14 Essential Tips Prior to Appointing a Fitout Contractor

14 Essential Tips prior to appointing a Fitout contractor

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 company’s new look, maximise team performance and maintain a positive and sustainable future. Follow these tips and deliver the seamless office fitout.

#1 – Team

Step one is to ensure the correct stakeholders are identified, a person with overall responsibility to make decisions, allowing the project to move forward with ease, focusing on the best interests of project delivery.

Further into the process, team appointments may be necessary depending on project size and complexity.

#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 – Draft Layout

Closely linked to location is layout, initial key processes, staff areas, welfare and storage must be identified to establish the required floor areas and thus correct infrastructure, for example a calculation often utilised is 1 person per 10m2 floor space.

14 Tips When Appointing a Fitout Contractor#5 – Agent Appointment

Locating the office space is often a difficult task in itself, appointing the correct office agent can provide you many options logistically, rental cost, location and assist with achieving a great overall deal, let’s not forget the financial commitment to take on office space is usually long-term. A well-considered deal may release additional funds into the fit-out build costs.

#6 – Consultant Appointment

Consideration must be given to the mechanical and electrical infrastructure in each and every fitout, no matter the project size. Consultants are often key members of the delivery team on large scale office fitouts. Make the appointment if necessary.

#7 – Design Brief

At this point set out your vision, goals, branding, themes, style and any other considerations. The introduction of an interior designer will greatly assist at this point to bring all ideas together – not forgetting the company processes behind the vision.

#8 – Staff Opinions

Increase morale, a feeling of value in the business, take on constructive staff opinions which will add value to the project, carefully considering how best to approach the correct forum moving forwards.

#9 – Initial Layout

The production of initial layouts on plan, specific to building(s) identified previously, will see the scheme come to life, converting the list of requirements to an initial space plan, allowing the office layouts to be yet further considered in respect of team numbers and areas, inter-department communication, proximity of central services and building regulation compliance.

#10 – Revisit Team

The project information flow and decision making will now be increasing considerably, at which point specialist input may be required from internal staff to correctly assess and include the infrastructure into the design, for example IT, Branding, HR and Marketing.

#11 – Design Development

Now all stakeholder, staff, departmental and consultant team considerations have been collated, the interior designer will revisit the design, revising and coordinating accordingly, introducing fixed layouts, colour schemes, drilling down into the day-to-day tasks to ensure the space works on a practical level and budgets maintained.

#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.

The Design/Consultant team may continue forwards to the construction stage or allow a competent contractor to deliver from hereon.

#13 – People

A successful working relationship is about people, sharing a common goal and enjoying the project delivery, be sure to allow this key consideration is not lost, as the project duration is on average 8-12 weeks.

#14 – Communication

A successful project cannot be delivered without clear and open communication for the duration of construction works and also following completion, it is as much about including internal stakeholders as well as dazzling the world externally.

Please feel free to contact Studio Fourteen if we can assist you with your next office move and providing advice to help you along the way.


Psychology of Colour in Interior Design

Colour Psychology in Interior Design

Colour Psychology in Interior Design

As an interior designer we are aware how a colour can impact a room adding a burst of colour or using it on the walls to add depth or warmth. When taking a brief, colour is a key question to the client attaining their likes and dislikes, understanding what the room is to be used for whether it be for work, relaxing, entertaining etc. Colour is one of the main factors and can have such a powerful effect to the room’s atmosphere.

During this pandemic we are all spending considerably more time at home, colour psychology is more important now than ever before within interior design. Asking questions such as… can we improve our mood by adding/changing colour within our home. Our dining room is now been switched from the entertaining room to the workplace or classroom. Can you be productive in a room designed to be used for entertaining?? Living rooms where we relaxed in the evenings or on a lazy weekend are now where we are spending the majority of our days, can we feel uplifted in a room that is designed to chill us out. Are our bedrooms calm enough to help us have a restful sleep after a long day?? How much of effect is this having on our children and our own emotions??

