An overview of commercial office fit outs.

In the realm of commercial real estate and workplace design, the term “office fit out” is frequently used, but what exactly does it entail? Let’s delve into the details to understand its significance, the different types of office fit outs, and why it matters to businesses of all sizes.

office furniture fitout specialists

An office fit out refers to the process of designing and refurbishing an office space to meet specific requirements and objectives. It involves transforming an empty or outdated workspace into a functional, productive, and aesthetically pleasing environment tailored to the needs of the business and its staff.

Office fit outs are more than just superficial changes; they encompass a comprehensive approach to space planning, interior design, construction, and installation. From conceptualisation to completion, each stage of the fit out process contributes to creating a workspace that reflects the organisation’s culture, values, and operational needs.

When is an Office Fit Out Required?

An office fit out becomes necessary for various reasons. It may be prompted by a company’s expansion, relocation, rebranding, or simply the desire to enhance productivity and employee satisfaction. Moreover, as businesses evolve, so do their workspace requirements, making periodic fit outs essential to adapt to changing needs and technologies. Here are some of the scenarios where an office fit out would be beneficial;

Expansion, Change and Growth: As businesses grow, they often outgrow their existing office space or require additional facilities to accommodate a larger workforce. An office fit out allows companies to optimise their workspace to support growth, change in working practices and maximize efficiency. 

Relocation and Consolidation: When relocating to a new office or consolidating multiple locations, organisations have the opportunity to design a workspace from scratch with minimal downtime, allowing them to integrate existing elements into a cohesive design. A well-planned fit out ensures a smooth transition and minimises disruptions to business operations.

> See our Business Stream case study to see how relocating existing furniture and installing new furniture was done over the weekend with 0 staff downtime.

Agile working office designs

Adapting to Technological Advances: With rapid advancements in technology and evolving work trends, office environments need to be flexible and adaptable. Adopting remote working may lead companies to find they don’t need more space, but their furniture is no longer serving their needs. A well-executed fit out integrates the latest technologies, connectivity solutions, and agile workspaces to support remote collaboration, mobile workforces, and emerging business needs. 

“After Covid-19 introduced remote working on a mass scale, we’ve found more of our clients need to redefine their office space. Reducing the need for assigned desks, and introducing collaborative and agile workspaces to help entice workers back into the office to communicate. This also means they can grow without the need to take on a bigger office space” – Nick Saunders, Flexiform Sales Director

Rebranding and Image Enhancement: A visually appealing and professionally designed office space can enhance a company’s brand image and make a positive impression on clients, partners, and employees. Whether it’s updating outdated decor or incorporating brand elements into the design, a fit out can help reinforce brand identity and values. 

95% of employees think that a well-designed office makes them more productive.” – Zipdo, 2024.

Improving Employee Experience: Employee satisfaction and well-being are crucial for productivity and retention with 53% of millennials would rather work in a smart office than a traditional one (Zipdo, 2024). An office fit out that prioritises comfort, functionality, and amenities can create a conducive work environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and employee engagement. 

What are Cat A and Cat B Fit Outs and how are they different?

Office fit outs are commonly categorised into two main types: Category A (Cat A) and Category B (Cat B) fit outs. Cat A fit outs focus on the basic infrastructure of a commercial property, including ceilings, floors, lighting, and HVAC systems. These are typically carried out by landlords to provide a blank canvas for tenants.

On the other hand, Cat B fit outs involve the customisation and design of the interior space to align with the tenant’s specific requirements. This encompasses partitioning, furniture installation, branding, and any other personalized elements tailored to the organisation’s needs and brand identity.

Cat A Fit Out Components:

Structural Elements: This includes the basic building structure, floor slabs, core areas (elevators, stairwells), and external facade.

Mechanical and Electrical Services: Cat A fit outs typically include basic HVAC systems, lighting fixtures, power distribution including floor grommets for office furniture, and fire safety systems.

Base Building Finishes: Landlords may provide basic finishes such as suspended ceilings, raised floors, wall finishes, and floor coverings as part of a Cat A fit out.

Cat B Fit Out Components:

Space Planning and Partitioning: Cat B fit outs involve designing the layout of the workspace, including partitioning to create individual offices, meeting rooms, and collaborative areas.

Interior Design and Branding: Tenants have the flexibility to customize the interior design, colour schemes, signage, and branding elements to reflect their corporate identity and culture.

Furniture and Fixtures: This includes selecting and installing furniture, fittings, and equipment (FF&E) such as desks, chairs, storage units, lighting fixtures, and decorative elements.

Technology Integration: Cat B fit outs incorporate IT infrastructure, audiovisual systems, telecommunications, and other technology solutions tailored to the tenant’s requirements. This is essential for companies that adopt remote working practices.

Specialised Spaces: Depending on the tenant’s needs, Cat B fit outs may include specialised spaces such as breakout areas, office kitchens, recreational areas, or wellness facilities.

While Cat A fit outs provide a basic level of infrastructure, Cat B fit outs offer greater flexibility and customization to create a tailored workspace that meets the tenant’s specific needs and enhances the overall employee experience. Flexiform is a Cat B office fit out specialist, who can work alongside Cat A architects and contractors to bring offices to life. 

Who is Involved in an Office Fit Out?

