Different types of office fit out – shell & core, cat A, cat B

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. Think of a category A fit out as a blank canvas that you can build your office on.

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.

Office fit outs fall into three categories:

Shell & Core

Shell and core

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

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Category A

Category A

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 distribution, small-power sockets, lifts, toilets, fire detection systems and so on. Category A fit outs make the space functional but do not have the secondary elements of design that make a workspace fit for purpose. Category A fit outs are often carried out by landlords, to make the building suitable for commercial renting. A business can then come in and implement a category B fit out. Category A fit outs are also sometimes necessary when a company wants to change mechanical or electrical systems to improve efficiencies. Read a case study on one of our Category A type fit outs, before providing a Category B fit out.
Category B

Category B

A Category B fit out involves installing everything that isn’t put in place in a Cat A fit out that is needed for an office to function, as well as the installation of a design aesthetic that enhances your working practices.

A Cat B fit out includes everything from IT infrastructure, audio visual and lighting, to complete installation of kitchen areas, reception areas, meeting rooms, workstations and furniture, décor, design and branding.

This is the most common type of fit out, whereby everything you need is installed and you can choose the layout and décor to make the space your own.

Read a case study on one of our Category B type fit outs.

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