Guide To Office Fit-Outs
The Creative Construction Group was set-up to offer its clients a ‘one stop shop’ for all building and maintenance works for both the residential and commercial markets. With over 25 years’ experience in the building and refurbishment industry. The company is split into divisions, although all work is dealt with under the one umbrella focusing on providing our clients with an excellent and professional service. We hold £5 million public liability and £10 million employer’s liability insurance. With a number of skilled and experienced staff on the road in and around the Swindon area, The Creative Construction Group was designed to be the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective way of solving your property maintenance and building needs.
Before we get to the start of the approach, let’s define and outline the different types of fit-out. A fit-out is described as the construction processes of making interior spaces viable for work. It is commonly used alongside office development, where construction is carried out by a developer, and the final fit-out by the tenant. While these can vary between developers, they are typically acknowledged definitions. Check with the developer you are working with to ensure their definitions are the same as yours.
Shell & Core
Think of the shell and core as the completed outer framework of a building. It is the concrete and metal frame of a weather-proofed space. From the outside, the building looks complete, but the interior of the building’s services have yet to be installed. This includes lobbies, lift shafts; toilets and loading bays.
Category A refers to a basic landlord fit-out, where the interior of the building is a blank canvas for the potential occupier. CAT A includes the installation of the building’s mechanical and electrical services, as well as raised access floors, suspended ceilings and basic fire detection systems.
Category B is where your office comes to life and the fit-out is completed to your specifications. From final finishes, the creation of specialist facilities (e.g. meeting rooms, breakout zones) to the installation of ICT equipment and furniture.
Detailing Your Needs
How Soon is Now?
The best advice we give to our customers at The Creative Construction Group is, that planning should be started as soon as possible when creating a project schedule. If you are undecided about moving to new premises or to refurbish your existing office, starting to plan 18-24 months in advance will allow enough time for the creation of a functional workplace strategy and make sure you are not rushed into making critical decisions.
The reasons for your office change?
- Reduce costs and overheads
- Lease on property
- Business changes
- Increase productivity
- Increase brand awareness
Workspace & Workplace Needs-
Discussing the differences between the workplace and the workspace will give a signal of what is required of the new office.
- Does the local area have potential employees?
- Are the businesses in the local area competing?
- How close are local conveniences?
- How close are your suppliers?
- Does the building layout fit your requirements?
Building Your Team
You will want to place a single point of contact within the business who will oversee and deal with the project on a daily basis. If you are the person appointed, keep in mind that it will take up much of your time and effort; specifically, when the project starts to materialise.
Despite the size of your company, all of your departments will have different needs for the finished office. With this in mind, you will want to appoint an internal team from the management staff of the departments, who will become the point of contact between their team and you.
You will also need your finance department to create a budget. We would recommend looking into your headcount for the past two to three years to help give you an understanding of the expansion, reduction or levelling of your workforce, helping to decide whether you need to move into a bigger or smaller premises or remain in your current office.
You’ll want to meet with your landlord to understand their future plans for the building. You may find that their plans mean you will need to relocate further down the line. We advise keeping an open dialogue with your landlord as fluctuating economic and market conditions are likely to have an effect on their overall objectives.
Property agents have knowledge and experience in the rental market and potential locations that can be beneficial to your company’s selection criteria and success. Furthermore, they can often help in renegotiating better terms on your lease. Engaging with them early in the process will give you information on the current market and where it is predicted to go when you have to make a decision.
Commercial property transactions can be complicated and we recommend consulting with commercial property solicitors at the start of the process to advise on your lease obligations in terms of the notice period, rent review, and dilapidations. This service will often be provided by your commercial agents.
Transitioning or upgrading I.T systems and services will need an appraisal and will need to be thoroughly planned out. The process may be taken on by the fit-out company or more commonly an independent technology company, who will index all of your existing systems and arrange a schedule for moving or upgrading your existing systems.
Choosing a Fit-Out Partner
The Creative Construction Group are set up to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your design and construction needs, with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and refurbishment industry.
Unless you have a specific design in mind in advance, then it is more than likely that you will be counting on the fit-out team to create the environment. You will want them to find unique and creative ways of meeting your expectations.
Over the course of a project, you will spend a large amount of time in conversation and communicating with your fit-out company. Choosing a team you feel both comfortable with and can trust to complete your project is key to success.
A good fit-out partner will be able to save you money over a traditional ‘design and build’ as they’ll be able to negotiate the best possible prices. Strong industry contacts mean better purchasing power, faster turnarounds and greater quality of work.
You’ll need someone who understands exactly what modern solutions are at your disposal to help your business grow. Your fit-out partner should be at the cutting edge of innovation and on top of new developments so that they can point you in the best direction at every stage of the process.
You don’t want to be hit with extra fees further down the line. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly – have they ever gone over budget on a project? What were the reasons? A good fit-out partner should be able to confidently show you that they’re persistently able to deliver their projects on time and within budget.
If they are a reputable business, they will be only too proud to show off their work, old and new, so ask to see industry-specific examples. Ask if you can speak to previous customers in order to gain an unbiased opinion.
Attention to Detail-
Does the company aim for a ‘snag-free’ installation? Attention to detail is crucial. A great fit-out will be trouble-free and ready for use from day one. It should also be future-proofed as best as possible so that the space can continue to evolve with your brand.
