What is Involved When it Comes to a Fit-Out?
Many clients haven’t heard the term, “fit-out” or they use the term interchangeably with “build-out.” This is correct in that both are essential the same! For the purpose of this article, we will refer to the process as a fit-out.
What is a Fit-Out?
Fit-out refers to the process of making an interior space ready for occupation. As a common practice, when constructing commercial buildings, the spaces inside are left bare for the occupants to determine the level of refurbishment needed (or fitting out). Ideally, fit-outs allow the business to plan and create how the establishment will look like.
In building preparation, fit-out refers to activities such as the installation of the floors, ceilings, partitions, and furnishings. Additionally, building services such as cabling, wiring, internet connectivity, and communication arrangements may also fall under the fitting out process.
Different Types of Fit-Outs
Fit-Outs involve taking an empty space and transforming it into a usable office set up. This means putting up structural features like window placements, door fittings, heating, plumbing, and ventilation. Commercial fit-outs are classified into three major categories – Category A, Category B, and Shell-Core fit-outs. To make a more informed decision when fitting out a commercial space, you need to understand what each category involves:
- Shell and Core Fit-Out: Here, the framework of the building is already in place waiting for the fitting out process. From the outside, the envelope of the building may appear done, however; it’s missing several components such as power, interior walls, lighting, and heating. A shell and core fit-out allows a business to custom fit a space to its specifications. This is suitable for large companies taking up a lot of space.
- Category A Fit-Out: Category A fit-out is typically what is found in a commercial space that’s ready for renting. This is a basic functional unit with some utilities such as electrical wiring and plumbing fixtures already in place. Usually, a Category A fit-out will involve installing features such as electrical outlets, raised access floors, HVAC systems, fire protection systems, toilets, and grid ceilings. Basically, the space is functional but lacks the secondary features of design that’ll make it fit for its intended use. From this building phase, a business moves in and implements a Category B layout.
- Category B Fit-Out: Category B fit-out is the layout that takes into account your business needs and image. This fit-out involves installing features and systems lacking in Category A. In other words, Category B is the aesthetic design fit-out phase where the space is made to be more specific to the business. This phase may involve window treatments, adding furniture, installing the lighting, adding some flooring, partitioning, painting, and branding.
What if a Tenant Already Occupies a Building?
When a tenant has been based in a building and seeks renovation, or if an occupant is new to a commercial building, the landlord works with the occupants in the fit-out process. In this situation, the commercial space is customized for occupants and their specific requirements. Almost everything can be renovated from walls to floors to cubicles and industrial equipment. Here are some top reasons for a fit-out when a tenant already occupies a building:
- Functionality: A commercial space can be focused on functionality – such as minimizing walking distance and minimizing collisions with surroundings simultaneously. Making a space comfortable for employees and also built for high productivity is functionality.
- Ergonomics: Human factors, or ergonomics, is a focus on commercial spaces to have as much comfort as possible while working. Meaning the furniture, industrial equipment and other elements are focused on efficiency, ease and safety of usage.
- Eco-friendliness: With today’s environmental focuses, commercial spaces can feature solar power as well as additional methods of reducing power usage (and even reducing costs). More interior windows and glass dividers can aid in increasing natural light in commercial fit-out areas.
- Plant life: As with eco-friendly trends, many commercial spaces today comprise increased live plants and trees. Real vines and green leaves and even waterfalls can be included throughout the commercial space, providing a peaceful yet vibrant feeling to visitors as well as tenants.
- Creativity and collaboration: This has been a growing trend particularly in offices. A creative and collaborative space is built for workers (as well as customers). In office spaces this means fewer cubicles, fewer boundaries, and increased brainstorm-ready meeting rooms, marker idea boards on rollers, and open-concept spaces to be made available in the space anywhere anytime.
- Technology: Technology needs in spaces today are a requirement. But they need to be planned early in commercial space design phases. All the required electrical and technological outlets and cables must be built into the area without being painfully obvious or hazardous. It’s also helpful to construct areas with materials for dividers or walls that won’t hurt wi-fi reception. Of course some occupants will have more specific, or increased, technology requirements than others.
As you can see, with fit-outs, there are many options available. When embarking on a construction project such as this, you should have a construction firm that has experience with the requirements you have for your commercial space, such as Clay Commercial.
Work with Clay Construction
Ready for an office fit-out? As a premier commercial construction company, Clay Construction is proud to provide interior and exterior services in the Metro DC Area. We have an impeccable track record, an impressive portfolio, and an experienced team that is ready to tackle your next big project. Our results speak for themselves, and we’re proud of the work we continue to produce for our clients.
Do you want to discuss your project with a member of our team? Contact us today!