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Ensuring a smooth Office Fit Out and Refurbishment

There are many reasons why your business may be considering an office fit out or refurbishment. Whether you are growing and running out of space, updating or have an upcoming lease event, it is important to begin considering your fit out or refurbishment as early as possible to ensure a smooth process.

The workplace plays a pivotal role in a company’s success. A well designed and thought-out office will help you to attract top talent, boost morale and crucially, improve your clients’ and visitors’ first impressions.

So, how do you plan for your office fit out or refurbishment project?

Firstly, you need to decide who will form part of your internal project team. This team would usually be made up of key members of staff and senior stakeholders, able to make decisions for the business. Together a brief should be formulated, which will include the key objectives, usually based around: -

  • Projected growth figures and how this will affect staff numbers during the term of the lease.
  • Company culture and how you would like this to be implemented into the new space.
  • Current space utilisation. If possible, review the usage of your current space over a set period, we suggest a two-week snapshot. How often are the meeting rooms, cellular offices, training rooms, break spaces and support areas used? This will assist in specifying how many of these spaces you need to create and for how many occupants.
  • It may be an idea to include a staff survey to see how your employees feel improvements can be made.
  • Storage Audit – how much storage do you need? We find that roughly 50% of stored items can be disposed of before a move.
  • IT Relocation plan – establish your IT requirements going forward. (ie; will the move prove a good opportunity to migrate onto the cloud?)

Budget Considerations

Once your key objectives have been identified, your budget should then be considered for the whole move. Your commercial agent will be able to talk you through the expenses associated with the occupancy of your desired building(s), which will include costs such as rent, service charge and business rates.

Move costs will include the office fit out and refurbishment itself and once a shortlist has been identified, our consultants will be pleased to visit your desired buildings and offer advice on outline layouts and likely fit out costs, to assist with your budgeting and decision making. Other move costs will include IT and telephony equipment, new office furniture, removals, storage, marketing, and possible dilapidations liability associated with the premises you are exiting.

Developing the Design Brief

Once the building has been selected, detailed surveys will be arranged, and we can start to develop the design brief further. Layout drawings will be produced for further discussion, taking into consideration statutory requirements (including Building Control requirements). At this point we will discuss the employee experience and whether areas such as private spaces, acoustic pods, collaboration zones and social spaces to help increase productivity, may be integrated as part of the design.

Other Action Points to Consider

Whilst the lease is being negotiated, we will be working with you to finalise the drawings, specifications, and costs. Your landlord will usually require a formal Licence for Alterations, which we suggest is carried out in tandem with the lease negotiation, if possible. We also suggest submitting plans to ‘Building Control’ (or an approved inspector) as early as possible, so as not to delay a start on site, soon after the lease is finalised.

Benefits of Engaging an Office Design and Build Contractor

Engaging an office design and build contractor such as Interior Property Solutions to undertake your office fit out or refurbishment, will enable the process to move at a faster pace, as you are dealing directly with one party who is accountable for the whole process rather than a series of consultants. This also saves time on site as key decisions can be made quickly, limiting the impact on the programme and crucially, considering the impact on other disciplines enabling you to move in on time.

What are your responsibilities as the client?

Under the CDM Regulations there is a requirement for the client to appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor in writing (in most cases, Interior Property Solutions would be appointed in both roles). Both the client and Principal Contractor are responsible for the management of the health and safety risks associated with the project. They must also ensure that: -

  • The design is compliant with the regulations (statutory approvals are sought);
  • A construction phase plan is produced (with the help of the Principal Contractor); and
  • Notify the HSE and display the F10 Certificate (if applicable).

Additionally, you should ensure your contractor is: -

  • Insured to work in high value commercial buildings - most Landlords will check this before granting their approval;
  • Fully aware of the necessary statutory approvals required for your project and able to obtain necessary permissions on your behalf (Generally, Building Control and Planning); and
  • Conscious of environmental issues.

For more information on the IPS client journey, our step-by-step process can be found here.