lame - what about all those City gyms? Do their overheads include a special insurance aganst being sued for such an illness?  What about the block's air conditioning system?  That can infect anyone regardless of transport mode.

However I have a particular interest in the office blocks put up in the Aldgate redev that led to the gyratory removal in Whitechapel High St etc.  (Smallish print of 2006 planning app and cycling facilties.  Bigger issue the buck passing between borough and TfL on resultant road design.)  

Could you contact me off forum and tell me what office block you are in?  Who are the management/ground landlord.  Is there secure cycle parking in the building?

Plus Nick Searle, Kings X redev, at a recent talk on cycling and architiecture said that the facilities they first put in for cyclists, showers and storage, now are passe and tenants want more - e.g., managed secure cycle parking with repair access etc.  So it's a leasing point for developers that they can provide for tenants whose staff cycle (and run).

Thanks, Gerry

  • By Stily1 at 11:58am 14 November 2013

It's an interesting point. I work in environmental insurance and legionella is a big deal, and anything that spews attomised water vapour into the air could be seen as a potential risk. If the water systems were old and there was a chance that the water harbours legionella, then installing showers could in fact cast this into the air and sicken many people. Often insurance will exclude legionella for this very reason.....the risk is too great.

Also, the added moisture in the air could result in mold growth in the building structure, which can also sicken people.

All of this could lead to significantly increased maintenance costs and perhaps increased insurance premiums.

The gym question is a good one. I wonder if gyms typically have insurance in case their showers become a source of legionella.

I know that in Scotland last year there was a significant legionella outbreak, and I don't know if they ever in fact found the source.

You should forward details of this to the Myth Busters at the HSE.  They will look into it and if they consider necessary will name and shame.

Thanks for the replies - I'll definitely forward it to mythbusters, but I did think that possibly it's the insurance company's paranoia at work here.

It's annoying because our company are really bike friendly, and they are converted some of our parking spaces to provide bike racks so we can have secure storage, it's just the main landlord/agent being fussy about the facilities inside the building.

I do currently cycle in and just about get away with it (it's 20km each way) but with winter arriving and the need to wear a jacket, a shower would make life much easier.



  • By Leshere at 2:04pm 14 November 2013

Yes showers are a risk but then so are flushing toilets sio are they banning them as well?  The answer is proper management of the water system.  CHapter and verse here


  • By Stily1 at 1:57pm 15 November 2013

Great point about the likely mis-use of HSE as an excuse to just not do something they don't want to. This does tremendous damage to viable HSE rules and regulations and should be exposed.

I thought that in new offices/ re-fits over a certain size that it was now obligatory to provide staff with showers - sorry I don't have time to do the research..........

Also - if it was an electric shower, there would be no water storage / legionnaires problem ????

This post was edited by Helen2000 at 1:22pm 21 November 2013.

  • By Gooner at 10:14pm 19 November 2013

NO showers are in this day and age expected at workplaces as part of the health and wellbeing package. Employer is using a condition to scare monger and poor excuse at that, my god none of us would have showers at home. Showers fitted, serviced with proper defect reporting and maintainence will benefit all.

There is some sort of obligation on he managing agent to check for legionaires etc, a short visit every year by a specialist company does this and gets the managing agent off the hook, the cost goes on the service charge and is recoverable from the tenant.  But if its a commercial building with toilets in common areas this should already be done.  The real issue is the cost of installing the showers, as if the building is already let, then there is no return on capital for the landlord.  

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