An office fit out is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders, each playing a crucial role in the planning, design, and execution of the project. Key stakeholders include:

Client/Tenant: The primary beneficiary of the fit out, responsible for outlining their requirements, budget, and timeline. The tenant works closely with the design and construction teams to ensure that the final outcome aligns with their vision and objectives.

Architects/Designers: Tasked with translating the client’s vision into a feasible design plan that maximises space utilization, functionality, and aesthetics. Design professionals collaborate with the client to develop concepts, layouts, material selections, and finishes that reflect the organisation’s brand identity and values. 

Contractors and Builders: Execute the construction, installation, and finishing aspects of the fit out, including structural modifications, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) installations, and interior finishes. Contractors coordinate with designers, subcontractors, and suppliers to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to high-quality standards.

Project Managers: Oversee the entire fit out process, from initial planning and budgeting to final handover. Project managers act as the central point of contact between the client, designers, contractors, and other stakeholders, managing schedules, resources, and communications to ensure that the project progresses smoothly and efficiently.

Specialist Consultants: Depending on the scope and complexity of the fit out, additional consultants may be involved, such as structural engineers, MEP engineers, sustainability experts, and workplace strategists. These specialists provide technical expertise and guidance to optimize the design, performance, and sustainability of the workspace.

So where does Flexiform sit? Flexiform has a unique position of being an office furniture manufacturer, supplier and installer, encompassing not just our own office furniture but also furniture from popular brands including Orangebox, Boss Design, Pledge and many more. We can also supply bespoke joinery and small items from coat stands and whiteboards, up to large-scale office pods. 

With our own in-house office design specialists (including interior design and space planning service), plus our own delivery and project management teams, we can do everything from simply supplying furniture to collaborating with designers, contractors and architects, or full a Cat B fit out. This unique position allows us to create bespoke packages to each client’s needs.

Tips for a Successful Office Fit Out?

Achieving a successful office fit out entails careful planning, communication, and execution. Here are some key considerations:

Define Objectives: Clearly outline the goals and requirements of the fit out to align the design and construction efforts with the organisation’s vision and needs. Identify key stakeholders, establish project objectives, and develop a comprehensive brief that outlines functional requirements, space allocations, and design preferences.

Budget Management: Establish a realistic budget based on the scope of work, desired quality standards, and available resources. Consider all project costs, including design fees, construction costs, FF&E procurement, IT infrastructure, and contingency allowances. Monitor expenditures throughout the project and prioritize investments that deliver the greatest value and impact. 

Top Tip: At Flexiform, we offer free design services if you purchase furniture through us, and as a manufacturer, you are guaranteed to get the best price for our own manufactured office furniture! As we’re a supplier of key office furniture brands, we can offer discounted delivery fees through streamlined delivery methods. 

Engage Stakeholders: Maintain open communication and collaboration between all parties involved to address concerns, make informed decisions, and resolve issues promptly. Regular meetings, progress reports, and site visits facilitate transparency, accountability, and alignment throughout the fit out process.

Prioritise Functionality and Comfort: Design the workspace with employee productivity, well-being, and comfort in mind, optimising layout, lighting, ergonomics, and amenities. Consider the diverse needs and preferences of the workforce, including collaborative spaces, quiet zones, breakout areas, and wellness amenities. Incorporate biophilic design principles, natural elements, and ergonomic furniture to create a healthy and inspiring work environment.

Future-Proofing: Anticipate future growth and changes within the organisation to design a flexible and adaptable workspace that can accommodate evolving needs and technologies. Incorporate modular furniture, demountable partitions, and flexible layouts to facilitate reconfiguration and scalability. Integrate smart technologies, agile workspaces, and sustainability features to enhance performance, resilience, and longevity.

Sustainability and Wellness: Embrace sustainable design principles and practices to minimise environmental impact, conserve resources, and promote occupant health and well-being. Consider energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and building materials that reduce energy consumption, improve indoor air quality, and enhance thermal comfort. Prioritise natural light, views, and access to outdoor spaces to enhance mood, productivity, and connectivity with nature.

Quality Assurance and Compliance: Ensure that the fit out meets all relevant building codes, regulations, and industry standards for health, safety, accessibility, and environmental sustainability. Conduct regular inspections, quality checks, and performance evaluations to verify compliance with design specifications, contractual requirements, and client expectations. Engage third-party consultants or certification programs to validate sustainability claims and performance metrics.

Are Office Fit Outs Just for Large Companies?

While large corporations may have more extensive resources to invest in office fit outs, businesses of all sizes can benefit from optimising their workspace. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can enhance their brand image, employee morale, and operational efficiency through thoughtful office design and fit out projects tailored to their scale and budget.

The key is to approach the fit out process strategically, focusing on the specific needs, goals, and constraints of the organisation. Whether it’s a modest refresh or a complete overhaul, every fit out project offers an opportunity to create a workspace that supports the company’s culture, values, and objectives.

In conclusion, an office fit out is not merely a cosmetic makeover but a strategic investment in creating a conducive and inspiring work environment that aligns with the organization’s objectives and values. Whether it’s a Cat A refurbishment or a bespoke Cat B fit out, businesses stand to gain by prioritizing the design, functionality, and well-being of their workspace. By engaging with the right partners, embracing innovation, and focusing on sustainability, organizations can transform their office space into a dynamic hub that fosters creativity, collaboration, and success.

If you would like to speak to a Flexiform representative about your office requirements, please contact or see our case studies for inspiration.