Embarking on a Cat B office fit out project can be an exciting yet complex endeavour. The aspirations and objectives your business first map out can quickly seem daunting when you begin to think about logistics.
The truth is fit outs can be a daunting experience without the proper support. From the planning, the design and all the way through to construction and management, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Fortunately, there are companies out there who’s mission is to help businesses through their fit out journey, from start to finish making the once complex process, seamless.
Companies like Resolution Interiors offer a turnkey approach to fit outs, starting with an initial consultation and supporting you through the entire process until final handover. For these companies to ensure a smooth and successful journey, it’s essential they follow a step-by-step process that is well managed and promotes effective collaboration.
To help give you more clarity on what to expect when partnering with a design and fit out specialist, here is a step-by-step guide to the Cat B office fit out process.
At the outset, it’s crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of both the needs of your stakeholders and the broader team. This can involve conducting workshops with building user groups to grasp work behaviours and requirements.
By incorporating company brand and cultural values into the design and a clear understanding of objectives, you and your design and fit out specialist can create a workspace that aligns with the business’s vision and expectations.
The design team will always start with this research phase to develop a clear brief which will inform the wider design and the approach to the project. The learnings gained here will help with the allocation of resources and ensure that the right teams are brought in based on their unique skills, capabilities, specialism and – and experience.
During these early stages, your project lead should look to establish a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which the development of the project can be assessed against. These will help the whole team to remain aligned throughout the project and promote a more successful project outcome.
Now that all the preliminary research and strategy phase has been concluded, the designers can start with their design process.
Using the key learnings from the previous stage, they will draft out concept ideas, considering the desired outcomes and needs of your team. To set expectations and ensure that all teams are aligned throughout this phase your design team will create a few different concept routes.
Be mindful that in this stage creativity and concepts may begin to challenge and push your team out of their comfort zone, this is beneficial to find the most innovative solution, whilst keeping the design aligned with what feels right to your team.
The concept stage will culminate in a handful of broad concept areas that convey the design ideas through a series of mood boards, reference images, textures, colours and some placeholder preliminary sketches.
Whilst the concept design stage is underway, the survey and existing site drawing pack must be finalised and fed into the design team, so they have a clearer understanding of the space planning and begin to think about how to largely zone spaces, consider team interdependencies, and build upon user journeys and experience.
During this time, the operations team will begin inspecting building requirements, and helping to outline project expectations, ensuring they are aligned with the budget where necessary upgrades need to be progressed, or for example, where asbestos surveys may be needed.
When done correctly, these two teams should work together to drive out a critical path for key phases of the project development. Together they are in charge of providing you and your team with comprehensive project timings and for acknowledging and preparing any planning considerations.
This key development stage will build upon all of the steps that came before it. In many ways, this stage is the culmination of all the team’s prior work, bringing everything together to present your business with a clear set of drawings, plans and schedules.
All of the feedback and learnings garnered from the client project steering team are collated and the design is finalised, taking into account the response your team had to the earlier concept stages.
At the end of this phase you are presented with a well-rounded scheme shown through detailed drawings and renders, such as floor plans and elevations, of the proposed design, as well full material specification.
When partnering with a turnkey specialist team, throughout this stage the operations team will feed into the design team and their ongoing processes, helping to guide one another on budget parameters, and possible build complexities. This ensures that the scheme you choose will not get compromised and watered down through the costing and build phases due to misalignment between design aspirations and project restrictions.
Once the design scheme is approved, the operations team will progress further site visits with all the necessary specialist trades, to develop out a full project scope document. This document will inform both the project cost schedule and the entire build programme.
From here onwards the operations team you are working with will work to make your design scheme a reality, constantly looking at ways to add value through methods such as value engineering or progressing necessary maintenance works alongside build works to make the project more efficient. They will advise you on any legislative or planning requirements at the earliest available opportunity, and can support you with the submission and consent process, if this is required.
Upon approval of the cost proposal, orders can be placed for the materials and equipment required to complete your project within the given deadline. In addition, all health and safety compliances are progressed, including the construction phase plan, method statements, and risk assessments.
During the preparation of schedules and works planning, your day-to-day business is always considered, ensuring minimal impact on the business operations. This entails planning for potential disruptions, such as noisy works conducted outside business hours, necessary service outages, facility re-routing and temporary desk relocations.
With the planning completed, it’s now time to begin construction! At the beginning of this stage, the site will be set up and prepped, whilst thorough inductions are held with the relevant teams so that construction can begin safely and efficiently with all the necessary procedures established.
Through a dedicated Project Manager, you’ll get comprehensive progress and cost reports with weekly site visits, inspections, and assessments.
This is where you’ll truly see the rewards for all of the proper planning and goal setting that takes place in the earlier stages. When done correctly, the project will proceed smoothly working towards the clearly defined project goals and KPI’s that were set during pre-construction.
Following the construction and completed work, the project handover will be carried out by your Project Manager. Walking you through the entire site and ensuring that the quality and end product meets with your satisfaction and set project KPIs (post the contractor’s own quality control and pre-snagging processes)
As well as this, the operations team will train all building user management staff on how to use and maintain new systems installed, whilst also providing a full operations and maintenance manual for future reference.
This manual includes all warranties, specialist care, cleaning requirements and user guides, as well as ‘as built’ drawings of your new space. Your specialist fit out team, may also seek feedback from all parties and then complete a 360 degree project review. This will help to identify any further value that can be derived for you, and where future projects are concerned, ensure that opportunities for improvement and added value can be maximised.
At Resolution Interiors, we start by getting to know you, your business and your customers. We build this into the brief and account expectations, swiftly following with a highly detailed site survey, this key early planning stage sets out the precise scope of your project.
During our site visit we will assess building condition and maintenance options, including asbestos reports or requirements. We provide you and your team with a comprehensive drawing pack, project timings and projected costs, including any planning considerations.
Alternatively, why not give us a ring on +44 (0)1935 422 700. We look forward to hearing from you.