What Exactly Is an Office Fit-Out?

An office fit out is the term used to describe the transformation of a space into a suitable office environment. Office fit-outs often start with a completely empty, inhabitable space that turns into a working office space, complete with all the elements required to make it usable. There are multiple ‘Fit Out’ categories, and it’s important to understand each one. Below you can find our guide to everything you need to know about office fit-outs.

What does ‘Office Fit-Out’ mean?

The term Fit Out is used to describe the process of making an interior space suitable for occupants of an office, including all the necessary structures, electrical, furnishings, decorations and mechanical equipment. In other words, the office space is fitted out with furnishings and decorations as well as equipment from mechanical and electrical services based on the needs of the occupant. The office fit-out process develops the office space in line with the requirements of the business or people that will be using it, so it is therefore tailored to reflect their needs. An office fit-out is not to be confused with an office refurbishment, which is the process of refurbishing an office space that already exists, an office fit out is developing and transforming a new space from scratch.

Why is an Office Fit-Out important?

An office fit-out that reflects your business needs and culture whilst catering for all of your staff working requirements is important to ensure that you operate effectively. Having an office space that employees enjoy coming into every day is naturally going to increase their productivity and ability to perform their job well, and if you also use it for customer facing meetings then a comfortable, positive office experience is only going to enhance the value of your business for them too. Making good use of the space available, as well as implementing technology and comfortable furnishings will add significant value to your business overall for both staff and customers.
Further reading:10 Ways To Boost Productivity In The Office

What steps are involved in an Office Fit-Out?

Organisation is key when planning your office fit out, to ensure it is conducted according to schedule and budget, as well as maximising its potential. Some aspects of the fit out may overlap, but in general the steps to take to finalise your office fit out professionally are as follows:
  • Step 1: determine your reasons for designing your office space
There could be many reasons why you want to design a new office space, or even expand or move offices completely. You may be seeing growth within the business, and an expanding workforce requires plenty of space especially if you have long term growth in mind. Alternatively you may be downsizing or undergoing a branding change, or be generally in need of an office upgrade. 
  • Step 2: discuss your ideas with an office fit out company
Giving the office fit out project to the right people for the job is essential, both internally and externally. Choose someone within your business to manage the project, making sure they are organised, proactive, able to make decisions and budget aware.  When it comes to assigning the task to an office fit out company, the key things to look for are knowledge and experience, so you know you are in safe hands, a good fit for your company and able to uphold strong working relationships, and make sure they offer all the services your company requires. 
  • Step 3: decide what type of space would suit your business
Planning for the right space is essential to the success of the office fit-out project, and must be considered as early as possible. Planning for the future, as well as accommodating for the current situation is a good idea to allow for growth, and to make it a cost effective investment. Maximising the space, and ensuring breakout areas, layout and ways of working is advised to cater for all eventualities. 
  • Step 4: agree on a budget for the fit-out
Setting a realistic budget, and also accommodating for unforeseen costs is crucial, as the cost of an office fit-out is likely to be high so it needs to be a worthy and successful investment. Make sure you get quotes for everything, do your research and compare prices. It is also important to consider that your budget should be in line with your business expenditure. 
  • Step 5: choose the right furniture for your new office environment
It might be the case that for your new office space you require all new office furniture, but it’s worth considering if any existing furniture can be reused, upgraded or reconfigured to save some budget. Whichever option you choose for your office furniture, ensuring it is comfortable, usable and fits with the style and environment your new office creates is key for the overall office experience. 
  • Step 6: finally support your staff to move in and get settled into their new space
Throughout the office fit-out process, keep your staff up to date and involved as it where they will be spending a lot of their time once complete. Introduce them to the new office, and make sure they know where everything is and how everything works. Consider if any health and safety training needs to be carried out if staff are involved in moving equipment, and involve them in giving any feedback as they settle in over the first few weeks.

What are the different categories of an Office Fit-Out?

Shell & Core

Shell & Core is the first stage of an offices’ fit-out. It’s the framework of the building that covers the essentials that can be installed before the office space is fitted out with furnishings and decorations etc. It typically includes the basic structure, cladding and completion of common areas – such as lobbies, lifts shafts and stairwells.

Category A

This category of fit-out covers the basics needed for an office space to function, without applying the ‘finishing touches’ the client desires. It will generally include flooring, power sockets, air conditioning, basic fire detection & protection systems, as well as general decoration to the perimeter walls. While this type of fit-out in an office may be habitable and there is no concrete visible, it is often a bare-bones, open-plan finish that needs that special touch.

Category B

Category B fit-outs are where the “special” touches are added. This includes everything from building out different rooms, to choosing the art on the walls. A lot of work goes into a Category B fit-out as they are ideally based on the individual needs and preferences of each client. They incorporate everything to make the space functional but provide an incredible opportunity for each client to bring their space to life. What is usually included in your Category B fit-out:
  • Fully-fitted kitchens 
  • Toilet and washroom facilities improvements or installation- see our washroom refurbishments ideas
  • Meeting and conference areas – see our partitioning ideas
  • Design and brand detailing
  • Workstations and furniture
  • Specialist lighting and facilities
  • Rerouting air conditioning and power points
  • IT installation and infrastructure
Further reading: Check out our Case Studies here to see the type of work we have done! For more information on Office Fit-Outs, check out our other Office Fit-Out blogs:

How can Office Options help?

We are a well-established company with over 15 years of experience in the commercial, educational and healthcare interiors fit-out sectors. The team at Office Options can take care of every aspect of your project. Whether you are considering a new build fit-out, an existing office upgrade and refurbishment, or dilapidation work to vacated premises we are here to help you. Whatever the complexities or scale of the project our dedicated account managers are keen to assist and advise. If you are looking into an office fit-out please feel free to contact us! We believe in providing our clients with the complete package service and total peace of mind: a one-stop-shop for inspirational work environments.

To discuss your project with our team today, give us a call on 01642 211 100 and email us at sales@officeoptionsuk.com