Now's the time to make the most of your space. If you've spent months wishing desks were closer to the windows this is your opportunity to make it happen.

Visualise the blank canvas

  • Don't let your imagination be confined by current physical restrictions – walls can be moved, or even removed.

    • Ask your office design and refurbishment partner to help you visualise the empty space, before they draw up some indicative designs

Carry out feasibility studies and storage audits

Evaluating your space and needs now through a well done feasibility study can save you thousands. It will not only help you determine how to accommodate your people, but will also help you plan for future growth. A good office design consultancy should do this for you.

  • How many people / workstations do you need to accommodate?

  • Work out growth rates for each department and compensate accordingly for changes in your space plan

  • Take a fresh look at how your teams and departments work together with a view to maximising efficiency and communication

  • What sort of rooms / spaces would you like?

  • Calculate current and future size, capacity and usage needs for:

    • Reception areas
    • Meeting rooms
    • Executive offices
    • Presentation suites
    • Kitchen / tea points
    • Break out spaces
    • Comms room
    • Copy areas
    • Mailroom
    • Recycling points
    • Toilets and showers
    • Other, i.e. trading floor, library

Examine your lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems

It's quite likely your office refurbishment will involve stripping back to the building's bare-bones, so it's an ideal time to examine what you can change in your lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

If you share services with other companies in your building, then there's very little you can change from a HVAC point of view. Although you should make sure you're getting your fair share of cool air.

    • Look into how improving your lighting and HVAC systems can contribute to an environmental rating such as BREEAM®1
    • Make the most of natural light, but ensure solar gain is taken into account when assessing HVAC requirements
    • Compliance with the latest CIBS Regulations can contribute to attaining a BREEAM 'excellent' rating and also bring your refurbishment into line with the requirements of Part L(2a) of the Building Regulations
    • Install a lighting control system that allows zoning, presence / absence detection and daylight linking
    • If your HVAC is not building-wide, consider an EMS (Energy Management System) to make your office more energy efficient by controlling when and where heating and ventilation is distributed
    • Plan to install wireless sub-metering to monitor your new heating and ventilation equipment. That way, you can ensure it's all working properly from the beginning
    • If you're renegotiating your lease, it's a good time to review the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your building. Your landlord must produce one by law.

Discuss how to make sure works proceed safely and with minimum disruption

Guarantee health & safety

You are responsible for health & safety on your site, even if you have hired contractors. If you are carrying out an office refurbishment in occupation, it is even more crucial because your staff will be working near a building site. Therefore it's important that you work with companies with excellent health & safety credentials and procedures.

  • Ask your appointed fit out contractor to provide you with health & safety advice

  • Consider what arrangements you'd like contractors coming onto your premises to comply with:

    • Parking
    • Access
    • Use of welfare
  • Appoint a CDM2 Coordinator and a Principal Contractor if the project is notifiable

Incorporate safety in design

  • Take into account any phasing of work during the design stage to ensure that different areas of the office can be completed separately.

  • Your office design and refurbishment partner's designers should be fully aware of their obligations under the CDM Regulations, and should alert you to any risks to health and safety associated with their designs.

Manage your move

Whether you're moving out of your office temporarily whilst works are being carried out or occupying decant space if works are phased, you'll need to manage the movement of people and equipment.

  • Your office design and refurbishment partner will be able to advise if refurbishment in occupation is the ideal route for your business

  • Talk to your IT department, and get expert advice if required

  • Put someone in charge of managing the packing and decluttering process

    • This is the perfect chance to dispose of unnecessary clutter in your workplace – ensure you have sufficient waste and recycling facilities in place
  • Make arrangements with your removals company (even if your business is remaining in occupation during the works), as there will be times when you'll have to pack up as swing space is reallocated)

  • Arrange crates and labels for packing up

  1. BREEAM® - The Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method

  2. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007