Office Fit Out FAQs – General

Ready to update your office?

Call us now on 01142331115 or contact us here

What’s the definition of an office fit out?

An office fit out refers to the process of making the interior space of a commercial building suitable for the people who use it. A fit out can come in three different forms:

1. Shell and core – The framework of the building is in place but it is just a shell that is ready for the actual fit out. Services such as water systems and electrical systems will be in place but things such as suspended ceilings, flooring, wall coverings, partitions, lighting and so on will not be installed.

2. Category A fit out – This level of fit out covers the basics needed for an office to be functional but without the ‘finishing touches’ found in category B. Typical category A features include flooring, wall coverings and suspended ceilings, electrical sockets, lifts, toilets, fire detection systems and so on.

3. Category B – The space is fully ready for occupancy and usually includes furniture and electrical equipment such as IT, audio visual and lighting, on top on everything found in a category A installation. Category B also includes the complete installation of kitchen areas, reception areas, meeting rooms and individual offices.

What’s the difference between a category A and category B office fit out?

A category A fit out includes basic finishes to the floors, walls and ceilings – the space is finished but with no fixtures and fittings such as partitions, meeting rooms or individual offices laid out. The office space will be functional but not include the final specifications included in a category B fit out.

A category B fit out is a finished office space that has been tailored to the exact requirements of the client, resulting in a space that is ready for occupancy.

Where can I find ideas for an office refurbishment?

Find inspiration for your office refurbishment by looking at Dale Office Interiors’ previously completed projects including Go Outdoors, Visualsoft and Rare Creative. Alternatively, we share our expertise, tips and ideas in our articles Why Great Office Design Matters to Your Staff and Your Bottom Line and 5 Meeting Room Redesign Tips to Increase Creativity.

For more inspiration you can view Dale Office Interiors’ Pinterest boards which cover everything from furniture and finishes to partitioning and pods and booths.

How much does an office fit out cost?

Office redesign projects are bespoke to each individual client and space so it’s very difficult to provide a typical cost. Considerations include whether the project is a shell and core, category A or category B fit out and the quality of furniture, fixtures and finish.

These changes in cost occur due to the time, nature of the changes, materials used and the specialist involvement in the project.

What’s a typical schedule of works for an office fit out?

You can download an example of a typical schedule of works for an office fit out here.

What are the typical stages of an office fit out?

Although each project is unique, an office fit out will generally involve these stages:

1. Agreeing the scope of the project

2. Engage design and project teams

3. Feasibility studies

4. Design and project development

5. Clarifying of all compliance aspects

6. Pre-contract agreement and compliance

7. Project programming

8. Project delivery and management

9. Post occupancy and project evaluation

What’s the best way to plan for an office fit out?

In many cases companies choose to work with an office interiors company that will take on the project management role for the entire fit out process. This will include liaising with other specialists such as furniture suppliers, lighting designers, and ceiling and partition companies, for example.

At Dale Office Interiors, we provide our clients with a schedule of the work involved in the fit out and a plan for how this work will affect your company day-to-day whilst the work is taking place.

What building regulations approval is required for an office fit out?

Alterations to a building may require building regulations approval to ensure compliance. A competent workspace design and build company like Dale Office Interiors will advise on this aspect.

At Dale Office Interiors we take care of this aspect for clients and can gain building regulations approval on your behalf.

How can I ensure an office fit out complies with BREEAM guidelines?

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) refers to the assessment, rating and certification of how sustainable a building is, including office space. BREEAM guidelines advise on how to minimise the environmental damage caused by an office refurbishment or fit out. This could be improving the overall performance of a building in terms of saving energy and water or retaining and improving existing features rather than demolishing them.

You can learn more about BREEAM’s standards for refurbishing existing buildings on the BREEAM website.

Dale Office Interiors help clients ensure their projects meet BREEAM guidelines, so if you are refurbishing a space or planning a new build and are unsure of how to meet BREEAM standards, speak to the team on 0114 233 1115.

