If you have been occupying your offices for a long time, then it’s best to do your organisation and your staff a favor by refurbishing the establishment. Today, an office is more than a location where your staff works, where clients come for a meeting and where presentations for new ideas are made. To improve productivity and creativity in your organisation, its best to refurbish the offices rather than move out. Moving offices is expensive and could cost your company dearly in terms of leases, informing your clients about the change of address and fitting out new furniture and fixtures that work well with your brand.

Thanks to advancement in technology, the way an office should look has changed greatly. Today, companies are seeking open plan offices with modern fittings and fixtures. This is done not only to uphold the company’s culture but to improve the look of the organisation. Massive savings will be gained when an office is refurbished according to modern standards. This is because the amount of space allocated per employee will lower dramatically together with modern technology. No longer will you need a specific area in your office to be dedicated to a specific employee. The number of dedicated PCs will lower in the office which means more space.

Since the offices affect creativity and productivity, office fit out is an important process to undertake. As a multifaceted project, it means you have to establish a budget that includes office fit out costs.

What types of fit out are available to office owners?

a. Category A

This type of fit out includes raised access floors, suspended ceilings, distribution of mechanical and electrical services, basic internal decoration and heavy duty carpet. It can be completed by the selected contractor within the stated budget and schedule. Category A helps to improve access to IT infrastructure cables, improves on security and adds a little comfort and warmth to the office environment.

b. Category B

This type of office fit out covers internal space changes that fit the customer’s requirements and budget. Changes can include final finishes, branding, installation of specialist facilities in the meeting room and reception areas. Others include installation of specialist lighting, ICT equipment, audio visual equipment and furniture. Office owners may request the contractor to carry out Category A fit outs during Category B fit out. The cost will be lower and less damage will be present.

c. Shell and core

These comprises of cladding, completed common areas and other external works. Fit outs will be made in the reception area, lobbies, staircases, toilets, lift shafts, basements, loading bays and car parking among others.

d. Turnkey development

This is where the selected contractor takes up an office refurbishment and delivers a ready to use environment where the owner only needs to turn the key. It is important to have contract documentation that sets out precisely what type of refurbishment will be carried out and by whom.
Now that you know the types of fit outs, you need to select the right one for your company and come up with a budget to ensure success.

What is office fit out costs?

This refers to costs incurred by an office owner during an office refurbishment process and covers different changes like installation of furniture, fixtures, audio visual equipment, security systems, IT infrastructure and others. A few years ago, the only way businesses could undertake office fit out projects was via a capital purchase which would have been subsidised by a bank loan. This approach left many businesses strapped for cash which was needed to invest in other areas such as expansion.

Today, businesses don’t have to take out a loan in order to make changes to the office. Through budgeting and hiring of contractors who are budget friendly and experienced, they can be able to make changes to the layout and interior decorations of the office.

Office fit out costs is affected by many factors for example location, scale, design, staff numbers and furniture selection among others. If you work with an experienced contractor, you can have a rough estimate which will help to guide you when budgeting.

What is the basic rule of thumb?

When it comes to modern office refurbishment, the design and build model is commonly used especially if the costs are less than $ 100,000 (£81,370 according to current exchange rate). The selected contractor will listen to your basic plans finally tailoring their services in order to suit your plans. They will take care of everything from planning to implementation.

If your office fit out costs fall within 85%, there are basic rules of thumb that will help you estimate the costs. One rule is to budget one year rent into the office refurbishment budget. Once the specific needs have been analysed, an experienced contractor will be able to produce a quick summary of anticipated costs.

Factors affecting office fit out costs

a. Market practice

It is important to note that your landlord plays a major role when it comes to office refurbishment. Not only are you required to seek permission from your landlord before beginning the modifications, you need to involve them during or after the modifications are complete. The standard time of delivery differs across regions which is the same with roles and responsibilities. In some markets, contractors will require payment upfront while others will not. In some regions, office fit outs are undertaken by office owners in-conjunction with contractors while in other places, landlords can offer a turnkey solution.

b. Office layout

How large is your office? How many rooms do you need to renovate in your office? The size of your office plays a crucial factor in determining the final office fit out costs. The larger your office is, the higher the costs. This is because some contractors will charge office modifications by measurements. They may provide cost calculators which will help to provide you an on-the-spot budget.

c. Quality of materials

As said earlier, there are four office refurbishment types and each comes with its own requirements. In keeping with the branding and culture of the company, the type of materials used is a factor to consider. Contractors may show you samples of low, medium and high quality materials. Low quality materials are cheap but as you already know cheap is expensive in the long run. High quality materials should be your preferred choice. Not only will they last longer but they have a higher ROI.

d. Furniture and fixtures

Just like the materials used, furniture and fixtures will have to be changed. Lighting needs to change to improve the mood. Instead of the ordinary bulbs you were used to, the contractor will advise you to select smart lighting which will save you on energy bills. Furniture will also be changed. Modern designs will be preferred as they improve the layout of your office. Furthermore, they will improve the mood at your new offices too. The type of material used in manufacturing the furniture and fixtures plus the designs determines how cheap or how expensive they will be. To ensure the best choice for you, seek the help of a contractor who has an office space interior designer in the team.

e. Cost inflation

It is important to understand how costs will fluctuate as this will aid with decision making. In some markets, office fit out costs will be influenced by cost inflation and delayed delivery. Inflation does vary especially when it comes to labor and material cost elements. It will affect your budget and may increase the overall costs too. This is why it is important to include adjustable expenses in your budget to counter inflation.

Final word

In order to achieve a modern office layout that improves the look and feel of the organisation plus its culture, the following goals need to be achieved – flexibility, sustainability, innovation, collaboration and a productive work environment. As the office owner, it is wise to budget. Not only will the budget act as a road map but it will help to prevent overspending which you don’t want. There are factors that affect office fit out costs and they include type of material used, cost inflation, office layout, market practice, furniture and fittings among others.

To ensure that you don’t over spend, you need to make allowances in your budget as this will help to cater for surges in expenses. Finally, select a contractor who is experienced, skilled and has great references.