Not surprisingly, this question is often the first one companies think to ask when discussing a potential office fit out or refurbishment project. In an ideal world, the answer to this question would be a price range that succinctly summarises the works and related costs involved.
Unfortunately, fit out projects are not so black and white. Some sources online will have you believe that they can easily determine a rough cost for a Cat B fit out, basing the price on average sq ft of your space.
Whilst their intentions may be pure, the results can be deemed disingenuous. In truth, an office fit out is a significant project, usually requiring months of planning and preparation to accurately ascertain final costs. Even then, circumstances can arise which may impact budgets.
The solution? Being open and honest with clients and having experts carry out extensive site visits before providing them with a quote.
That being said, there are certainly things that impact cost. Getting a grasp of these many office fit out elements can help you more accurately determine a rough cost and prepare you for the conversations you may have when partnering with a design and fit out company such as Resolution Interiors.
The first question you should be asking yourself is, what is the main purpose behind this office fit out? It might seem obvious, but really narrowing down the objectives and goals behind your office fit out project will help you and your design and fit out specialist partners ascertain the basic limitations and requirements for your future space.
Most likely, it will help you decide how much space you’re going to need – space being one of the most financially impactful factors of any fit out. Normally, businesses will determine they need just as much space as they do now – however, depending on your objectives and goals you might find you need more than before.
What does that mean for your fit out? Well, it could mean that the current building you’re operating out of will not support your business’ needs. In that case, leaning on the expertise of a design and fit out specialist means you could be assisted when finding a suitable new space and associated costs folded into your fit out budget.
This will clearly be aligned to your company goals and workforce populace. Many companies are now opting for satellite offices in place of one main headquarters building, in both an effort to reduce travel and rental costs whilst reducing travel time for employees.
However, it could also mean that the current space needs to be reworked or adapted ergonomically. Determining this early will help maximise the potential of your existing space, thinking cleverly about ergonomic furniture, compact design or using space that is often underutilised such as the ceiling.
Whilst this again might be obvious, you’d be surprised how many companies can get this wrong. The budget that has been set for your office fit out, whilst considered and planned may not be feasible for the scope of your project.
In some cases, external design teams are tasked with creating the office design in line with your companies’ goals and objectives. That design is then passed on to a sperate fit out company, who are tasked with bringing that vision to life.
The issue here is that none of these services are talking to one another throughout the process before things are signed off. This can lead to ambitious designs which are not aligned with the budget and fit out teams looking for ways to deliver on customer expectations whilst not going over budget. A job which becomes much harder when unforeseen issues arise which can eat into the budget.
This could also result in what was supposed to be Cat B projects, becoming an amalgamation of Cat A, B and C. It’s never easy to plan project budgets, but having multiple different parties oversee the planning, design and fit out can be a recipe for disaster.
Instead, more accurately planning out the scope of the project in the early stages and leveraging a team that works across the planning, design and fit out processes can help keep things aligned with your budget.
Bring all teams into the conversation early, so they can each share thoughts and ideas based on their skillsets, helping to create a realistic budget and a design and fit out timeline that is feasible and manageable.
This is easier to do when partnering with a specialist team that offers all of these services under one roof. So, look out for this when planning your office fit out project.
As we touched on earlier, online sources that claim to have calculators to estimate rough office fit out costs are often doing so as a marketing ploy. Whilst this service would be incredibly useful if it worked, the reality is every project will vary too greatly to get remotely close to an accurate budget.
The complexity and sophistication of your building’s systems will have a huge impact on cost. For example, most office fit outs must at least consider heating and ventilation systems as part of their fit out process.
Heating, cooling and ventilation systems however, can be as much as 40% of the total project’s value, in some cases, completely throwing out the budget these online calculators give you.
As well as this, the condition of your building can have an impact on the feasibility of installing certain systems. For example, those looking to install more sustainable heating systems might find that the condition of the wider building would make this investment less viable, as it wouldn’t provide the normal return on investment they could provide in another building. For example, if there is poor insulation or the building’s windows need to be replaced.
This recurring theme of ‘case by case basis’, is both a blessing and a curse in the fit out industry. Whilst it can make it hard to determine average costs and prices, it does mean that every project has unique areas in which money can be saved and more cleverly spent.
The key here is to bring in the right team, that can help you navigate the unique issues that may appear during your fit out project, helping you make better financial decisions and pointing out areas where value engineering might enable the budget to stretch further.
Proper budget allocation is built upon asking yourself the right questions and making an informed decision based on your findings, supported by specialist intelligence and advice.
Here are some of the main questions we advise all our clients to ask themselves before embarking on an office fit out project, to accurately determine costs:
The answers that get thrown up by asking your team these questions may surprise you, as well as helping to set expectations for the journey ahead.
Your budget and costs should be closely managed and adapted throughout the duration of your office fit out project. Being set fast in your approach to budget can spell disaster if you’re not open to being flexible to the challenges and circumstances that may arise throughout the project.
Seek out a team that offers this sort of expert project management experience as part of the office design and fit out process. Through their expertise and the use of contractors such as Quantity Surveyors and Estimators, they can ensure things remain on track and where budget might begin to breach the initial scope, offer solutions and clever alternatives to manage any extra costs.
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.