Storage of Furniture and Personal Effects

BS EN 14873

Storage of Furniture and Personal Effects

BS EN 14873 is the first and only recognised quality standard specifically aimed at the storage of furniture and personal effects for private individuals.


Organisations that are certified to BS EN 14873 operate to clearly defined standards and their procedures are designed to benefit the customer at every stage of their move.


Some elements of the standard are mandatory, i.e. the standard says that certain measures “shall” be carried out and sometimes the exact requirement is specified. During audit by the certification company, any shortcoming against those will result in a “nonconformity” which will have to be remedied before a certificate is issued.

In other areas, the standard is less prescriptive and there are recommendations for best practice. When assessing a company’s performance against those, an auditor can show greater flexibility and if there is room for improvement the report will include appropriate recommendations and these will be followed up during the next year’s audit.

BS EN 14873 was written by persons with experience and understanding of the industry and a well-run removals company, offering storage services, should find it easy to follow and should not have any difficulty interpreting and implementing the requirements (which cannot always be said with more generic standards such as ISO 9001).

The standard is published in two parts. Part 1 dictates the Specification for the storage facility and related storage provision, whereas Part 2 describes the provision of the service; the resources and the methods to be used.


This European Standard specifies minimum requirements for the provision of storage facilities and related services, for furniture and personal effects belonging to private individuals and is applicable to all forms of such storage whatever the means of containment employed.

This does not exclude its application to services and facilities provided for the storage of items of furniture in other ownership. Part 2 specifies service activities designed to ensure that such a service is customer oriented.

A guide to the principles of the standard would include:

  • Management and operational staff will be competent and have defined training for all aspects of the service being offered
  • Staff will be motivated and know what is expected of them
  • If the contracted organisation is unable to provide “in-house” staff then sub-contractors will be fully competent, trained and work to the requirements of this standard
  • Products and services. Premises, containers and equipment will always be maintained in good condition
  • Adequate security and protection of goods will always be provided
  • Additional services, such as handling, additional receipts and partial handouts will be provided if required
  • Services will be continually monitored, assessed and improved
  • Communication and administration. Organisations certificated to this standard will provide clients with a written quotation/estimate clearly outlining the service to be provided, allowing clients to check that everything meets their requirements and that any special instructions and needs have been correctly interpreted
  • Clients shall be given the opportunity to inspect the storage premises and check the services offered to ensure they meet their requirements
  • Clients shall be invited to appraise the service provided and any question/s, issue/s or complaint/s will be handled quickly and effectively
  • Elements of the storage agreement. At acceptance of instruction, the Service Provider shall issue a recorded statement of any agreed variations to the published general terms and conditions, together with any additional conditions agreed between the parties. In particular the written agreement shall include:
    • Signature of the customer
    • Specific contact details for both parties including method of recording customers advice of subsequent changes to contact details
    • Commitment to advise the customer of the actual storage address and of any changes to that address (including the use of third party facilities)
    • Customers declaration of total value of items to be stored and identification of the basis for valuation
    • Final agreement of the extent of liability in the event of loss or damage
    • Terms and conditions relating to any offer of insurance
    • Special storage conditions agreed for all or part of the stored items including address of storage facility if appropriate
    • Agreed period of storage (whether fixed or open ended)
    • Terms and conditions relating to any change to the agreed period of storage
    • Charges to be made for storage, the invoicing frequency and the terms and method of payment
    • Terms and conditions, including minimum period of notice, relating to access, additions to, partial or complete retrieval, of the stored items
    • Charges to be made for storage, the invoicing frequency and the terms and method of payment
    • The procedures, if any, for periodically reviewing the declared total value, and storage charges if these are not detailed in the general terms and conditions of the agreement
  • Premises. Storage facilities shall:
    • Provide protection from the natural elements
    • Be monitored against potential vermin infestation
    • Provide uniquely identifiable units of storage space
    • Have secure entrances/exits
    • Offer facilities for customers to access stored items without the need to remove items from site
    • Have a system to record all access and egress to the facility containing the unit
    • Offer control of access/egress sufficient to prevent unauthorised removal of stored items other than through forced entry/exit or other illegal means
    • Have an Intruder alarm system, automatically triggered and capable of giving an audible alarm or alerting a remote monitoring system which shall be monitored on a continuous basis
    • Have a fire detection and alarm system providing an audible warning and a system or procedure capable of alerting a remote monitoring station
    • Have operating procedures and local fire control including provision of prevention equipment appropriate to the short term protection of the items stored and capable of extinguishing or containing fires
    • Allow allocation of space which is controlled through a system ensuring accurate recording of the identity of the storage space or storage unit allocated to each customer
  • A certificated company shall have a formal Quality Policy which shall be regularly reviewed and properly communicated to all staff involved in the storage process
  • A certificated company shall have a Quality Manual – to contain all the operational procedures, certain other prescribed procedures including recruitment, training, purchasing, maintenance of equipment, incident handling, quality control
  • A certificated company shall have control over quality related documents

When an organisation engages QSS (Quality Service Standards Ltd) to carry out its assessment and certification processes, a full day’s “Initial Assessment” will be carried out by QSS to audit the company’s compliance against the entire standard. Following this (and subject to the clearance of any nonconformities) a certificate will be issued, usually valid for 12 months. Annual assessments are then carried out, each covering certain elements of the standard and taking a half-day and normally leading to renewal of certification for a further 12 months (subject to any nonconformities).


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