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Commercial Office Fit Outs

Opting for an office refurbishment is a fairly major decision – but one that can pay dividends. Below are some pointers to guide you through the process.

Refurbishing your office can seem like an intimidating prospect. The costs of renovation and redecoration are daunting enough, let alone the considerable investment in time and effort and the potential disruption to your ongoing business. However, an office fit-out will be an investment worth making as it can have a direct influence on the performance of your business and the productivity of your staff. So, what exactly is a ‘fit out’, and in what ways can it benefit your business?

Office fit out – a definition

According to designingbuildings.co.uk (a knowledge base for the construction industry) “Fit-out” is a term used to describe the process of making interior spaces suitable for occupation. It is often used in relation to office developments, where the base construction is completed by the developer, and the final fit-out is arranged by the occupant. In practical terms, it refers to the series of actions whereby office spaces are developed according to the needs and requirements of office occupants.

The benefits of a professional Office Fit Out

Based on the trusted old adage, “first impressions last” the appearance of your working environment will give an indelible first impression about your organisation from which your visitors will inevitably infer all sorts of things about your company; such as the quality, professionalism, scale and ‘success’ of the business. Put simply – impressive offices impress!

If your office looks tired and neglected then clients are likely to be left with the impression that the business is not doing so well, that staff care little about the company and therefore their customers will not get the best service and support. By contrast, a bright, and well-designed, professionally kitted out office environment will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your visitors. Furthermore however and perhaps most importantly, an enriched working environment is likely to inspire your staff, spark creativity and boost productivity.

Daunting as it may seem, a professional office fit out can be highly rewarding, and the benefits for your company cannot be understated.

Workspace analysis

Requirements, objectives and goals along with estimates and references are the fundamental elements required to deliver an optimised office design within the projected timescale and delivered on budget.

You will need to ensure that you analyse your current space and assess all existing and potential future technical requirements. Conduct a space occupancy study in order to gather data on workplace utilisation, and interview staff to gain a better understanding of how they function within the space available and the building as a whole.

What works in your workplace and what doesn’t? Will your workplace support business expansion? What are your limitations and aspirations? What’s the longer-term strategy for the business and how will that impact the space?

These are just a few of the types of things that should be considered before commencing your office fit out or refurbishment. Our team at Creative Construction have years of valuable experience in delivering successful commercial office fit outs. So don’t wrestle with this issue on your own – call us for friendly office fit out help and advice and save yourself a lot of time and money.

Choose your fit out specialist carefully

With so many companies to choose from, picking the right office refurbishment contractor to work with can be a daunting prospect in itself. A good fit out specialist will be able to help guide you through every aspect of the process with a firm grasp of how office design and layouts can drive productivity in your company. Below are some key questions that you should be asking.

The first thing to do is to ask to see work they’ve done for previous clients. What projects have they completed, and did they carry out the work to the client’s expectations? If they’ve worked on only a small number of similar projects they may not have the breadth of experience you need. Can they advise on how to get the best use from your workspace? Are they up to date with the latest technology? Are they financially viable both short and long term? Do they have an environmental policy? These are all important factors to consider.

Select a project leader and a ‘Fit Out’ team

Appoint a dedicated internal project leader to coordinate the various elements of the fit out, allowing you to concentrate on the day-to-day running of the business. This will be one of your most important decisions, requiring careful consideration. You need someone calm, confident and reasoned. You will also want as much input as possible from employees, and to appoint a team of representatives from all departments (such as Managing Director, Financial Director, Facilities Director, IT Director, etc.).

Understand your Budget

Budgeting for an office fit-out demands a rigorous and exacting approach, encompassing your entire corporate framework. Factors you should consider include occupancy cost (such as rent, business rates, building insurance and building surveys) and capital expenditure (for instance, refurbishment, IT equipment, phone system, office furniture, rental deposit and dilapidations). Check that everything is factored into your budget with the fit-out company, and build in a contingency allowance to allow for the unforeseen.

Design

This is where the new workspace begins to take shape, taking into account earlier workplace studies such as space utilisation, workflows and departmental relationships. Do staff require quiet or privacy to do their jobs? Consider colour schemes: Research has shown that colours have a direct influence on the moods, health, well-being and happiness of staff. Also consider carefully the kind of design that you feel best reflects your organisation’s image; your office and reception area are the first places that visitors will see. Work closely with your office interior designers, and provide them with as much information and feedback as possible.

Finally… the office fit out itself

After so much planning it’ may be tempting to take a back seat during the fit out itself. However, it’s important to remain proactive. Once the fit-out is underway, plans can and do change. Seeing things evolve may prompt questions that hadn’t been considered previously. Don’t be afraid to ask your fit-out partner questions and make suggestions; it may be possible to make improvements as the fit-out takes shape.

After the work has been completed there should follow a pre-handover inspection to ensure completeness and quality of the workmanship, and that the fit out company has delivered exactly what was agreed in the contract.

Hopefully this has helped you at least a little bit as you consider your own office refurbishment or fit out. Creative Construction are office fit out experts with many years of valuable experience. If you would like to discuss your office fit-out or office refurbishment requirements please contact us for a friendly initial conversation or meeting. We would be delighted to hear from you.

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