Essential Tips for an Office Fitout

The list of considerations when relocating or expanding your existing office space can seem a daunting task for any company, no matter the economic sector. A chance to re-evaluate the companies new look, maximise team performance and maintain a positive and sustainable future.

Follow these tips and deliver your seamless office fit-out:

#1 – Team
In our experience, the smoothest projects are those with a single point of contact and responsibility, with the contractor, however behind that person is a strong team of individuals with expertise in your company key departments including IT, Finance, Marketing and Branding. A successful project cannot be delivered without clear and open communication for the duration of construction works and also following completion.

#2 – Budget
Setting a realistic and achievable budget is primary consideration, ensuring design and project team costs are considered, not forgetting the 5-10% contingency figure for unplanned eventualities, particularly when refurbishing an existing office space. Work out respective costs of each category Shell & Core fitout/Category A/Category B as a comparison.

#3 – Location
Is your existing office space suitable size for expansion? Staff commutes sensible? Transport links? Client proximity considered? Building condition and appearance? Location is everything for a successful business operation no matter the sector. Budget may also tie into location considerations, as office rental costs vary considerably to location.

#4 – Staff Opinions
Ask staff for their views on current layout, is it working effectively each day? Improvements, dislikes or things they may particularly like? In doing this it can increase morale, feeling of value in the business, after all the company is the people within it.

#5 – Assess How the Space is used
Assess your current layout, is the workspace suitable for each employee? Meeting rooms unused or not large enough? Storage rooms overflowing or no longer required in our paperless future? Server rooms reducing in size switching over to the cloud?

#6 – Technology
Consideration to the infrastructure behind the layout, the improvement in wireless technology may allow more flexible working space, security and privacy may require fixed data points, cat5, cat6 or POE (power over ethernet)? Don’t forget data connects the majority of office devices, even door access, fire alarm, TV’s and projectors for example.

#7 – Storage Needs
This is the opportunity to assess your company’s storage requirements, looking at Individuals, teams, archives… this is something often not given due consideration and forms a fundamental part of the design. Consider off-site storage as archiving using the office space efficiently.

#8 – Future Growth
Plan ahead for growth making sure not only staff numbers are considered but technology now and the possibility of expansion, it may be the expansion is inevitable which would make the decision of increasing the infrastructure more cost effective and less disruptive now than in the near future.

#9 – Layout
Discussion of open plan vs. cellular, great for communication but not great for privacy; is a private area required by the introduction of booths or a higher number of meeting rooms? equally do you have more team meetings and need touchdown areas. A balance of cellular offices, touchdown and bench seating may be the option?

#10 – Branding
Is your brand the main image? Instant impact by strong use of logo, displayed in reception areas, on manifestations or subtle hints of branding and logo colours incorporated and flowing through the design; your brand colours can increase recognition without the use of a logo, used in the right manner.

#11 – Design Brief
By answering all of the above will help you arrive at a design brief tailored to your specific requirements, this then can be used as a basis to pull a scheme and layout together and to put forward for tender / enquiries with contractors.

#12 – Contractor Appointment
Selecting the right contractor is just as important as the process preceding this, an experienced, approachable and flexible fit-out contractor will deliver the site construction works efficiently and safely.
By using a contractor with design capability the brief can be developed from initial meetings, through site surveys and communication, finalised for the construction phase.

#13 – Staff Wellbeing
Within the design development stage staff wellbeing must be considered and implemented into the design, are all your facilities sufficient for the number of employees now and into the future? Any special provisions you must make?

#14 – Legal Compliance
Do you know the legal requirements of your fitout? Compliance with Building Regulations is fundamental, CDM (Construction Design Management) Requirements must be satisfied for example, is an Asbestos survey required?
Planning permissions for external equipment and signage?

With all the points above considered and evaluated, it will help aid the smooth running of an office fitout and future use of the space for years to come.