What is an office fit-out?
An office fit-out is a term used to describe the transformation of a workspace so that an occupier can use it.
Fit-outs have varying levels of detail, from creating an empty shell of a building to a blank canvas that can be tailored by the occupier with branding and individualised workspaces.
In many cases, a building’s construction is completed by a developer, while the fit-out is completed by a specialist firm appointed by the occupier.
What are the types of office fit-out?
Office fit-outs can take a range of different forms, depending on the requirements of the occupant and the levels of development work in the potential space. The main three types are:
Shell & core
A shell-and-core development (or base-build) is the construction of your building’s foundations and structure. This remit can also include:
- Common areas (e.g. reception, toilets, basement, lift shafts, parking bays)
- External works (e.g. the building facade)
- Building envelope (walls, floor, roof, windows, doors etc.)
Category A fit-out
A category A fit-out is the works completed by a developer for an occupier’s future space. Although there is no standard definition, category A fit-outs often include:
- HVAC and emergency systems
- Raised floors and suspended ceilings
- Mechanical and electrical services
Category B fit-out
Category B fit-out works go a step further, by completing the fit-out to your specific company requirements. This fit-out can also include modifications to shell and core and category A installations to accommodate your operational needs. Category B fit-outs usually include:
- Development of workstations, cubicles and breakout areas
- Creation of meeting rooms
- Furniture procurement and installation
- The fit-out of communal areas (e.g. company reception, breakout spaces)
- Specialist lighting
- Tech, IT and audio-visual installation
- Addition of final finishes, signage and branding
Is a refurbishment project also a Cat B fit-out?
The terms refurbishment and fit-out are now often interchangeable. However, a refurbishment refers specifically to the reconfiguring of an occupier’s existing office space.
A refurbishment project can include the stripping out an existing Cat B fit-out before replacing it with a new Cat B workplace that works better for the new occupier.
If you’re relocating to a new office, you’ll likely be leasing a space created to a cat A standard, and so you will require a cat B fit-out. If you’re making changes to your existing office space, this would be known as a cat b refurbishment.
What is design & build?
Design and build (often shortened to D&B) is a simplified approach to the management of your project. It involves a singular team working together from start to finish in open communication and collaboration to deliver otherwise an interior project.
The design and build approach stems from the idea that when project owners sit at the same table with designers, builders, engineers and estimators, the best concepts are born. This approach enables intensified creative solutions, reduced costs and liability, as well as a streamlined schedule.
What is the design and build process?
What are the main benefits of design and build?
What is a ‘turnkey project’?
A turnkey development means that all the work is completed for the occupier by the fit-out team. This includes the designs and planning through to the construction of the space. All the occupier has to do is ‘turn the key.’
Often, the design and build firm agree with the occupier on a fixed price, where the contractor is responsible for cost control. This offers the client a reduced risk with one point of management, accountability and cost-certainty.
What are the benefits of a turnkey fit-out?
Reduced management and liability
Turnkey contracts reduce your need of managing the entire process of the project’s design and by giving the responsibility and accountability to a specialist. In order to ensure prompt payment, the contractor is required to finish the job to your agreed specifications and deadlines.
Single contract and process
By using a sole service provider, you remove the burden of making any contract with various parties for different services. This reduces the costs and time associated with searching and booking contractors and leaving the expertise with the fit-out specialist.
One point of contact
As the entire project is delivered by one team, problems can be accurately predicted and modified until the final design is ready and approved for the construction phase.
Reduced project timelines
With a single process for the design and construction, the specialist can begin procuring sub-contractors and materials while the plans are being finalised. As a result, this significantly reduces the project schedule as a whole, accelerating the delivery of the overall build.
Reduced cost overruns
Turnkey projects often can provide cost savings as you are only responsible for the costs agreed upon during negotiations. The contractor covers any increases in expenses, such as fluctuations in resources and labour.