Hearing more and more children suffering from anxiety as a mum you can’t help but worry. It’s an unknown rollercoaster that we ourselves struggle to work outlet alone these children who hear things on the radio/tv, passing quiet comments between adults in the kitchen, what do their minds make of this? As parents to two young children ourselves we have noticed a big difference in our little ones anxiety, struggles with sleep and communicating their emotions and frustrations. We try to keep communication open with both children, let them ask their questions when they are ready and answer as honestly as we can and feel appropriate for them to hear.

I am not saying we all need to redesign our whole home for this pandemic as there is a light at the end of tunnel, we will not be living like this forever. We can introduce colours into the room to help uplift, add positivity, happiness or invoke calmness to our days. So many colours have different meaning and evoke so many emotions…

There has been a lot of research conducted with the relationship between colour and both adult and children emotions. Colour can help connect the neuropathways in the brain, when colour passes through the retinal cells in the eyes, create brain impulses to the hormone regulating endocrine glands which then evokes an emotional and psychological response. These can also have effect on the central nervous system, which is why we see the different effects colour can have, they can cause excitement, calm, inspiration, anxiety tension and enhance our performance.  Children are known to be more sensitive to colour, especially younger ages, where they may not be able to communicate their emotions through speech or write it down and teenagers who are going through their own hormonal progression. As a society we tend to use colour as a tool to help describe actions red for anger, danger, stop, green for go, safe, and right. These are all around us from birth.

Colour also effects the ambience and space of the room making it feel warmer or cooler, larger or smaller, lighter or darker, which in turn effects these brain impulses.

RED

Is a dramatic hue known to rouse emotions its positive links are with passion, love, excitement and energy?

Also associated with power and ambition thought as a productive colour for home office, many office spaces and creative spaces.

There are a variety of tones in the red spectrum such as crimson, burgundy and bright red can be used to create a range of styles from traditional to pop art feel.

Research has shown that although this strong primary colour often seen used with children toys it should only be used as an accent colour, using an intense red in children’s rooms or study areas can have a negative and aggressive. effect on behaviour, leaving them feeling tense.

YELLOW

Known as a joyful colour linked with happiness, optimism and sunshine giving the feeling of warmth, joy, enthusiasm, fun and inspiration.

.Psychology of colour - Yellow

Symbolically used for mental and spiritual wellness. This light colour affects the memory, motivation and attention, therefore is great to use in children’s spaces, use as accent colour intense yellow can evoke tenseness and anger.

The variety of shades such as mustard, through to pale yellow are always vibrant addition to your room, use of metallic golden shades to induce light and space in to a darkened room lifting the ambience.

BLUE

Blue is a strong colour, create feeling of tranquillity, relaxation, loyalty peace and success. This is a perfect colour to use in spaces you want to relax such as bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces.

Psychology of colour - Blue

Blues are known to reduced body temperatures, blood pressure and pulse rate, giving that feeling of space and comfort reflecting the colour of the sky and ocean.

For children cool colours such as blue are recommended to aid concentration while also being a relaxing environment. Too much blue or dark blue can invoke feelings of sorrow.

GREEN

Bringing the natural world indoors, giving a sense of calm and balance.

Green is one of the most relaxing colours, research shows it has calming effect on the nervous system and can contribute to better health.olour Psychology Green-2We use green in society to represent safe to cross, to use, recycle, its associated with positivity influencing our mental health reducing tension in the body.

It’s the perfect colour to use in children’s and teenagers’ bedrooms, Combining the serenity of blue using greens with a yellow undertone helps teenagers relax and have mental clarity.

Colour shades vary from emerald, lime and through too olive tones, you can introduce these colours into your room by use from wall colours, accessories or simply adding plants and foliage.

PINK

Pink tends to be thought of little girls’ rooms and is not a first choice for other spaces.

Psychology of colour - Pink

It can invoke warmth and comfort, having a positive calming effect on us and our children as it is a feminine, nurturing colour, linked to love. Research shows can lower heart rate.

Shades vary from ‘baby’ pink, fuchsia, rose, through to magenta. It can be used in adult spaces by using refreshing patterns and fuss free furniture. It is best to be used as a feature colour too much pink can be oppressive and tiring, as its not known to be an energetic colour it’s best to be used in restful places and avoided with shy children.

