Are you planning a new fit out for your office or store? Here are ten tips to get the right result.
1. Understand the process: Make sure you understand the process and who is responsible for each task. There are many interdependent and overlapping tasks that need to be identified and clear upfront. Also, factor in the lead times required from providing information to execution. Will you have to occupy the new space while the fit out works are in progress?
2. Document your requirements: A good brief is essential for the success of any project. As well as your obvious requirements, it should also address issues that might be important to the business. Some examples are:
- Green Star rating required
- Technical requirements
- Sunlight management and sound proofing
- Storage requirements
3. Select the right fit out company by asking the right questions:
- Ask to see examples and references of relevant work that they have recently completed.
- Ask to see Certificates of Currency for insurances such as Workers Compensation, Public Liability, and Professional Indemnity.
- Ask to see a copy of their OH&S Manual. Are they OHSAS 18001 accredited?
- Ask if they are up to date on the latest legislation and regulations, like the Equality Act 2010 (replacement to the Disabilities Discrimination Act).
- Ask if the company will draft plans using AutoCAD.
- Ask what the normal payment terms are? Some suppliers ask for deposit upfront, with the remaining amount invoiced on a regular basis, with payment within 14 days. Negotiate this to suit you..
- How much will the fit out cost?
- Ask for the quote to be itemised.
- Do they guarantee to complete to a fixed budget?
- How long will it take?
- Are they financially stable? Can they get financial backing if required?
4. Know your budget: Fit outs can range from $300 - $1000 per m2 depending on quality of fit out. Make good can be around $75 - $125.00 per m2.
5. Consider the safety aspects of the fit out: This includes the positioning of fire extinguishers, sprinklers, smoke detectors and exit signs. Also consider things like non-slip floor surfaces, first aid equipment, and the placement of any glass in relation to work areas. Also, consider the frosting or signage of glass and their effects on visibility.
6. Make the area user friendly: Ensure work areas utilise space efficiently in the fit out. Also the idiosyncrasy of the people using the work space (now and in the near future) in relation to other neighbouring areas and teams. Wheelchair access should also be considered. Ensure the easy accessibility of any computer, phone or power outlets.
7. Vision and sound: The office area needs to be analysed from all aspects with regards to and respect for the type of work each individual/department is required to do. Business productivity can be dramatically impacted by noise in your office environment (the noise levels should be kept in check). This can be managed in many ways including glass, partitions or solid walls. Make the most of natural lighting, but provide a method to control it by using simple solutions like blinds or tinted glass.
8. Your office design should match your brand: Having a sleek, dynamic and forward thinking online presence may conflict with your outdated furniture in your physical presence, this can provide conflicting messages to your clients about your brand and image. Use the colours in the office to help strengthen your branding message as much as possible. Take into consideration walls, partitions, furniture, and doors; using advertisements as artwork.
You cannot account for all possibilities, but you can prepare for many. During the planning stage, focus on flexibility and the future growth of the company. This will allow the office to adapt to any of the challenges it may face in the future.
9. Research some of the new office innovations: If you are not familiar with interior office design, you might be amazed at the possibilities available. These possibilities include non-standard-shaped furniture to maximize floor space, low-hanging ceilings for space-saving cable management and much more.
10. Get help: Finally, consider getting advise from a professional, this is an expensive exercise and you want to get it right the first time. It is more cost-effective to hire a professional than it is to take on a job that you do not have the skills or resources to complete successfully yourself.