Everything's been ordered, the dates are in the diary. How can you ensure you get it right, first time?

Are you putting safety first?

Safeguard Health and Safety

Under the CDM Regulations1, you are responsible for Health & Safety during the fit out. Make sure you employ a design and fit out partner who can guarantee not to let you down.

  • Make sure you've got, and are familiar with, the Health & Safety file for your new space

  • If you've chosen the right fit out contractor they'll be able to provide you with all the Health & Safety advice and assistance you could need

  • Designers have certain obligations under the CDM Regulations - talk to your office design and fit out partner to make sure they are aware of what's required and that their designs comply

  • Ensure all contractors receive an induction before they commence work on site - be satisfied they are aware of their responsibilities in complying with regulations, including:

    • Welfare
    • Working at heights
    • Dealing with asbestos
    • Access and parking
    • Accident reporting under RIDDOR
  • Appoint a CDM Coordinator and a Principal Contractor if the project is notifiable

    A project is notifiable if the construction phase will be longer than 30 days or 500 person days

  • If you're undertaking a phased occupation, remember that your employees will effectively be working on a building site. Review all your plans to ensure that you are not putting them at risk

  • Monitor Health & Safety on site regularly to ensure you and your contractors are complying at all times

Keep track on site

  • Environmental & waste management

    • Separate waste, and recycle where possible (it's getting increasingly easier to achieve recycling rates of over 90% on office fit out projects)
    • Keep a record of all waste that leaves your site. You're required to by law. A competent fit out partner will make sure you have the necessary paper trail
    • Dispose of hazardous materials properly
    • Ensure environmental compliance (including noise levels) at all times
  • Managing the fit out

    • Have weekly site meetings with your office fit out company and ask for regular progress reports
    • If you can't do it yourself, ask your contractor to take site photos on a regular basis and include these in any reports. It'll make it easier to catch defects
    • De-snag as defects are found
    • Agree on a sign-off procedure for changes

Are you ready to move in?

Keep everyone informed

You can have a lot of fun finding ways to keep people in-the-loop. Use all the tools at your disposal (especially the free ones).

  • Put your fit out online

    • Many companies are joining the likes of Facebook. Update your page with news about your fit out works - you could even upload videos of progress on site
    • Tweet about it. Set up a Twitter account for staff, stakeholders and clients to follow, so they can stay in-the-loop
    • Update your Intranet with news about the move. Got a company forum? Host designs and plans there, so staff can review and get a chance to voice their opinions
  • Talk about it

    • Hold workshops to discuss designs, furniture, and talk about what's happening when
    • Take staff and stakeholders on site visits where practical (and safe)
    • Having a team meeting? Perhaps you could hold it on site
  • Write about it

    • Create a staff newsletter, making sure to list key dates
    • Update your website and send an email to clients letting them know you're moving
    • Remember to get your stationery updated with your new address

Prepare to move

Probably the trickiest part of the fit out is managing the move - especially of people!

  • You have enough to worry about, so put someone else in charge of making sure all the packing gets done

  • Make arrangements

    • With your IT and telephony specialists - do they need additional time for testing?
    • With your removals company - are you moving in phases?
    • For sufficient crates for packing - do you have enough labels?
    • For temporary storage off-site
    • For the removal of waste and recycling from your old office
    • For additional security - do you need it at your old site, your new site, or both?
  • Make sure the key people are available, and nobody's booked a last-minute holiday

  • Send a final update to everybody affected, so they know what's happening and what they need to do by when

Get rid of clutter

  • Ask staff to dispose of any unnecessary clutter (the contents of your combined desk drawers could probably fill a small skip)

  • Put old files in storage off-site or dispose of them securely

  • Scan old documents if you don't need them in hard-copy, then recycle the paper

  • Arrange removal of old furniture or equipment - if you're donating to charity, they may come to collect it for free

  • Stock up on bin and recycling bags

De-snag and move-in

  • Schedule a walkthrough with your office fit out partner to look for snags

  • Arrange a final clean-up of the site

    • Building sites are dusty at the best of times, and new carpets create a lot of fluff, so make sure everything gets a thorough wipe down or vacuum
  • Test everything

    • Moving will be disruptive enough to your staff, so to ensure 'business as usual' test everything, including the plug sockets
  • Once you're happy, it's time for the final handover

  • Put in your order for the necessary supplies

    • Tea, coffee, biscuits... Champagne?

Celebrate success

  • Arrange a completion party for your staff and clients

  • Take that long deserved holiday.

  1. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007