Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.1 Overall Requirements

5.1.1 General Location, Layout and Construction of the Facility Inspection of Buildings

Content in the standard was modified on 04/27/2021.

Before an early care and education (ECE) space is made accessible to children, a qualified inspector should ensure compliance with applicable building and fire codes for all newly constructed, renovated, remodeled, or altered buildings. ECE programs should follow all applicable local and state requirements.


Inspections of facilities are used to help make sure that the space is safe for occupants. Building and fire code inspections help ensure compliance with critical structural and fire safety concerns. Inspections are especially important for older buildings or spaces that were not previously used for child care and that might contain materials that, when present or disturbed, can be hazardous for children. When facilities are inspected prior to beginning operations and before and after renovation or construction activities, the risks of exposure to potential environmental hazards are lessened. For example, floor tiles with asbestos would need to be properly handled during renovations to avoid releasing asbestos into the space.1


In addition, past use of the site may have left remaining environmental health hazards, such as chemicals in soil or groundwater, which could still be present. Thus, in addition to fire and building code inspections, assessing the facility for the presence of environmental hazards is important to identify potential contaminants that need to be addressed before children are exposed.2-4 Inspections vary in scope but are often focused on areas such as food service and drinking water. State and local health agencies may provide information about a range of environmental health hazards, assess facilities, and help answer questions about concerns that are identified in a facility assessment.


US Environmental Protection Agency. Healthy Child Care web site -

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education -

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). List of NFPA Codes and Standards.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start
RELATED STANDARDS Compliance with Fire Prevention Code Assessment of the Environment at the Site Location Ensuring Access to Fresh Air Indoors Water Supply Testing of Drinking Water Not From Public System Cross-Connections On-Site Sewage Systems Labeling, Cleaning, and Disposal of Waste and Diaper Containers Radon Concentrations Preventing Exposure to Asbestos or Other Friable Materials Testing for and Remediating Lead Hazards Construction and Remodeling
  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. Information for owners and managers of buildings that contain asbestos. Renovation and demolition requirements. Updated December 19, 2016. Accessed March 9, 2021.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) Guidance Manual.Reviewed October 30, 2018. Accessed March 9, 2021.

  3. Somers TS, Harvey ML, Rusnak SM. Making child care centers SAFER: a non-regulatory approach to improving child care center siting. Public Health Rep.2011;126(suppl 1):34–40 PMID: 21563710

  4. Environmental Law Institute, Children’s Environmental Health Network. Reducing Environmental Exposures in Child Care Facilities: A Review of State Policy.Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute; 2015. Accessed March 9, 2021.


Content in the standard was modified on 04/27/2021.