An office fit out is the end-to-end process of making an internal space suitable for tenants to move into. It’s the transformation of a concrete shell into a working space; from installing facilities and raising the flooring, to installing team breakout areas, meeting rooms and workstations.
Read on for our free step-by-step guide to successfully managing an office fit out.
The big questions
Before you go any further, it's worth looking at the bigger picture. Yes, later down the line, you're going to be immersed in the detail. But to get you started, it's time to ask those big questions: why, what, where, when, who and, crucially, how much?
Why do you need a new office?
Identify your primary concerns
A new office, be it from a refurbishment or relocation, can benefit you in many ways. But what are your primary reasons for wanting a new workplace? And what secondary benefits can you gain?
To ensure your office fit out 'fits' your company's needs, get to know the 'why' well in advance. And if you're relocating, be prepared to answer the question, 'Why not refurbish your existing space instead?'.
Are your existing facilities outdated or simply unsuitable?
- Moving office, instead of refurbishing, allows you to consider a host of facilities that perhaps your old space simply couldn't cater for
Has your business recently undergone an expansion, contraction or reorganisation?
- In the current financial climate, the shape of many companies is changing on a regular basis. Empty seats or over-crowded offices, neither do much for staff morale. A new office can be flexible with the changing shape of your company - maximise its potential to create a pleasant working environment
Do you want to boost morale and productivity?
- A change is as good as a rest. And it's been proven that morale and productivity suffer in an uninspiring environment. The change of scenery provided by a new office could be just what's required to turn your workforce into a happy, productive team
Would you like to improve your company's image and reputation?
- Your office sells your business just as much as your people do. First impressions count for a lot. Your new office is a blank canvas, so use it to your advantage
Fit out tip
Think about how your business is likely to change over the next 5 years. Whilst your workplace needs to reflect your current business values it must be able to adapt to any future changes that might be around the corner.
Consider additional benefits
Are there other outside influences you have to consider?
- Compliance with existing and future legislation
- Health & Safety issues with existing space
- Walking the Environmental walk, not just talking the talk
What will your office fit out entail?
Consider what sort of fit out you want
Chances are, if you're reading this, a lick of paint isn't all that's required in your new space. But the scope of an office fit out can range hugely.
Before you go any further, identify what it is you want. And more importantly, what it is you're prepared to take on.
Refurbishing a new space
- It can save time and money if you move into a 'pret-a-porter' office. One that only needs the aforementioned lick of paint. Maybe a bit more. But if you go down this route, be aware that moving into someone else's old home may mean it'll never feel quite like, well, yours
Refurbishing your existing office
- Is moving your only option? Could you rework your existing space? This is something a good office fit out partner will be able to help with
If you think that a refurbishment is more likely to be on the cards, Morgan Lovell's Office refurbishment checklist1 can walk you through it, step by step.
Carrying out a CAT B fit out
- This is the most common interpretation of 'fit out'. The new space is a blank canvas with just the basics installed. And we mean basics - raised flooring, suspended ceilings, outside walls, Mechanical & Electrical services, and 'shared' areas such as toilets and stairwells. You get to choose everything else, and really make the space your own
Going back to basics with a CAT A and CAT B installation
- If the space you're looking at is particularly dilapidated, then it might be a case of rebuilding its shell, before starting on a CAT B fit out. This is also a good option if you're planning to make changes to the Mechanical & Electrical systems, etc, for environmental reasons
- Our Office refurbishment checklist can be downloaded for free at www.morganlovell.co.uk/knowledge/checklists/office-refurbishment-checklist