The inspection process starts when the inspector arrives at the property. They will look at the exterior appearance to make sure the paintwork is in good order and that the car-parking areas, paths and grounds are well-maintained and safe.
What you need to know about the inspection
Structural and Safety Requirements
Your establishment should be of substantial and durable construction, structurally safe, in good repair throughout and of suitable design. It should be in good decorative order and kept clean and well maintained throughout the property.
This should be adequate for the reception of the maximum number of guests. It must be well laid out and contain good quality furnishings, fittings and equipment and afford easy access to the public areas and bedrooms.
Display of Certificate and Charges
Your Tourism NI Certificate and scale of charges for accommodation must be prominently displayed, easily seen by visitors before, or immediately after, they enter. Charges for extra facilities such as internet usage, etc, should also be displayed unless these are included in the rate. All charges should be inclusive of VAT, where applicable.
A selection of current leaflets, brochures, maps and other literature relating to your locality should be available.
As well as the name, address and dates of arrival/departure, you are legally required to record each visitor’s nationality.
Instructions and Inventory
Any house rules you wish to be observed, or any other information which would be of interest to guests/potential guests, e.g. WIFI code, should be brought to the guests’ attention at the earliest opportunity.
A guest information folder is a useful way to relay information and can be provided on guests’ arrival. This should also contain copies of instructions on operating equipment and other items.
The Hostel must provide a dining area, of adequate size for the number of visitors expected to use it. There must be at least one window or roof light, the glass area of which is not less than one-tenth of the floor area and, where there is no adequate mechanical system of ventilation, at least half of which shall be capable of being opened.
Furniture, fittings and equipment must be of good quality and condition and be adequate for the number of visitors for whom sleeping accommodation is provided.
This should be adjacent to or easily accessible from the dining area and include: storage facilities for food and utensils; refrigerators; food preparation tables; cooking equipment for boiling, roasting and grilling; sink unit(s) with hot/cold water; wash hand basin and towel.
Garbage should not be stored in the kitchen area and must be removed at least twice weekly.
There must be one common room which should contain moveable, comfortable seating (upholstered chairs, sofas etc) and occasional tables, sufficient for the number of visitors for whom sleeping accommodation is provided and a TV.
Each common room must have at least one window or roof light, the glass area of which is not less than one-tenth of the floor area and, where there is no adequate mechanical system of ventilation, not less than half of which is capable of being opened.
Bathrooms, Shower and Toilets
Separate facilities for men and women must be available and clearly designated. There must be one bath/shower for every 10 visitors (or proportion thereof); one toilet for every 10 visitors (or proportion thereof); wash hand basin for every 10 visitors.
Rooms must be ventilated and equipped with a mirror, towel rail, clothes hook, toilet seats, a soap tray in the shower area and a clean and ample supply of toilet requisites.
Sleeping areas must be separate and can comprise bedrooms, cubicles, dormitories, chalets or a combination of these. Each sleeping area shall be of adequate size for the number of visitors, have at least one window, one electrical socket for every 10 visitors or proportion thereof and a suitable door which can be locked.
Furniture and fittings should be of good quality and include a bed for each visitor with interior sprung filled mattress and loose washable covers and pillows; clothing storage; carpets or rugs; curtains or blinds and wastebaskets.
The Hostel must be in the continuous charge of an experienced supervisor or deputy.
Hostels mainly intended for visitors under 25 must be under the direct management of an organisation primarily concerned with the provision and management of youth hostels. In other cases, Hostels have to be under the direct control of proprietors or their agents.
A Hostel must provide storage for cleaning materials and bed linen; a suitable room for visitors to launder clothing; at least one public telephone; first-aid equipment; secure storage for bicycles and other personal equipment.