Office fit out is the development of an interior workspace to align with the requirements of the people who use it. What's important to understand is that fit out is not just a process of measurements, materials and construction; it's entirely human focussed. How people will interact with and use the space defines the design and build strategy.
There are varying degrees of fit out which will have a significant impact on the time, cost and resources needed to achieve the finished product.
Shell & Core (Base Build)
When a building is complete to ‘shell and core’, the outer framework of the property is complete, but the interior of the building still needs to be installed. Typically included at this stage is the foundation, envelope, base plant, external access and security etc.
CAT A fit out refers to buildings with a basic level of interior work established. This stage consists of plumbing, mechanical and electrical services, flooring, suspended ceilings, fire detection systems, and an air conditioning system. Usually, property viewings take place in a CAT A condition and provide occupiers with endless opportunities for the design and build phase — flexibility is key.
CAT B fit out transforms a building into a workplace making the space functional for human use. This stage includes partitions, space management e.g. communal areas, desk layout and meeting rooms, fixtures and fittings, furniture, IT and audio.
Here is the opportunity for the occupier to inject personality and life into the property, often achieved with office branding, biophilia and inclusive design.
There are two types of procurement route for an office fit out:
The traditional procurement route begins with appointing an architect or interior designer to create a design document. Once the design is approved, a tender is sent out for contractors to respond with their proposal for works; typically, the contractor offering the best value will win the tender. This procurement route usually sees the architect or designer retained throughout the job to ensure end-product quality.
Design & Build
The design & build route is a streamline option where the architect, designer, project manager and construction sit under one contract. This route begins by sending out a tender to various design & build companies based on the tenant's space requirements. The tender is awarded to the design & build company offering the best value for money.
The design and build route has become increasingly popular thanks to improved value engineering benefits, a process 33% faster than traditional, and one single point of contact means decreased risk and liability issues.