The average UK employee will spend nearly 90,000 hours at work during their career.

And that’s before you take into account any overtime.


Safe to say then, that a working environment can have a big impact on the quality of life and contentment of a workforce.

But it goes deeper than this.

The success and efficiency of a business are also impacted. Well-designed and comfortable office space can increase productivity, inspire staff, and help a business to evolve.

Whether you’re moving to new premises, just starting out, or ready for a rebrand, if you’re planning an office fit-out, this is your opportunity to transform your workspace into a high-performing environment – a place where your team can’t wait to get to work!

Exciting stuff, yet with this much possibility hanging on the success of your office fit-out, it can feel a little daunting, especially if it’s your first time.

What’s involved? How long will it take? How much will it cost? These are just some of the many questions likely to be running through your mind – but don’t panic. The team at Blok Projects is here to help.

Read on to have all your questions answered as we take a closer look at what’s involved with an office fit-out.


What is an office fit-out?

Office Fit out - Blok Projects

First things first, you’re probably wondering what exactly an office fit-out is and how it’s any different to an office refurb or office interior design. So, let’s clear things up before we go any further.

The term office fit-out is used to talk about a more in-depth project – taking a blank canvas (or the ‘shell’ of a building) and transforming it into a usable, fully functioning office that has been designed around the needs of your business. Essentially, an office fit-out can include any kind of work you want – as long as it stays within building regulations.

Whilst very similar (and the terms are frequently interchanged), strictly speaking, a refurbishment is adapting a space that is already in use – changing or reconfiguring the layout and design to meet the specific requirements of your business.

As for interior design, well, this is the really fun bit! This denotes the process of creating a functional yet attractive workspace that reflects your company brand, ethos, and style, and is usually included as part of an office fit-out or refurb.


The different categories of an office fit-out

Windmill Green Office Fit-out desks and chairs

Every office fit-out is different, but there are 3 main categories that this work falls into:


Shell and core fit-out

As the name suggests, this is the most basic starting point for an office fit-out.

Typically, it denotes that only the bare bones of a building are in place, e.g. the structural elements, but nothing more – no electrics or other amenities.

Starting an office fit-out from this point can be beneficial, as you have complete freedom (landlord permitting) to configure the space entirely to your liking.

That said, as more work is required, you can also expect this level of fit-out to cost more.


Category A fit-out

Often referred to as a Cat A fit-out, this is a step further on.

With a Cat A fit-out some basics – such as flooring, lights, toilets, etc. – are already in place.

In theory, this makes the space usable, but keep in mind there won’t be any furniture or equipment.


Category B fit-out

A Cat B fit-out is the final stage of turning an empty shell into a professional office space that’s fully kitted out for all your business needs.


What does the fit-out process involve?

Blok Projects Momentum waiting area Office Fit-out

Regardless of the starting point of your office fit-out, there are several key stages involved in the process:


·      Finding the right office fit-out partner

This is absolutely key to the success of your project.

Be sure to do your research thoroughly – ask around for recommendations, check out reviews, view previous examples of their work, and fully evaluate which services and skills are on offer.

Seek quotes and make sure you are totally clear on the terms and conditions of any contract. Being clear on these things now will help to minimise the risk of any misunderstandings (and unnecessary delays) once the project gets underway.

It will also help to ensure you choose an office fit-out contractor who meets all your requirements and is aligned with your vision from the beginning.


·      Design and consultancy

Having chosen the office fit-out company you’re going to work with, the next step will be to meet with them so they can gain a better understanding of what your business is all about and what you want and need from your office space.

This process can be quite detailed, but it’s important. Not only to make sure you get the best from your design, but also to ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of the expectations of the project.


·      Design sign-off and prep

Once the design of your office fit-out has been agreed on, you’re ready to begin.

Depending on your starting point, and the category of your office fit-out, preparation work can involve anything from simply clearing space ready for equipment to be installed through to full-scale demolition work.