PURPLE

Is traditional associated with wealth as it was the hardest of colours to make therefore only rich and Nobel people could afford it. Today it is linked with spirituality.

Psychology of Colour - Purples

Purple gives the feel of luxury to any interiors. Research has shown it stimulates creativity as well as having a calming effect. Therefore, perfect to use in areas which involve creativity activities as well as children’s/ teenagers’ rooms and spaces.

Although can be thought of a feminine colour, especially the lighter spectrum such as violet and lavender, darker shades as plum and aubergine combined with greys and blacks can give a masculine feel.

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.” ~Wassily Kandinsky


Studio Fourteen Interiors - Covid Statement

Covid 19 Safety

COVID 19 SAFETY STATEMENT

The situation with coronavirus COVID-19 is changing daily. But ,even in the face of all the uncertainty, there are steps we can take to ensure the continuity and usual high level of service. As always we will continue to be as accommodating as possible and aim to offer our full level of assistance, albeit over different method of communication, for now at least.

Remote Meetings

Admittedly you can’t beat a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting, however we fully understand the need and wish to avoid face-to-face meetings where possible, which gives rise to the video conferencing facilities such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting and many more.

Travel

Consideration must be given ahead of time to travel arrangements and forward planning on any journey and meeting, on occasion meetings in person will be required, particularly to assess new buildings and ensure existing projects are delivered to our high standards.

Prior to any face-to-face meeting we will issue our Covid-19 meeting check list to ensure all parties are safe and appropriate to meet, for example, showing any symptoms, vulnerable persons within the property etc. This effectively is our risk assessment to ensure the safety of all.

Staff & Family

Working within both residential properties and commercial properties alike, we are faced with differing situations, scales of site (space) and number of people potentially in any one area at a time. We take social distancing very seriously and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our clients, staff, workforce and extended families.

Project Sites

Our site works are now slowly returning, with safety measures in place, the latest site operating procedures from the Construction Leadership Council providing confidence in our approach. Please appreciate works may now extend from what we considered normal durations and lead-time previously, to account for the fewer trades on-site at any one time and potentially longer lead-times for deliveries of stock items and further increased timescales for bespoke items as sub-contactors and manufacturers implement there own safe procures.

Communication

Good communication is essential to every aspect of our business, Covid-19 and the restrictions placed upon us all will not alter our approach. We will continue at all times to update you every step of the way, be it a new residential design scheme, construction phase works or follow up queries and information following handover. We are always at the end of the phone or email, however you prefer.

Rest assured we will continue to seek guidance from The Construction Leadership Council and the HSE amongst others, to ensure the safe delivery of our projects.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries in relation to how we approach any aspect design and project delivery, always happy to help.

Dominic & Claire
Studio Fourteen Interiors


Studio Fourteen Furniture Packages

Furniture Packages

Furniture Packages

Whether you are selling your property or it’s an investment, such as a buy to let, or even a holiday rental you may consider investing in custom furniture packages.  This can help showcase your property in its best light, making it stand out amongst the market. Empty and bare properties can be hard for potential tenants and buyers to envisage themselves living there. Well-furnished properties can maximise your return with a relatively low cost.

Deciding to furnish your property can seem like an expense compared to unfurnished. However, research has proven that with a furniture package to show off your property you will often let it quicker and for a higher rate.  This has been especially true for apartments within city areas that are attracting young professionals and overseas students.

It is often thought that it will save you money by sourcing items of furniture yourself but it is easy to under estimate the time it will take looking for the right items, negotiating each item dealing with multiple parties to arrange delivery, and then assembling each one of these. The truth is that the time spent may not be worth the money you have saved.

Using a specialist landlord furniture packages provider can help to get the job done quicker, easier and more cost effectively resulting in a hassle free and stress-free process.

It is important to take time to consider the style of the furnishings you require. Appealing to your target audience and target rent can influence the style and level of furnishings you may want to purchase.  For instance, you do not want to furnish a high-level modern penthouse with classic outdated furniture, just as you do not want to spend money on top quality furniture that will be used for student accommodation that will see high turnaround of occupants and usage.

