Caring for Our Childen (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

Newly constructed, renovated, remodeled, or altered buildings should be inspected by a public inspector to assure compliance with applicable building and fire codes before the building can be made accessible to children (1).
Building codes are designed to ensure that a building is safe for occupants. Environmental health recommendations are designed to ensure the building and property are free of health hazards for children and workers. Existing buildings may contain potentially toxic or hazardous construction materials (e.g., lead paint, asbestos) that may be released during renovation work. Assessing the presence of such materials enables the management of potential exposures through removal, containment, or by other means (2).
Any building not used for child care for a period of time should be inspected for compliance with applicable building and fire codes. A thorough review of former uses of the building(s) should be completed to determine if there may be lingering hazardous exposures from past contamination that might require mitigation. The indoor, air, water, paint, building materials and/or other furnishings in the buildings need to be assessed for contaminant levels prior to siting. Collecting a sample of indoor air, water, paint, and building materials may also be necessary. A review of environmental health hazards by county or city public health environmental offices can help to meet safety requirements. 
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 Cross-Connections Preventing Exposure to Asbestos or Other Friable Materials Testing for Lead Construction and Remodeling
  1. Somers, T.S., Harvey, M.L., Rusnak, S.M. 2011. Making child care centers SAFER: A non-regulatory approach to improving child care center siting. Public Health Reports 126(Suppl 1): 34–40. Accessible at:

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2012. Announcement: Response to the advisory committee on childhood lead poisoning prevention report, low level lead exposure harms children: A renewed call for primary prevention. MMWR. Atlanta, GA: CDC.