In this article we look at what an office fit out is, why businesses look to carry out fit outs and the types of office fit-outs that are available.
An office fit out is largely governed by a number of factors including:
- what are the client’s objectives (why are they having a fit out, what are they looking to achieve, how is their current design and layout letting them down)
- how is the business structured (do staff work individually or in teams or a mix of both; are there different departments and do they work in the same way, do departments collaborate)
- what is the condition of the building and office space
- what budget does the client have to complete the works required (does expectation match budget)
- when does any office fit out work need to be completed (when will the building be available), when can work start and when does it need to be ready to allow staff occupation.
In brief there are various types of fit out which we describe below.
Types of Office Fit Out
Shell and Core
Typically the shell and core refers to the main structural elements of a building i.e. the outer shell and core including walls and windows, leaving a range of construction and fit out work to be completed before the building is able to be occupied. The elements of the building usually include the following: the foundation and main structure, cladding, base plant, completed common areas such as receptions, lobbies, toilets; staircases, lifts, basements, parking lots and loading bays; external work and the building envelope including external walls, insulation, roofing and glazing. Other things that may be part of the build are: boundary walls, pavements, pathways and fencing.
However it’s important to note that these elements may differ from building to building and between developers and landlords. There is no standard for shell and core so some or all of the above maybe part of the shell and core fit out. The main objective is to set a base from which the landlord or tenant can then shape the internal space through a Category A or Category B fit out.
There are some advantages to a shell and core office fit out. As shell and core is usually only limited to the physical base build it means the building and offices are available sooner to businesses who wish to move in. It gives the tenant the opportunity to make the changes they require so they fit more specifically with their business needs and enable them to put their mark on their office space. By allowing the tenant to carry out fit out changes the tenant can be sure that the office can be designed and furnished to their specific needs ensuring they will get the most out of the space without having to work around fit outs that don’t work for them.
Shell and core also avoids waste as there are no fittings or fixtures that need to be stripped out when a business needs to make changes. This can also speed up the design process and be less costly. It may also be more straightforward for subsequent tenants to change the interior fit out.
Cat A and Cat B Office Fit Out
After shell and core comes a Category A (or Cat A) fit out. Typically the Cat A fit out is what the developer or landlord provides as part of a leasable office space from there a tenant can furnish the space to meet their own needs. Cat A fit outs usually comprise raised flooring, suspended ceilings, mechanical and electrical services, finishes to the internal face of the external and core walls, skirting, mouldings and doors, basic stair balustrades and washroom and toilet installation.
A Category A fit out is followed by a Category B (Cat B) fit out which completes the fit out to the tenant’s specific requirements readying the office space for tenant occupation. A Cat B fit out can comprise bespoke and enhanced finishes, partitioning to develop the space into individual offices, meeting and conference rooms, meeting room facilities, breakout areas, kitchen and tea points and reception area, staircase finishes including carpets, flooring, specialist lighting, IT and audio visual equipment and data cabling; decor including specialist finishes, branding and signage and office furniture including storage solutions.
For further details you can read the article “What is a Category A & B Fit Out?” under the advice section of our site or “What’s An Interior Fit Out and What Does An Interior Fit Out Contractor Do?”
Turnkey Office Fit Outs
In some cases a landlord may decide to fully fit out a building or office interior with all the fittings and finishes required to lease or rent a space so that office space is ready for occupation and tenants can move in immediately. This is known as a turnkey development (ready to use, existing in a condition that allows for immediate operation).
A turnkey office development provides a solution for many businesses wanting to move in and get up and running without any delay. This type of development means tenants do not have to decide fit and finish or in some cases even furniture as this will be supplied. There is also the possibility that the developer or landlord may decide to fit out only those parts of the building which are shared e.g. kitchen and tea points, break out areas and washrooms leaving other spaces like office areas undeveloped.
End of Lease Dilapidation Works
If you are moving out of an office building your lease covenant is likely to mean that you will have to restore the building to its original state.
Dilapidation work usually includes redecoration, office partitioning installation or removal, suspended ceiling repairs and replacement ceiling tiles replacement flooring, plumbing to remedy water leaks, malfunctioning taps, drainage, toilet cisterns, washroom repairs and fit outs, plastering and making good all wall surfaces and electrical repairs and installations.
JBH Refurbishments Office Refurbishment and Fit Out Contractor
JBH Refurbishments offer office fit out and dilapidation works. At JBH Refurbishments, we can work on behalf of the Landlord or tenant to provide preliminary costs and complete all necessary fit out work.
Take advantage of JBH Refurbishments 25+ years of expertise in carrying out Sussex, Essex, Kent and London interior fit outs by contacting us via our contact form or calling us on 0333 207 0339.