Once you've got indicative designs, it's time to:

  • Produce a full layout (including desks, meeting rooms, kitchens, comms room, IT and M&E)

  • Put together some mood boards, to find the look and feel that's right for your business

  • Involve your marketing team in agreeing on a colour scheme that reflects your brand and identity

  • Ensure that your designs are compliant with all regulations, particularly

    • The DDA
    • The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
    • The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
  • Arrange 3D walkthroughs, to help you visualise the final result

  • Look for ways of maximising sustainability and energy efficiency

Refurbishment tip

Work your space plan around the existing M&E. Moving air-handling units can be costly, so plan your offices, people and meeting rooms around what's already there.

Going green

Sustainability isn't just reserved for new offices. There's plenty you can do within an existing space to make it more environmentally friendly.

Talk to your office design and refurbishment partner. They should be able to advise you on what's possible.

  • Think about aiming for a BREEAM® or other environmental rating

  • Make energy efficiency a key requirement of replacement lighting, heating or ventilation systems

  • Install a wireless sub-metering system to closely monitor energy use

  • Look at desktop energy reduction technology to save energy used by computers and peripherals

  • Include recycling points in the design

  • Maximise natural light through clever space planning and innovative daylight-capture systems

  • Specify furniture, fixtures, fittings and flooring with a high content of recycled material

  • Use paints low in VOCs2 and other toxins

  • Only use FSC3 certified timber

Find furniture that fits

Ergonomics and health and safety are strangely overshadowed by style and cost when it comes to furniture. First of all, take a long hard look at your existing furniture, as reuse may be the most cost effective option.

  • If you still need to purchase new furniture, then consider the following points to find the right furniture at the right price.

    • Are you getting good quality for your money?
    • The cheapest option isn't always the best in the long run.
    • Would you be better off renting, rather than buying?
    • Is everything covered by warranty?
    • What will it cost to deliver and assemble?
    • Will it be practical for everyday work?
    • Are the chairs ergonomic?
    • Will it work with your existing or new computers and other equipment?
    • Do you have enough storage?

Refurbishment tip

Make sure your design and build partner is large enough to have significant buying power with furniture manufacturers. Otherwise your furniture order could get delayed and your project completion could be compromised.

Calculate your storage needs

You'll already have a fair idea if your current storage capacity is meeting your needs. Your office refurbishment is the opportune time to calculate your exact storage requirements, especially if storage is a major problem in the existing space.

  • Consider storage for:

    • Individuals (in lockers or at desks)
    • Documents
    • Office supplies and equipment (storerooms)
    • The basics – don't forget somewhere to put your coat
  • Items requiring secure storage or safes

  • What can be stored off site?

    • Can you reduce the amount of space you need by moving off-site materials that are used infrequently or kept for legal reasons? Long term this could prove the most space efficient, and cost effective, option.
  • Future needs for all of the above

Take stock of technology

Assess whether your existing IT and telephony systems effectively support your business or if it's time to upgrade them.

  • Some things you need to consider:

    • Power points
    • Floor boxes and data points
    • Location of printers
    • Comms room / cabinets
    • Cabling
    • Backup generator
    • Servers
    • Service and support
    • Wireless sub-metering for your energy use
    • IT management and coordination – who'll make sure it all works?

Take this opportunity to reduce the number of printers through clever space planning. It will save you money, reduce your energy bills and get rid of the extra hassle of maintaining loads of printers.

Refurbishment tip

Comply with the DDA

The law requires you to consider the needs of current and future employees.

  • Carry out an access audit to ensure that you address any current issues

  • Consider the requirements of the DDA when designing your new space

Keep your cool WHILE works are on site

  • Work on site

    • Ensure environmental compliance
    • Separate waste, and recycle any plasterboard, carpet and other materials being stripped out
    • Follow the proper procedures to dispose of hazardous materials
    • Run weekly site meetings
    • Have a sign off procedure in place for any changes
    • Take photos of the work at every stage to record defects
    • De-snag as you go to save time later on and minimise disruption when everybody has moved in
    • Keep staff informed of the key dates, so they know what's happening when
  • Celebrate success

    • Arrange a completion party for your staff and / or clients
    • Take that long deserved holiday

The law requires you to keep a record of any waste that leaves the site and ensure that all your contractors dispose of waste properly. Make sure your design and fit out partner has excellent environmental credentials.

Refurbishment tip
  1. For a step-by-step guide to producing a sustainable office interior, see our Sustainable Office Design Checklist at

  2. Volatile Organic Compounds, emitted by many paints, glues, wirings, carpets and other materials, can be harmful over time.

  3. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests.