Getting to know your Cat A from your Cat B Office Fit-Out

Office Fit-Out

Thinking of an office fit-out? Are you looking to move into a new office space? Or you want to refurbish your existing premises? It can be a minefield of construction jargon regarding what kind of work is required. Here at Navarre London, we have decided to break it down to make the decision process about what your workspace requires simple.

What is Office fit-out?

Firstly what is an office fit-out? This is the transformation from a “shell and core” into a habitable space, adding in important facilities like the toilet! The end-to-end process takes into account standard office requirements, raising the flooring, installing a breakout room and providing work stations.

If you’re a tenant, the space provided may be the ‘shell’ or the Cat A fit-out, leaving it up to you to provide the final finishing touches- known as the Cat B fit-out.

Shell and Core

This is exactly what it sounds like, the bare bones of the building’s interior have been completed, but there may not be any lighting or facilities. Inside, it will more than likely be like a construction site, with concrete floors and walls. A perfect canvas to add your own brand’s personality.

If the building has shared areas for multiple tenants, these communal areas will more than likely be completed to a high standard, with lifts, toilets and reception.

Category A Office Fit-Out

There isn’t a standard definition of a Cat A fit-out and it varies from developer to developer. It is usually the level of fit-out provided by the developer to the landlord. The space would be functional and typically include:

  • Raised floors and suspended ceilings
  • Basic mechanical and electrical fittings
  • Fire detection services
  • Temperature control and ventilation
  • Basic internal surface finishes

You might think that this is all you need to move into a new office space. But you might want to think again. It is usually the bare bones, open-plan and treated like a blank canvas ready for your interior and personal touch. If you move straight into a Cat A space, you won’t have meeting rooms, or a kitchen to enjoy a nice cuppa. This is where you’ll need a Cat B fit out.

Category B Office Fit-Out

This is the fit-out that people are most familiar with. Following on from the Cat A fit-out, this is where your internal space will truly come to life. This fit-out can be uniquely tailored to your brand and workforce. It’s much like moving into a new house and choosing your decorations, lighting and flooring, making it much more personal.

A lot of work goes into the transformation from Cat A fit-out to Cat B fit-out. The first step is a planning meeting to get to understand how the space is going to be used. The process needs to take into consideration the needs of your business and workforce to ensure it is the right mix of work stations and breakout areas.

It isn’t just the functional elements that are important in a Cat B fit-out, this is an opportunity to showcase your ethos and brand through custom design elements. Providing a space to be proud of and one that your employees will love coming to. Usually included in a Cat B fit is:

  • Fully-fitted kitchens and non-communal office amenities
  • Partitioning; including meeting rooms, offices and breakout spaces
  • Workstations and furniture
  • Re-routing air conditioning and power points
  • IT installation and infrastructure
  • Design and brand detailing

Worth Remembering

If you’re about to sign a new lease for office space, make sure you understand exactly what is included. There is no universal standard, so it is largely based on the landlord and developers decision whether it is a ‘shell and core’ or a Cat A fit-out. One landlord’s opinion of what is included in these can be very different from another.

Some landlords may also require the premises to be returned to their previous state when the contract comes to an end.

If you have any questions about a fit-out, be sure to ask one of our expert office fit-out developers.

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