How to Find the Right Nursery Building

This is an exert from the course ‘Open a nursery in just 6 months with a limited budget’.  If you want the full guidance as well the complete steps to opening your own nursery then enrol on the course by clicking here.

Legal Obligations

Only certain buildings can be used for a nursery.

These are buildings in  E class (previously D1). E class includes buildings that are:

  • Retail
  • Financial and professional services
  • Restaurants/cafes
  • Offices – along with health/medical uses,
  • creches
  • nurseries
  • indoor sports/recreation

Permission is not required to change between any of the uses within the new Class E.

My current nursery was previously used as a health centre (doctor’s surgery).

When looking for a nursery building find a building that is currently used as one of the above.

Other buildings can also be used for a nursery but it is more complicated to do so, as you would need full planning permission, which my get rejected.  I would only recommend choosing a different type of class if you have experience in this area.

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Ofsted Obligations

As well as the legal obligations, there are also some Ofsted regulations you must consider when looking for a building.  These are all listed in the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework Document which you can download here.  The key considerations include:

The number of children you can have in the building (section 3.57).

Ofsted state the following indoor space requirements:

  • Children under two years old: 3.5 m2 per child
  • Two-year old’s: 2.5 m2 per child
  • Children aged three to five years: 2.3 m2 per child

This is used to work out how many children you can have per room.  Ofsted are unlikely to measure your rooms.  Though, they would expect you to know the size requirements and have realistic estimates of the room.

How many rooms you will need:

1. A baby room (section 3.59)

If you plan to cater for under 2s you will need to ensure they have their own space/ room (unless on domestic premises).  This means you will need to have at least two rooms for your children.

2. A room for older children

As mentioned above you will need a separate room for older and younger children.  Which means you will need at least two ‘play’ rooms.

3. Toilets (section 3.60)

You will need at least two toilets in the building, one for staff and one for children (this is a minimum).

4. Kitchen

If you plan on preparing food on the premises then you will need a separate kitchen area.

5. Garden (section 3.58) 

A garden is a great plus.  Though, if you find a building without one you will need show Ofsted how you will still take them outside regularly e.g. going to local parks.


You would also need to take into account the safety aspects of the building.  There are many different aspects to consider

  1. Steep stairs
  2. Fire exits
  3. Radiator covers
  4. Stair gates
  5. Privacy
  6. Windows – accessible light, window latches
  7. Fire doors
  8. Smoke Detectors

Not all of these will be relevant to you or your building, this list is just to get you thinking of the things to look out for.

Searching for a Building

These are my top ten website to find a nursery building:

  1. Rightmove: search for your area filtering initially by property type using ‘childcare facility’, ‘healthcare facility’, ‘place of worship’, ‘hospitality’, ‘leisure facility’, ‘guest house’ and ‘pub’.
  2. Property Link: filter by ‘other – healthcare’ then by ‘Licensed & Leisure’
  3. Zoopla: filter initially by property type ‘leisure/ hospitality’. site doesn’t allow you to filter effectively so comes up with a lot of irrelevant building
  4. Realla: filter initially by use class d1 if available, if not try b1, c1, c2, c2a or d2 not much choices on here but allows you to filter precisely
  5. Gumtree: filter initially by ‘leisure & hospitality’ not as trustworthy, though can find some cheap gems
  6. On the Market: filter by leisure/ hospitality, not many properties and won’t find many that can be used for a nursery from the start
  7. Prime location:filter by leisure/ hospitality, not many properties and won’t find many that can be used for a nursery from the start
  8. Savoy Stewart: Only in London, not many properties though the properties can be used for nursery
  9. Bernard Gordon:Only in London, not many properties though the properties can be used for nursery
  10. News Now:Search specifically for d1 properties, filter by leisure/ hospitality or search for d1 property.

Once you have found your ideal building, negotiate on the rent and look into getting insurance and applying for business rates.

Learn everything you need to open your own nursery.


  • How to find the right building
  • How to apply for funding and open with a very small budget
  • How to create your own website
  • How to trademark and register your business/ nursery
  • How to find, employ and pay staff

It is THE MOST COMPLETE GUIDE to setting up a nursery in the UK.

All for just £249.99

Plus, use discount code ‘building130’ at checkout for an extra £19.99 off.


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