Generally, the style and colour of the furniture packages should be kept quite neutral, enabling the colour to blend in with accessories and items that can be easily exchanged with new tenants. The goal is to ensure that the property looks impersonal yet stylish to appeal to the maximum number of potential tenants and buyers.

Appointing companies that offer design led packages can be the preferred choice, the packages are specially designed for you, making them tailored to the size and style of the property, the target audience, rent and budget are considered throughout the process. Enhancing the home by making it more luxurious and comfortable. Landlords furniture packages are a perfect option for homeowners as well as developers.

This turnkey service is also a popular option for home-staging and showcasing your vacant property to its best.   As well as providing furniture packages for the rental market many suppliers also offer accessory and utility packs that can be used as an additional selling tool ensuring that the property is literally ready for occupancy.  This ensures a service stress free for both the owner as well as the potential tenant.

Specialised living room furniture packages and landlord furniture packages are always popular requests and are available though our bespoke interior design service.

 


Office Dilapidations

Office Dilapidations

Office Dilapidations

Office Dilapidations is often a term misunderstood and used too late in the process when dealing with commercial properties. We at Studio Fourteen want to explain this term and clear all the jargon now before you start your next project.

In brief, the term Office Dilapidations is used to describe a legal obligation of the tenant leasing a commercial or office space to maintain, repair and return the condition of the property back to the original condition when the contract was first agreed between the tenant and landlord. The tenant has obligations to the upkeep of their leased property.

Firstly, taking legal advice prior to engaging in a commercial lease is recommended, as Dilapidations costs can be substantial sums if not understood upfront and how best to approach the inevitable cost from day one within the leasehold.

The official Dilapidations process will commence when the lease is towards the end of term, with the landlord commissioned surveyor inspecting the office/home and issuing a Schedule of Dilapidations, identifying any issues apparent with the property.

Upon receipt of the Schedule of Office Dilapidations, Three options normally exist. 1 – Contest the contents of the schedule. 2 – Undertake the works whilst in occupation of the property. 3 – Agree a financial settlement to cover the cost of repairs after the duration period has ended.

Taking a step-back, option 1 above is perfectly reasonable providing prior to the lease agreement a survey of the property was carried out by a qualified surveyor producing a Schedule of Condition. This can form part of the legal agreement between parties to document the condition of the place prior to taking on the lease, a great reference back in time when considering Dilapidations items.

Option 2 is quite often the most advantageous financially to the tenant, controlling costs and time frame, although it is important to ensure the Schedule of the office Dilapidations is correctly understood and actioned accordingly.

Option 3 a simple option for those wishing the vacate the space without undertaking any works, leaving the landlord to address the issues following tenancy agreement.

On occasion, the Cat-B fitout completed by the tenant may be considered an improvement to the property, the landlord accepting reduced costs from the tenant or even on occasion foregoing any costs as the property may be drastically altered following the lease end.


Cat B Cabling Fit Out Worcester

Cat-B Office Fitout – What is it?

Cat-B Office Fitout

All industries and professions have specific terms and language which is often overlooked outside of the particular industry, making it difficult to understand the detail. Office interiors and the wider construction sector is no different, here at Studio Fourteen we want to break it down and explain some of the phrases we use on a regular basis to make sure you know what services you want and need for your business, the term we will be looking at is Cat-B office fitout.

If you’re looking to move into a new office or you’re doing a refurbishment to your existing space, you may feel slightly exhausted with the jargon that we take for granted in the world of commercial construction. We at Studio Fourteen are here to decode the jargon so that you can understand exactly what’s going on with your project, and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

The big question we get asked a lot in our industry is what is a fit out? A fit out is process of making an internal space suitable for occupation. It’s the transformation of a shell into a working space; from installing facilities, applying new flooring, creating working spaces and developing rooms with a purpose.

For end users and occupiers, a Cat-B commercial office fitout is generally the most common type of fitout terminology used to explain the full client specific design and layout. To rewind slightly, a Cat-A office fitout is normally completed by the landlord providing a basic finished open plan office space containing mechanical & electrical infrastructure complete with suspended ceilings, decoration, raised access floors and often carpet.

