Office fit Out Guide

Here’s our office fit out checklist and tips

Fit outs can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a checklist and office fit out guide to make the process as smooth and effective as possible. 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. by following this office fit out guide you increase the chances of delivering a seamless office fit-out.

#1 – Team

Number one in our office fit out guide is and always should be – the team. In our experience, the smoothest projects are those where companies appoint single person of responsibility who can stay in touch with the contractor.  However, it’s essential that behind that person is a strong team of individuals with expertise in your company’s 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 a primary consideration, ensuring the design and project team costs are considered, not forgetting the 5-10% contingency figure for unplanned eventualities, particularly when refurbishing an existing office space. Workout the respective costs of each fit out category including Shell & Core fit out/Category A/Category B as a comparison.

#3 – Location

Is your existing office space of a suitable size for expansion? Are staff commutes sensible? What about transport links? And, don’t forget to consider client proximity? Then there are building conditions and appearance? These are essentials when fitting out a new office.

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 from location to location.

#4 – Staff Opinions

Ask staff for their views on the current layout.  Is it working effectively for them each day? Are there improvements, dislikes or things they may particularly like about the existing layout? By doing this and involving your staff it can increase morale and feelings of being valued by the business.  After all – the company is the people within it.

#5 – Assess How the Space is used

Assess your current layout and calculate if the workspace is suitable for each employee? Are meeting rooms unused or not large enough? What about storage rooms overflowing or, for that matter, no longer required in our paperless future? Have you considered reducing the size of server rooms by switching over to the cloud?

#6 – Technology

One of the most important points in our office fitout guide is the need for technology.  Consideration should be afforded to the infrastructure behind the layout.  The improvement in wireless technology may allow more flexible working space whereas 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, including even door access, fire alarms, TV’s and projectors.

#7 – Storage Needs

This is the opportunity to assess your company’s storage requirements by looking at Individuals, teams and archives.  This is something often not given due consideration and forms a fundamental part of the design. Consider off-site storage for archiving as a better way of using the office space efficiently.

#8 – Future Growth

Plan ahead for growth by making sure not only staff numbers are considered but technology too. Office technology is both expanding or contracting – depending on the industry.  In your case it may be that expansion is inevitable which may 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 is always critical.  Open plan may be great for communication but not great for privacy.  Ask yourself if a private area is required and consider the introduction of booths or a larger 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 focal point? Create instant impact through the strong use of corporate identity displayed in reception areas.  With other manifestations consider using subtle hints of branding and logo colours integrated into and flowing through the design.  Your brand colours, if used in the correct manner, can increase recognition without the use of a logo.

#11 – Design Brief

Answering all of the above questions will help you arrive at a design brief tailored to your specific requirements and this then can be used as a basis to pull a scheme and layout together to put forward for tender / enquiries with contractors.

#12 – Contractor Appointment

Selecting the right contractor is just as important as the process of deciding what you want from your new offices.  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 and finalised for the construction phase.

#13 – Staff Wellbeing

Within the design development stage staff wellbeing must be considered and integrated into the design.  Are all your facilities sufficient for the number of employees now and into the future? Are there any special provisions you must make for disabled access or comfort?

#14 – Legal Compliance

Do you know the legal requirements of your fit out? Compliance with building regulations is fundamental.   CDM (Construction Design Management) Requirements must be satisfied for example, is an Asbestos survey required? Also, please consider planning permissions for external equipment and signage?

We hope that you have found this office fit out guide and checklist useful.  If all the above points have been considered and evaluated, we believe you’re on the right track for a smooth office fit out and a practical and desirable office space – for years to come.