Self Storage

BS EN 15696

Self Storage

BS EN 15696 is an internationally recognised quality standard developed specifically for self storage facilities which will give both personal and business customers confidence in the quality of a company’s service and facilities.


BS EN 15696 is the only recognised quality standard specifically aimed at the provision of self storage facilities and related services for both personal and business purposes. Organisations that are certified to BS EN 15696 operate to clearly defined standards and their procedures are designed to benefit customers requiring self storage facilities.


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 15696 was written by persons with experience and understanding of the self storage industry. A well-run self storage provider 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).


This European Standard specifies requirements for the provision of self storage facilities and related services for both personal and business purposes.

A guide to the principles of the standard would include:

  • Specifications for the construction of the self storage facility including overall site and individual self storage unit security and access for customers including provision of equipment to assist in handling items
  • Promotion of the health & safety and well-being of the customer including provisions to meet requirements of national and local fire, health & safety legislation including, as a minimum, clean/dry environments, professional pest control measures, individual unit privacy for customers goods, fire protection including fire detection and alarm systems via remote monitoring and firefighting equipment including operating instruction
  • Site signage covering health & safety, fire regulations and lists of prohibited goods
  • How the facility reduces its environmental impact
  • Specifications for ensuring the site and units are properly illuminated
  • Specifications for customer access from unloading areas right through to the self storage units themselves
  • Providing customers with information on units offered, T&C’s, pricing, deposits, invoicing and payment terms
  • Requirements for personal and official identification and clear guidance relating to insurance of effects
  • Provision of written self storage contracts including clear information on any potential liens on customers goods in the event of a payment default and termination of the contract and notice period
  • Information on the service providers complaints processes and procedures
  • Service providers provision for after sales/customer satisfaction monitoring and how responses will be dealt with
  • Establishment of dispute resolution procedures
  • Establishment of full risk management policies and procedures including service providers legal liability, public liability and product/property liability insurance cover in accordance with national regulation; data protection/GDPR; training of employees to assist in recognition and reporting of suspicious behaviour
  • Establishment of a disaster plan
  • Establishment of a procedures manual suitable for the size and complexity of the service providers business
  • Procedures to recruit staff and maintaining records of job roles, competency and training/development requirements
  • Communication, to all stakeholders, of the objectives of the standard and allocation of responsibilities to achieve the objectives taking into account the size and complexity of the service providers business
  • Establishment of procedures to monitor actual performance and put in place, when required, corrective actions to ensure the service meets the requirements of the standard
  • 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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