A key part of every business is that records need to be kept in a safe place in order to be available for inspection by any authority, such as the HM Revenue Service, or a staff member any time in the future. Technological advances allow for storage of documents electronically, but it is important that the original documents are stored for future reference. This means the mounds of paperwork accumulating each year is legally required to be stored for at least 7 years.
These documents and records need to be stored in a safe place where they can be accessed easily, and in an environment where they are not likely to be ruined or destroyed.
Our storage units at Stop & Store Fareham are ideal to store your archived documents and a large cross-section of businesses make use of our facilities. Companies such as building surveyors, solicitors and accountants are all required to keep their paperwork for several years.
These companies tend to generate mountains of paperwork and because it is not always practical for them to be kept at their offices owing to space constraints, self-storage units have become a popular and cost-effective solution to keeping these old records safely. In fact any business needs to keep old records of business operations safely, so a self-storage unit is the ideal answer to keeping these records safely if you are not able to store them in the office.
These are some of the requirements for the storage of archived documents.
Solving the Space Problem
When records become inactive (normally after the annual audit), it is good business practice to archive them by following procedures put in place to make the process as straightforward as possible.
- Identifying the records that need to be archived, with a policy of when to do so
- Have a controlled, easy-to-follow system of how they are to be stored
- Put in place a procedure for their retrieval and after the set number of years, their ultimate destruction
- Identify the appropriate place of storage (e.g. self-storage unit)
- Equip the place of storage appropriately (shelves and boxing)
Our self-storage units at Stop & Store Fareham offer you a convenient solution to the storage of your inactive business records, cheaply and safely.
It is a legal requirement that business owners ensure their archived records are kept safely and are easily accessible, so a self-storage unit could be the answer.
Several important issues need to be considered when looking at the storage environment of archived documents, over and above their physical security.
Light in any form can cause irreparable damage to archived materials, so using a self-storage unit will overcome this problem. Any sort of light such as ultraviolet light, or infrared light will damage your documents, causing them to fade and become weaker. Our storage units have no sunlight or other UV light coming in, and obviously the fluorescent light is under your control, thus offering a perfect environment for storing your archived documents. Always remember to switch the lights off when leaving the storage unit.
Boxing your documents will ensure that they are protected against any possibility of exposure to light. Boxing is inexpensive and will ensure your archived documents remain in good condition.
The Effects of Damp and Temperature Fluctuations on Document Storage
A cool, dry environment is essential to guarantee the safe storage of these documents for many years. Ensure that there is good air circulation between the record boxes and the shelves they are kept on.
Our storage units are cool which is advantageous for the long-term storage of your documents. High temperatures and humidity will cause damage to your archived documents.
Any moisture will cause your paperwork to disintegrate or go mouldy. Mould is a fungus that will destroy your paperwork. It is also a sign of a damp environment, so it is advisable to always check that there is none at all where you intend storing your archived documents. Mould can also be harmful to humans, so care should be taken around it.
Pests such as mice or fish moths will chew paper, make nests, and eventually damage your archived records beyond repair, so make sure that your storage is a pest-free place.
We check regularly for signs of any pests at our storage facility, Stop & Store Fareham. We fumigate regularly to give you the assurance that your documents are as safe from pests as they can be.
General Storage Legislation Requirements
There are certain legal requirements that must be followed when storing archived documents:
- The place of storage must be kept safe from burglaries and covered by an alarm system to keep out intruders.
- Access to the archived goods must be strictly controlled with only authorized personnel allowed.
- If stored on the ground floor, the windows need to be covered by shutters, metal bars, or mesh.
- The archived records must be clearly labelled and referenced in a logical manner.
- The place of storage should be away from any building activity to minimize the damage that may be caused by dust.
- Anyone who requires access to the archives should be recorded by a responsible person.
- Ideally no papers should ever be physically removed, but if they are, this needs to be recorded.
The reason for this strict control is to avoid any documents from going missing which can cause real problems for the business. The person ultimately responsible should therefore be trustworthy.
One of the reasons that businesses have to keep old records is for tax or other official reasons. Records that are older than a year and are inactive take up valuable office space and may need to be stored off-site in a safe place. These documents must be easily accessible in case they are ever needed.
For a cost-effective solution to the storage of your archived documents you may wish to look at the options we offer at Stop & Store Fareham. You will realise that it may be more convenient than trying to find extra space at your office.
Our units vary in size from 12 sq ft to 200 sq ft, they are safe, dry, pest controlled and ideal for the purpose of storing your inactive records. No contract needs to be signed and you can hire storage space from 1 month to as long as you need.
Conveniently located in the Fareham Shopping Centre, in the heart of the town, with easy access to load and unload your goods, Stop and Store is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.
Contact us on 01329 556174