Computer Laboratory

Facilities provided in offices

This is a quick explanation of various facilities provided in the offices of the William Gates Building.

General information

  • For information about security of your office and the building in general, visit the Access and security page.
  • For information about climate control, lights and windows in your office, visit the energy efficiency pages.
  • Toilets are located throughout the building. If you can't work out where they are, please ensure you ask someone to show you.


The basic provisions for each user are a desk, a deskside cabinet, a 5-castor chair, a computer, whiteboard and some filing cabinet or shelf space. If you have a special request, building-services may be able to help.


We have at least three different types of five-castor office chairs in the building that can be adjusted in different ways. With some models the seating surface can be moved forward and backward horizontally, with others the seating surface can be tilted. The height and angle of the back of all chairs can be adjusted.


The height of most desks can be adjusted. If the default height (72 cm) does not suit you, please contact building-services.

If you want to tie down in your room a laptop that has a Kensington K
logoKensington connector for a security lock, you can ask technician for a suitable steel cable. Be aware though that many of these locks are not very secure. Your desk may not provide a secure attachment point either, but one could be created by fastening a bicycle lock around one of its T-shaped legs.


Floor boxes

Below most desks, there is a floor box with three connector modules. These provide:

  • Power sockets: There are four British 230 V 50 Hz AC sockets with switch. They are intended only for low-power desktop equipment such as computers and desk lamps. They should not normally be used directly, but via an extension strip, many of which have builtin power monitors which can display VOLTac, AMP, Kwh, WATT, WATT MAX, POWER FACTOR, along with programmable values such as CO2/kg and TOTAL PRICE. They have a rechargable battery, so the information is not lost if they are briefly unplugged. Placing the strip on a desk makes it easy to connect devices such as laptops, and also makes it easy to see the display. If more sockets are needed, contact hw-admin for another.

    Details: Each socket is connected to one of the two bus bars that supply most offices on the same side of one corridor. Each bus bar is protected by a 40 A circuit breaker. There are usually no residual-current circuit breakers installed for office sockets (but there are for the kitchens and for the sockets in the corridors used by the cleaners).

    Overseas equipment: If you want to use foreign 230 V equipment that has no British BS 1363 power plug with fuse, check whether it has an equipment-side IEC-320 connector (2 or 3 pole). This is standard today for most PCs and laptops worldwide. Simply ask technician for a British replacement power cord. This is usually more convenient and reliable than using a travel plug adapter. Do not use foreign travel adapters that lack a built-in fuse and do not comply with British Standard BS 1363-3. For US/Japanese 115 V equipment, a suitable transformer is necessary.

  • Communication sockets: There are four multi-purpose Cat 6 UTP connectors, located in a removable module, leading to a nearby wiring cabinet where they can be patched for Ethernet or other connections.
    Each floor box has an identifier of the form WCxx-nnn, with the sockets labeled 1–4. When requesting a network connection from sys-admin, please specify the floorbox ID, and note which sockets currently appear to be connected.

The floor-box covers should remain fully closed to prevent cable damage and additional air flow. Cables have to be fed carefully though the liftable cable exits. Take special care when closing a floor box to avoid damage to any cables. Ask technician for help if you are not sure.


Telephones are on a Cisco VoIP system and are powered over the Ethernet connection. A second RJ45 socket on the back of the telephone may be used to daisy-chain a computer, and this facility is often used for workstations or laptops. The telephone number is configured as a property of the handset and does not depend on where it is plugged in. Telephones are allocated to individuals and if the phone on your desk does not display your name then it has not been assigned to you and you should contact telephone-admin for advice.

Voicemail is available and this and other facilities can be controlled from a Web browser. Further information about the University telephone system may be found at

The telephones have UPS protection and should continue to work for a short period after a power failure. An emergency analogue telephone is available in Reception.

Cleaning service

We understand it is important to work in a safe and clean environment. Cleaners should clean your office every evening, emptying bins and hoovering.

However, the cleaners will not disturb desks which are cluttered. Therefore, please keep desk surfaces free overnight once in a while to allow the cleaners to wipe them.
Alternatively, if you know your desk (or office) will be relatively clutter free on a particular day, you can let Building Services know, who will arrange a special clean up on that day - desk, carpet, windows, etc.

Keyboards, mice and screens are not touched by the cleaners.
The Computing Service organises a visit about once every year by a specialist firm to clean these.

If you have mechanical problems with a keyboard or mouse, contact a technician, who may be able to clean or replace them.


If a permanent marker has been used accidentally on a whiteboard, ask building-services for help.

See also