What are the Different Types of Office Fit-Out?

If you’re in the process of relocating your office and assessing your options for office fit-out, you will likely hear new terminology and other industry jargon which you may not be familiar with. The term fit-out is used to describe the process of conducting design and building work within a space.
24 Nov
Studio DB

Two of the most common types of office fit-out are Cat A and Cat B. Cat is short for the category, and Cat A and B are terms used for the classification of fit-out as a way of differentiating the elements included in that type of fit-out.

While there is no standard industry definition of the different types of fit-out, we have explained the differences between these types of projects by highlighting key aspects of each type of fit-out below.

The Difference Between Cat A and Cat B

  • Cat A fit-out is a basic operational fit-out that provides you with a finished, space that is ready for you to move into.
  • Cat B fit-out is the process of bringing all the office design elements together to create a functional workplace complete with planting, flooring, and furniture.

What are the Different Types of Office Fit-Out?

There are four main classifications of fit which cover the various stages of building conditions during the design and build phase. They are:

  • Shell and core
  • Cat A
  • Cat A+
  • Cat B

Different Categories of Office Fit-Out

What is a shell and core fit-out?

While part of the fit-out spectrum, the shell and core are technically the states of a building before any type of fit-out occurs. The space won’t be usable at this stage and is the result of the initial construction of the building. Shell and core refer to the concrete and metal frame of a weather-proofed space. It may look complete from the outside, but inside the building’s services, like lighting and air conditioning, aren’t even installed.

What is a Cat A Fit-Out?

A Cat A fit-out is the basic finishing of an interior space, this type of fit-out includes the installation of a building’s mechanical and electrical services. A Cat A project will also include finished internal walls, reception areas and lift lobbies – but that’s it. With raised metal flooring, painted perimeter walls, and a grid ceiling with fitted lights, Cat A spaces are often described as a ‘blank canvas’ as it is ready to be transformed into a Cat B space. Generally commissioned by landlords.

A Cat A fit-out includes:

  • Lighting
  • Air conditioning
  • Toilets
  • Raised access flooring
  • Grid ceilings
  • Basic fire detection systems

What is a Cat B Fit-Out?

A Cat B fit-out is a term used to describe a fully operational workplace that has been designed to a client’s unique specifications to make it their own. A Cat B fit-out involves everything from building different rooms to choosing the art on the walls. Cat B fit-outs will usually be carried out by a company before they move into a new office with the help of a design and build company.

A Cat B fit-out includes:

  • Partitions and doors
  • Floor finishes
  • Specialist lighting and facilities
  • Cafés, tea points, and kitchen areas
  • Furniture
  • Branded material and décor

What is a Cat A+ Fit-Out?

A Cat A+ fit-out is typically conducted by landlords as a way of attracting tenants into their space rather than leaving the space as Cat A which would require the tenant to spend money on design. It is called Cat A+ as it sits between Cat A fit-outs and Cat B fit-outs but it is also referred to as Plug and Play space. It has become a popular type of fit-out with landlords who are offering flexible space under built-to-lease programs.

Cat A+ is a way of creating a functional office where a tenant can move in and begin working immediately while only having to make minimal adjustments to the space. Elements such as branding are not usually included in a Cat A+ space as this is left for the tenant to add once they have moved in.

A Cat A+ fit-out includes:

  • Meeting rooms and breakout spaces
  • Furniture and workstations
  • Fitted kitchens
  • Power
  • IT infrastructure
  • WCs

Understanding clearly what type of fit-out will be provided when leasing a new space is paramount to ensuring your costs are controlled and you can accurately compare lease commercials between different buildings. If wrongly assessed, the total cost of fitting out an office can be widely different depending on the condition in which the landlord will handover the space.

How can Studio DB help you?

We conduct a thorough assessment of every building you are considering relocating to to create a level playing field for each option to be compared effectively, taking into account the total investment that would be required in each location. This way you can ensure that you are negotiating with landlords understanding fully each option’s total cost.

Are you planning an office relocation soon? Check out our blog on How to Prepare for a Successful Office Relocation or give us a call, we’d love to chat!

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