The occupier will then take on this blank canvas and develop the design tailored to the business operation intended for the space. At this point consideration is given to the components of a Cat-B office fitout but also the practically and day-to-day use of the operation, with a good design making the office space as efficient and effective as possible for all concerned.

The components of a Cat-B office fitout are subject to the occupiers brief and business type, however will contain elements including:-

  • Partitions (forming Reception Areas, Meeting Rooms, Teapoint, Stores)
  • Feature Ceilings
  • Doors
  • Bespoke Joinery
  • Teapoints
  • Mechanical & Electrical alterations
  • Branding
  • Furniture
  • Data, Telecoms & WiFi
  • FFE (fixtures, fittings and equipment)

This list is not exhaustive, the scope for office design moves on changing yearly with advancements in technology and communication. Perhaps introduce a staff slide within your next office design, its not as unusual as you may think!

To find out more information on this topic or Cat-B office fitouts, please visit our portfolio pages or contact us with any questions, we will be more than happy to help, in the meantime head over to our LinkedIn where we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Christmas Interior Design

Christmas Interior Design

Christmas Interior Design

The shops are starting to turn festive and it’s time to think of Christmas interior design!  The Season to be merry is nearly upon us, a time where friends and families gather at one or another homes, exchanging gifts, throwing a festive party and a good excuse for a catch up and mulled wine.

It’s a time of year where homeowners naturally start looking at their decorations and start planning their Christmas interior design.  It’s time to update those specific items or rooms and make sure any renovations are due to be completed, ready for the celebrations to start.

It is also a time when we start thinking of buying our Christmas decorations, an essential part of Christmas interior design.  There are so many shops and styles to choose from including a lot of brash and tasteless items out there, but it doesn’t have to be like that. There are no rights or wrongs when choosing a theme, working with what you have is a great place to start, using materials and colours that enhance your interiors rather than detracting from your home.

Of course a real tree can be romantic, emitting the beautiful smell of Christmas.  The nostalgic feeling of picking the right one for your home can be a magical time for the family.  However, with the increasing need to think of the environment it is important to think of the consequence.  A couple of years ago we went for the faux option with a magical visit to a Christmas tree farm for some family fun activities. There are so many fantastic looking artificial trees out there with integrated lights, that can be reused year after year – and no mess. They can be embellished with additional stems and berries creating a more fuller woodland look, one of the themes that is looking popular for Christmas 2019.

Less is more is often used when displaying decorations.  There is no need to buy all new each year.  Having those few that you have collected over the years with special memories is key to creating a homely, cosy Christmas and mixed in with your main theme can create a wonderfully traditional look.

The key trends this year are all based on simplicity and elegance with the use of bold colours such as deep burgundy, dark blue and the classic forest green combined with a mixed use of materials and textures using natural products, such as pine cones decorated with muted metallics like rose gold, copper or bronze. The classic glass ornament adds a vintage touch to your Christmas looking elegant and stylish.

The traditional wreath is an important part of Christmas interior design, not only for decor but for its historic and symbolic value.  There is such a variety of styles of wreaths in the stores that we’re sure to find one that matches our décor.  Alternatively, you can create your own Christmas wreath (either at a wreath making party with a professional on hand to help or at home).   This is popular and growing trend and ensures that it can be made to match your style perfectly.

The rustic natural organic look is another key trend to Christmas 2019 that we are pleased to see return to popularity.  This works exceptionally well with the woodland themed wreath.  An ideal way to express this is through by collecting branches, twigs, eucalyptus, evergreen, spruce berries and pinecones, and using them to create an original centrepiece.  Done simply, this approach can create a beautiful natural look.

The key feature of Christmas day is the dining table.  We’ve found that using one or two basic colours and a theme is enough.  It’s all too easy to overdo the element of Christmas interior design.  This is a perfect place to introduce the muted metallics that are trending this year, with the use of bronze napkin rings, or rose gold place settings. Candles can create a beautiful and elegant centre piece. Remember keep simple – less is more.