To the untrained eye, office fit out and office refurbishment can seem virtually identical. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, when it comes down to the purposes and processes, they are actually quite different.
Fit out and refurbishment are closely related – of course – but each has their own set of objectives and actions. To fully wrap your head around the difference between the two, you first need to have good ground knowledge of what each entail…
Let’s start with:
A definition of office fit out
In a nutshell, office fit out is the transformation of a space so that it can be used.
This comes in varying degrees, from a completely empty shell of a building to a blank canvas which needs personalisation in the form of things like glass walls and bespoke kitchens.
The different types of fit out:
- Shell & Core – This involves transforming the interior of a shell, including things like cladding, lift shafts, mechanics, electrical and structural work.
- Cat A – Category A offers the next level of finish which encompasses elements such as suspended ceilings and partition walls.
- Cat B – Category B is the most closely related to refurbishment in that it including features like office furniture, fabrics and technology installation.
Now, for comparison, let’s look at…
What a refurb project involves
A refurbishment project involves the renovation or reimagining of a space which already exists and/or has already been used.
A refurb can include things like new furniture, updated technology, new flooring and refreshed brand manifestation.
Office refurbishment checklist:
- Know when it’s the right time to refurb your workspace
- Define your objectives and understand your reasons for refurbishing
- Set a strict budget and realistic financial expectations
- Find an office interior design specialist to work with
So, to summarise…
The main differences between fit out and refurb are:
Fit out involves making a concrete shell into an inhabitable space; completing the internal structure and interior design of a space which doesn’t already exist.
Refurbishment comes further down the line when a lived-in space becomes outdated or lacking in resource and needs to be redesigned to combat the issues being presented.
Question: which one do I need?
It really depends on two things:
- The issues you may currently be facing with your current environment
- What you see yourself ideally gaining from the new workspace
If you’re currently working in an enclosed office and feel that a lack of collaboration is holding your workforce back and hindering motivation levels, a Cat B fit out may be required to transition into an open plan office and create new collaborative working areas.
If a communication of brand image and values is your problem, a refurb could be the best solution.
This would enable you to update your office furniture, introduce a new colour scheme or reconfigure the spaces to introduce more diverse work settings such as breakout and private focus.
Leave it to the professionals!
We help our clients pinpoint this through face-to-face conversations as well as workshops and evaluative surveys.
Whether it’s a fit out or refurb project you require though, it will likely be one of the biggest investments of time and money you will ever dedicate to your place of work.
For this reason, we would always recommend speaking to an industry professional who will be able to use their skills and experience to best advise you.
Click to find out why we always champion the benefits of partnering with an office fit out specialist.