Before signing on the dotted line, it's important to know exactly what you're getting yourself into with your new office space. Careful consideration can help iron out any potential problems before they occur.

  • Access at night and weekend

    If your staff are likely to need access to the building outside of normal office hours, you'll need to consider how easy it is for them to do so. Is there 24 hour access and security? Will you need to implement any extra security measures?

  • Age of building

    Older buildings can not only bring with them issues relating to maintenance, but also possible restrictions to building work. The landlord should be able to tell you how old the building is.

  • Asbestos survey

    An asbestos survey can help you to identify and dispose of ACMs (asbestos containing materials) safely and securely. Find out if an asbestos survey has previously been carried out or if the building has a high chance of containing ACMs.

  • Building manager

    Find out who is managing the day-to-day operations, security and services of the building. Is it a credible firm? Ask other tenants about the quality of service.

  • Building regulations

    Does the space meet current building regulations, or will certain things need updating, for example, lighting, heating and ventilation systems? This can add a substantial amount to your final cost, so make sure you check before agreeing to anything.

  • Building security

    Nobody likes to work in an insecure environment and your staff are no different. How secure is the building? Do you need extra security for different areas? Have there been any recent break-ins? Are windows, skylights and doors secure, or will they need to be altered upon occupation?

  • Canteen in building

    For those all-important tea breaks and power lunches, a canteen in the building can not only provide a place for staff to relax and buy lunch, but also a different environment to hold informal meetings. Is there a shared canteen or will you need to build a café in the space?

  • Contamination survey

    Has a contamination survey been done on any land associated with the property? Check beforehand to avoid any expensive surprises later on.

  • Cycle park and showers

    One of the contributing factors towards a BREEAM rating, cycle park and shower facilities provide your staff with an alternative means of transport that's not just good for them, but the environment too.

  • Disabled access

    Does the space/building meet current DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) regulations? In October 2010 the Equality Act replaced most of the DDA; check your proposed space is up-to-date with the latest changes.

  • Disaster recovery

    Does the building have a reliable back up generator in case the main supply goes out? How will the building fare in the event of a national disaster? Consider emergency exits and the time it would take your employees to evacuate the building.

  • Drainage

    If you are planning to add kitchens or tea points, you'll need proper drainage and exhaust access. Get a survey done before you plan any work to make sure what you want is feasible (and affordable).

  • Fire plan

    Are the fire plans up-to-date? Are there the right amount of fire exits for the number of people? Check beforehand in case structural changes are needed.

  • Growth

    Make sure you consider possible future growth. Nobody wants to undertake a large office move, only to realise another move is necessary a year later because you've been expanding rapidly. Does the new space allow for increasing staff numbers?

  • Landlord plans for refurbishments

    Does the landlord have any plans to update the common areas (reception, toilets, hallways)? Get the landlord to commit before you do.

  • Listed building

    If your building is listed, you may be severely restricted in what construction can take place. Your local authority will be able to tell you if your building is listed. Do some preliminary space planning taking the restrictions into consideration to make sure the office space still works for you.

  • Mechanical & electrical

    The last thing anyone wants is to go through a relocation project only to discover the mechanical and electrical equipment in the new space isn't up to scratch. Consider a full survey to check the current state of all equipment.

  • External noise

    Is the building on the main road, next to a railway or in an airport flight path? Does the building have sufficient double glazing? Does the space echo? Get an acoustic survey done.

  • Internal acoustics

    A noisy office is one of the most common complaints from staff. Check the acoustics of the internal space. An echoing space can be very uncomfortable to work in.

  • Floor plate

    Is the space on one floor or multiple storeys? Larger floorplates are more cost effective because it lessens the need for multiple teapoints, copy points etc.

  • Fit factor

    Is the floor plate a perfect rectangle or oddly shaped? Irregularly shaped buildings fit fewer desks and will increase your cost per employee per square foot.

  • Outside of building

    Looks matter. Consider the external image of your potential building, and what it says about your company. Are there any planned upgrades? If so, will it lead to an increase in your management charge?

  • Outward views

    Evaluate the quality of the views outside. Good views and access to natural light reduce stress for employees. Check for any potential changes to the views to avoid disappointment later.

  • Parking

    Are there enough spaces? If your building doesn't have its own car park, is there sufficient parking nearby for employees and regular visitors? You may wish to consider renting out several individual parking spaces for those all-important client visits.

  • Permissions

    Consider who you'll need to gain permission from to alter any aspect of the space. From the local authority to the building manager, make sure you speak to the relevant parties beforehand.

  • Pollution

    Is the building close to a major motorway, factory or airport? Consider carrying out an air quality survey.

  • Post room

    Does the building have a post room that you can share, or will you have to install your own facilities?

  • Raised floor for cabling

    Certain types of cables will require raised flooring. If there is no raised flooring you'll have to get creative with your space planning to get data and power to your staff.

  • Reception/porter

    Will you have access to a joint reception or porter service? If not, you may need to design a reception area into the space.

  • Risk of flooding

    Nobody wants to come into the office in the morning to find the place underwater. Consider any possible flooding risks; is the plumbing up to scratch? Is the office in a flood risk area? Will you need extra insurance?

  • Services

    Air conditioning, plumbing, heating and waste disposal will all need careful consideration, but are often overlooked. Are any of these joint services with other tenants? Will you need to provide any of these yourselves?

  • Lifts

    Older lifts can be easily re-skinned to look like new, but underneath can be well worn and ageing. Find out their real age and mechanical condition.

  • Size

    How many people can the space hold? Will it be a tight squeeze, or need careful space planning to fit your staff?

Get your office design company to do a 'test fit' of the space before deciding on a property. That way you can be sure you're getting exactly the right amount of space for your business.

  • Storage

    Have you calculated your storage needs for the new space? Calculating the cost per square foot for your storage may encourage you to consider offsite storage or electronic archiving.

  • Which floor/s will you be on?

    In a multi-storey building, the floor you're on can have all sorts of implications. Lower floors can cause privacy issues and can be noisy next to busy streets. If your staff are split over several floors will this affect communication, costs or security?

  • Who is the landlord?

    Are they located in another country, or nearby? Will they be able to react to your needs quickly and effectively? It's worth finding out as you may need quick answers when it comes to getting approvals for any alterations to your space.

  • Windows

    Double glazing may seem like a given now, but many older buildings may need upgrading. This could add a substantial amount to your fit out cost. If you are considering street level windows, you may want to consider vulnerability to vandalism. Do they provide enough privacy to your business?

  1. BREEAM is the UK's leading method of reviewing and improving the environmental performance of office buildings. For more information visit:

  2. More information on the Equality Act 2010 can be found here: