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What is the Difference Between Types of Office Fit Out?

March 13, 2019    |   Panny Antoniou

Fitting out an office space is the process by which the internal space is made suitable for the tenant’s occupation.

It includes the installation of any of any facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom as well as creating meeting rooms, work stations, breakout areas, and raising the flooring. Many new office lettings are provided in what is known as a Shell and Core format or as a Cat A fitout. Both of these formats mean that there is some work which is needed in order to create Cat B space which is suitable for a business’s occupation.  In this blog, we outline the different kinds of fitout a property can come with and what would typically be available in each of the categories.

Shell and Core:

Shell and core fit out is just an empty shell property, typically in the condition which developers provide it in post construction. On the outside the building looks complete, however, inside the property will look like a construction site with concrete floors, walls, and ceilings and no lighting or other facilities installed.

Upon letting a space such as this, any new occupier would have to install all the amenities which make the property suitable for them to occupy comfortably and safely. Often with such properties, communal areas including lifts, receptions, and staircases are fully completed to a high standard and are suitable for any incoming tenants.

Category A Fitout:

There is no standard definition of what constitutes a Category A fitout. They are usually functional spaces which will often need furnishing. Whilst habitable, they are usually just an open plan finish with only the absolute necessities, allowing a fitout expert or office designer to put their stamp on a space.

As well as not coming furnished, a Cat A fitout does not include many of the things which you would want in an office space such as a kitchen, breakout areas, or meeting rooms. In order to have these, you must install a Cat B fitout which is tailored to your own specifications.

What is normally included in a Cat A fitout?

  • Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire detection services
  • Basic utilities such as working plugs, lighting, and plumbing
  • Air conditioning, heating, and ventilation
  • Raised flooring and suspended ceilings (usually with a fairly basic finish)
  • Basic internal finishes
Category B Fitout:

A Category B fitout comes after a Cat A fitout and creates a space which can be moved into immediately. This is usually left for an incoming tenant to design and create as it is often tailored to the specific needs of a business.

There is a large amount of work which goes into transforming what is a very basic Cat A fitout into something which is ideal for your business. This includes the creation of meeting rooms, different types of work stations, and any additional amenities such as a kitchen or breakout areas.

Any Cat B fitout should be directly reflective of your line of business and your company ethos. This includes furniture and layout which compliments your company culture and an aesthetic which matches the image you are trying to portray. Another important aspect to consider is that your employees feel comfortable and able to work as this can prove essential in retaining your best talent as well as attracting new team members to grow your business.

What is normally included in a Cat B fitout?

  • Furniture and workstations
  • IT installation and accompanying infrastructure
  • Partitioning including meeting rooms, breakout areas, and offices
  • Fully fitted kitchen and other non-communal office amenities
  • Design and company branding
  • Re-routing of air conditioning and power points to reflect change of layout
Our Advice:

When signing a new lease for either a Cat A or Shell and Core it is important to understand exactly what state the property will come in and what will be included. In the industry there is no standard about and one landlord’s definition of what constitutes Cat A fitout and Shell and Core may differ from another’s. In addition, in some leases there is a provision which requires the space to be returned to the landlord in its original state.

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