As experts in workspace design and office fit out, we understand that sometimes, industry professionals can take for granted the language they use on a daily basis. With this in mind, we wanted to help define exactly what the fit out process entails to clear up common misunderstandings such as the difference between fit out and office refurbishment.
In order to do this, we need to answer the three following questions…
What is Shell and Core fit out?
Shell and Core is the most self-explanatory part of the office fit out process as it literally describes the point at which the interior space is nothing but a shell. The core foundations have been put into place after the completion of the Shell and Core stage but the space is then just a blank canvas for the subsequent processes to take place.
Although there aren’t really any standard industry definitions to describe the stages of an office fit out, Shell and Core typically encompasses elements including (but not exclusive to):
• External work and finishes
• Staircases and stairwells
• Loading bays and parking
• Lift shafts
What is a Category A office fit out?
A Category A fit out is the next stage in the development of space design once the Shell and Core process has been completed. It offers the client a basic level of finish in which the blank canvas has been tailored to their bespoke requirements and the initial design concepts can start to take shape.
This element of office fit out work usually includes things like raised floors, suspended ceilings, partition walls, surface finishes, beams and pillars. It is during this stage of the workspace design project that smoke alarms, air conditioning and mechanical and engineering installation work is done.
What is a Category B office fit out?
Once the internal structure has been completed, this is where a Category B office fit out process comes in to do a lot of the finishing touches and personalisation in terms of aesthetic and product selection. This is when a design really starts to look polished as branding, colour, flooring, specialist lighting and wall coverings come into play.
A Category B office fit out doesn’t just cover the visual elements though – it also involves processes such as the installation of office furniture, kitchens, breakout spaces, meeting rooms, reception area and any AV or technology.
So, in a nutshell – an office fit out project is all about carrying out processes to make an unusable space operational. It is an end-to-end process that can be time-consuming and expensive if not managed well which is why we would always recommend working with an office fit out specialist.
Employing the expertise of an office fit out partner will enable you to make the project as cost-efficient and seamless as possible, as well as ensuring your business remains fully functional during the fit out.