- Existing space dilapidations
- Building security
- Running contracts
- Commercial property agent
- Cost consultants
- Environmental audits
- Lawyers & legal advice
- Furniture costs
- IT systems
- Fit-out costs
- Telephone lines
- Mail redirection
- Printing (new address)
- Move management
- Training for staff
- Project contingency
The Creative Construction Group will work with you to help to produce an office to your specification by designing and discussing multiple unique options with you. Once your vision has come to life on paper, our team of highly skilled and qualified fitters will take the office from a concept on a sheet of paper to reality. We pride ourselves on being there every step of the way, offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for all of our customers.
The main steps in office design are-
- Design workshops
- Space and floor plans
- 3D visualisations and walkthroughs
- Final presentations and review
- What do I want the new workplace to say about my company?
- How will I present my brand in the space?
- Is there space for staff and clients to socialise and relax?
- How can I leave a lasting impression on people coming into the office?
It is important to design for functionality and for looks and feelings at the same time, arguably functionality should be the most important while designing.
- What technology is used in my business and can I accommodate for that?
- Is the new office using space efficiently?
- How much storage do I need and is there enough in the new office?
- Are there spaces for different styles of work? (individual, group, meetings)
Designing for Compliance-
A critical consideration for any office fit-out is whether your new design follows all required government laws. These guidelines cover a range of areas including:
- Disabled access
- Fire alarms, escapes and extinguishers
- Health, hygiene and safety
- Comfortable working environments
- Safe electrical setups
- Enough working space
- Workplace health
Your chosen fit-out company should be knowledgeable in these areas, making sure compliance is built into their designs.
Payment Schedules & Cost Controls-
Your fit-out partner will take an initial payment to cover the management of the project and to begin ordering the materials and labour. Confirm when this needs to be paid by and ensure it’s not too close to when they commence work.
Arrange a timeline with your fit-out partner and agree on targets for them to have completed by that time. You’ll be required to make payment when they have met these targets
Changes & Variations-
It’s always best to plan for changes or unforeseen circumstances. In the uncommon chance that any disruptions; delays or changes to the project schedule occur, make sure that you have agreed on a fixed price for these modifications.
Health & Safety Liability-
It is your responsibility to make sure health and safety regulations are carried out on site. If you are maintaining work, it is a must that you comply, as your staff will be working near the site. Confirm in writing with your fit-out partner that all contractors have the relevant qualifications and will be compliant with regulations, including:
- Access and parking
- Accident reporting
- Working at heights
- Asbestos treatment
You will also want to make sure that both you and your fit-out partner have the proper level of cover for the project. These include
- Contractors’ insurance
- Employers’ liability insurance
- Public & product liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
In the months ahead of the project, you should have your schedule and list of the work agreed and signed by your fit-out partner. Any modifications closer to this time will leave you susceptible to higher costs and could cause delays on site.
If you are relocating, moving into a temporary space whilst work is being completed or refurbishing whilst carrying on with work, you will need to consider how to manage your assets.
You will want to consider-
Who is going to be where and when will they be there? Make sure your department leaders have contact details for their workers.
Is there a need to speak to the I.T and Telecom companies about the movement of equipment?
Are you planning on using your existing or planning on buying new furniture? Index and decide what you would like to keep in the transition.
Filing & Storage-
Have you made contact with a removal company? Have you thought about using an off-site storage solution and how regularly it will be accessed?
Organise a plan for communicating with staff, customers, suppliers and service providers, to make sure everyone stays on the same page.
Ask your current landlord for a dilapidations report, this will tell you whether you are obligated to restore your original space to its original condition.
To avoid any costly mistakes when you move into the new office, quality control is important to do correctly, first time around. Talk to your project manager and ask for weekly site inspections and updates, with no tolerance when checking for faults. This will make sure you are kept in good stead when the time comes for the final handover
Progress Updates You should also ask for a site report to include-
- Photos from the site
- Review of progress
- List of any design or schedule changes
- Any additional and potential costs
- List of any faults and issues
- Minutes from prior meetings
Handover & Walkthrough
The contract with your fit-out partner should detail the handover process. Commonly your fit-out partner will be required to give you notice when the project gets to the point of ‘practical completion’. After this point, you should carry out your final inspections and let them know or any faults or issues so they can make the correct amendments
The pre-handover inspection should be looking at the completeness and quality of the work and is concerned with the delivery of nothing less what has been agreed within the contract. After this is confirmed, your fit-out partner will present you the final documents and a site walkthrough.
This should include-
- Operation and Maintenance Manuals
- Power tests and installed tech
- Safety and testing certificates
- Training and service handover
- Certificate of compliance
- Building control sign off
- Arranging final clean up
- Customer management programme and aftercare services
Make sure you provide staff and stakeholders with a clear timetable of events-
- How and when work will start
- If you are moving into a temporary space make sure everyone knows key dates and details.
- If you are refurbishing whilst working, make sure everyone is informed of the plans and timescale.
Progress Updates Once everything is finalised, there are a few last things to consider-
- Organise all redirections to new address
- Terminate any outstanding contracts on your previous workplace
- Launch PR and marketing
- Celebrate! Offer clients, partners and suppliers a tour of your new office.
Designed from concept to completion by highly experience professionals, The Creative Construction Group are a team of time-served, multi-skilled, fully trained and qualified trades people who are organised to deliver outstanding levels of customer service and technical excellence. The company specialises in offering its clients a full turn-key solution and are committed to creating long-term working partnerships with its clients. We can also offer a full list of services for those multi-national companies with multiple sites throughout the U.K. where required.