Queen Elizabeth Centre goes smoke-free

The London-based Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre will become a smoke free venue in October, following over £500k of refurbishment work. The centre banned smoking on staff and contractors earlier this year, but from October will no longer offer clients a designated smoking area at booking stage. Executive head of HR Adam Lewis said the move was "important for the health and wellbeing of staff and clients". He added: "We felt that even though the legislation will not take effect until 2007, it would be beneficial to make the changes sooner rather than later." The centre is closed throughout August as the venue undergoes a £570k refurbishment programme. Work includes an upgrade of the air conditioning system and improvements to emergency lighting, internal redecoration, re-carpeting and the installation of a new covered entrance and signage. Completed technological enhancements include an upgrade of the networking infrastructure, allowing all clients access to greater bandwidth and the benefits of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Commercial director Stephen Norcliffe said: "Closing down this August has enabled us to complete the necessary work quickly and efficiently. The refurbishment work will be completed in October ensure we offer clients leading technical capabilities and pleasant, state of the art surroundings."

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