·      Layout preparation and first fix electrics

One of the most important aspects of any office design is having the right electrical connections in the right places!

If you’re working from a shell fit-out, you’ll need to deliberate this from scratch, but if your project is starting from a more advanced point, you’ll need to consider the new layout to assess where further outlets may need to be installed or where power may need redirecting to.

First fix will also take into account whether any new partition walls are required, points for CCTV and alarm systems, and key safety aspects such as fire alarms.


·      Second fix

At this point, things will start to take shape.

The second fix is when electrical fittings start to be installed – sockets, switches, and sensors will all be fixed into place.

Second fixes will also be carried out on amenities like air conditioning, heating, and plumbing, and you’ll start to see the design take shape as features like flooring go down.


·      Furniture and equipment

Windmill Green Office Fit-out Waiting area

Now the second fix is complete, electrical equipment and office furniture can be brought onsite and put into position.

Any painting, graphics, branding, and final soft furnishings will then be added to fine-tune the overall aesthetics of the space.


·      Final testing

And you’re done!

You should now be the proud owner of a customised office space that is fully in-tune with the needs and demands of your company.

Final testing will be carried out to ensure the plumbing and electrics are all working properly, with any issues promptly fixed – ready for you and your team to move in and get to work.


Why might you need an office fit-out?

Glassworks desks Office Fit-out

If things are going well, you might be questioning the value of investing in an office fit-out. But if your business is to be as successful as it can be, it’s essential to curate a productive workspace.

Signs it’s time for an overhaul include:


·      Outdated aesthetics

Do things look a little old hat? Is outdated branding still on show? Are desk chairs worn out or faded? Appearances matter, so the visual appeal of an office should never be underestimated.

Not only can a smart and contemporary office space impress clients, but it can also inspire and motivate staff every day.


·      Growing business needs

Things going well? Then chances are you’ll need to expand your office space.

An office fit-out can help you to reconfigure your setting, allowing you to make more effective use of the space available. With the help of savvy designers,  you should also be able to build capacity for future expansion into your design, too – helping to future-proof your investment.


·      Workforce motivation

We’ve already touched on the considerable amount of time people spend at work, and for many, this is time they’d far rather spend elsewhere.

But whilst home life should always take the edge over work life, with a great office design, you can change the way people feel about being at the office.

Create a space where people want to be – a space that is comfortable, practical, and motivational – and not only will you change your staff’s attitudes about being in the office, but this can also foster a more collaborative, productive, and happy workforce overall.


How long does an office fit-out take?

Park House Fit-out by Blok Projects seating area

The bigger your premises, the longer your fit-out is likely to take. That said, size isn’t the only factor. The complexity and starting point of your project will also impact timescales – for example, a shell fit-out will take longer than a Cat B fit-out.

Either way, there’s no point pretending that an office fit-out isn’t going to cause disruption to day-to-day business – it’s inevitable. However, by partnering with a professional office fit-out company, you can be confident of progress staying on track.

You should be provided with realistic timeframes, so you understand exactly what you’re dealing with, allowing you to plan accordingly and ensure business continuity as far as possible for the duration of the work.


How much will it cost?

For many companies, this is the biggie.

With budgets, balance sheets, and profitability at the forefront of any decisions, it’s important to have a clear price with no runaway costs.

That said, there’s rarely a fixed ‘one price suits all’ approach to an office fit-out (and we’d be wary of any company that offers this). Every job is bespoke, and prices should be calculated based on the needs and complexity of your specific project.

Larger-scale tasks – for example, a full fit-out from a shell – will cost more than a Cat B fit-out, but things like the size of your office and the spec of the finish you’d like will all impact the price.


Finding the right office fit-out partner

At Blok Projects, we’ve helped businesses of all shapes and sizes to create unique and inspiring office spaces – on time and within budget.

Why not get in touch to find out more about what we can do to transform your work environment? We’ll gladly answer any questions and chat through your ideas and the requirements of your business.

Reap the rewards of innovative design and start your office fit-out project today.

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