What are the electrical requirements for an office fit out?

This will depend on the scope of an individual project but most projects will include some alterations to M&E (mechanical and electric) services. These services include air conditioning, lighting, heating and power in general. As part of the service from Dale Office Interiors, we ensure compliance in this regards by working with Part P qualified electricians to ensure electrical contractors are competent and qualified.

Who will be responsible for the interior design of an office fit out?

Your office interiors company will be able to design the finishing touches to your fit out for you. For example, Dale Office Interiors work with clients to design a finish that will help reflect your company’s brand, improve the wellbeing of staff, be comfortable and highly functional and be future-proof so it can grow with your business. Most importantly, our goal is to create a space that inspires your team to do the very best for your customers.

Do I need permission from the landlord for an office fit out?

Commercial leases generally contain covenants that restrict what the tenant can do. If you’re a tenant wishing to carry out improvements to the office, your first port of call should be to check what the lease permits and prevents.

  • A qualified covenant means improvements can only be carried out with the landlord’s consent. But with this covenant comes a proviso from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 that states such consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.
  • An absolute covenant against alterations prevents the tenant from making any improvements to the property. Absolute covenants against structural or external alterations are common in commercial leases, but there is usually more flexibility around internal or cosmetic changes.
  • The majority of commercial leases contain restrictions around applying for and implementing planning permission, so this needs to be considered if any planned alterations to the office would require permission. Although a fit out is unlikely to fall into this category, it’s important to check when negotiating the lease and when applying for the landlord’s consent.

How many desks can I fit in my office?

This of course depends on the size of the space. The best way to answer this question is to lay out the configuration of desks in the office, leaving a reasonable amount of space around each workstation or block of workstations.

As a guide, the government’s Health and Safety Executive states that the volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres. But this is a minimum figure and may be insufficient if much of the room is taken up by furniture, fittings and equipment.

If you talk to us at Dale Office Interiors, we’ll be able to advise you on the best and safest configuration of desks, plus other furniture and equipment, for your space.

Why does office design matter?

Put simply, because the people in it – and those who you currently or hope to do business with – matter. Here are a few of the most important reasons to consider:

  • The environment in which we work affects our health, wellbeing and productivity, as numerous studies and surveys have shown. So investing in a pleasant and healthy workspace is now becoming expected of employers.
  • The reason above also applies to attracting prospective employees, who are sure to look your company up and seek out pictures of your offices.
  • Your office is an extension of your brand and therefore an advertisement for your company’s standards and values. Therefore your customers, both existing and potential, will expect to see an office that’s reflective of the service or products they’re paying you for.
  • It’s the basis on which to build a strong and cohesive company culture. For example, providing breakout areas for staff to relax in or installing a pool table should reflect office culture, and not simply be seen as ‘perks’. Great culture needs to be invested in and supported, not simply expected.

How should I design my office space?

This is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or without sufficient guidance and support. Our designers at Dale work closely with clients to advise on design solutions that not only make efficient use of space but reflect your company’s brand and improve staff wellbeing. Here are a few starting points to consider incorporating in the design:

  • Attractive reception area
  • As much natural light as possible
  • Enough space
  • Enough storage
  • Good quality furniture

You can see more advice on how to boost company branding and culture with interior design here.

How does office design affect productivity?

This is an important question, and there’s a lot of interesting research to be read about it. At Dale we decided to conduct our own research involving the people who matter: staff. We carried out a survey asking 500 members of the public what they thought would improve their productivity at work in relation to office design. Four of the most prominent answers were:

  1. Create space to relax in
  2. Invest in better technology
  3. Offer quiet spaces for private work
  4. Clear away office clutter

We can help you find the best and most cost-effective ways to achieve these goals – get in touch to find out what we can do for you.

Feel inspired by the above? Just click on the buttons below to share it: