Office fit out and office refurbishment – what’s the difference?

The terms office fit out and office refurbishment are often used interchangeably but these industry terms are quite distinct from…

By Andy Thomas


The terms office fit out and office refurbishment are often used interchangeably but these industry terms are quite distinct from each other.

What is Office Fit out?

The term ‘office fit out’ covers a range of different processes that transform a basic ‘shell and core’ to different levels of finish, referred to in the trade as ‘Cat A’ and ‘Cat B’ fit outs.

Shell & Core: This is the term used to describe a building where the basic internal framework has been completed. The building will look complete from the outside, but it will be an empty shell inside. It may have completed shared areas such as reception, lifts, toilets etc. but this depends on the developer.

Cat A: A ‘Category A’ or ‘Cat A’ fit out offers a basic level of finish that includes functional elements such as suspended ceilings, raised flooring, and mechanical and electrical services such as air conditioning and lighting.

Cat A office fit out provides a level of finish suitable for basic habitation but little more. At the end of your tenancy you may be expected to return the space to Cat A condition.

Cat B: Category B fit out is what most people would understand to be a completed office space. This level of fit out includes furniture, partitioning, branding and design elements, kitchen areas, IT tech installations and lighting, air conditioning and power points configured to the occupants needs.

What is Office Refurbishment?

Refurbishment involves renovating or reimagining a space that already exists as an office. Refurbishment usually takes place when you inherit a space that has an existing Cat B fit out, when your current space becomes tired and worn or perhaps when you need to expand your workforce without moving buildings. This is known as a ‘Cat B refurbishment’.

Refurbishment begins with stripping out old fixtures or fittings and replacing with new. A refurbishment can be a simple as new carpets, wall coverings and desks, to more involved projects that require replacing ceilings or moving power points, lighting partition walls and air conditioning.

Should I choose an office fit out or refurbishment?

This depends on your current needs and long-term vision, however, costly office moves can often be avoided through careful space planning and refurbishment of your current space.

From finding space for extra desks, creating collaboration zones, agile working environments or extra meeting rooms, a knowledgeable and experienced office fit- out and refurbishment partner will help guide your visions and turn them into reality.

To find out how we’ve helped businesses just like yours, visit our case studies page or contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

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