When a new office space is leased it will often be let in “Cat A” condition. This consists of a raised floor, suspended ceiling, light fittings and a basic air conditioning system. When a lease expires, it is usually the responsibility of the tenant to return the space back to Cat A condition.
A Cat B fit-out will include the finishes and requirements to meet the specific needs of the tenant. This will include partitions, decorations, power, data cabling, Audio Visual, joinery, security, specific air conditioning requirements, carpet, blinds and any fixture & fittings. In addition to this, the furniture will be installed during the Cat B works.
An Architect or Project Manager can be employed to produce a design. Once the design is complete it will be sent out to competitive tender and the contractor providing the best value response will usually be awarded the works to deliver the design. The Project Manager or Architect (usually both) will be retained to ensure the quality of the works. This is the longest and most expensive solution.
DESIGN & BUILD (D&B)
D&B Contractors will be invited to produce a design and associated cost. Different D&B contractors will provide different design solutions so quotations will not be on a like for like basis.
Often confused with Building Regulations, planning is rarely required with fit-out works. It could be necessary should additional air conditioning plant be required on the roof of the building affecting the skyline. Your Design & Build Contractor will advise if an application is necessary.
Your Network provider is likely to require the installation of a cable into the office space. The route of this cable often passes through landlord space and will require a “Wayleave” agreement from the landlord. This cannot be undertaken by the Design & Build Contractor as the Network provided will be contracted by the tenant. This agreement can take a significant number of weeks and often involves legal advice.
All offices must comply with Building Regulations prior to occupation and The Building Control Officer is responsible for ensuring the design and works is compliant. On completion of the works, the officer will issue a Building Control Certificate to confirm compliance. Private “Approved Inspectors” can also be used in this role.
Building Regulations are often concerned with occupation levels. There are three main components that determine the maximum occupancy of an office:
- Fresh air - The volume of fresh air available to the office will determine how many staff can occupy a building. Additional fresh air supplies can be installed if necessary.
- WC’s - A minimum number of WC’s is required for given occupancy levels. Additional WC’s could be required should a high occupancy level be required.
- Fire Escapes – The fire strategy for the building and the number and size of the fire escapes will determine the maximum occupancy of an office.
Part of the role of the Building Control Officer is to obtain approval of the design from the local Fire Officer. The Fire Officer will approve or comment on the Design and then sign-off the installation as compliant on completion.
LICENCE TO ALTER (LTA)
The LTA is required by the landlord prior to fit-out works commencing. The documents required for obtaining the LTA will be set out in the 'Fit-out Guide' provided by the landlord. It is the responsibility of your Design & Build Contractor to provide the information to the landlord in good time. Typically the LTA submission pack will consist of the drawings and specification for the works.