As we are living in an age of technology, the business world is in a near-constant state of evolution. Needs will change, and workplace requirements adjust with them. It’s likely that any business leader will need to consider an office fit-out at some point, but may feel intimidated by the idea of the expense – or indeed, how to get started with their spending.
As experienced professionals in office fit-outs, Imperial Building Solutions can tailor a bespoke solution to any budget. We heartily recommend that all our clients set a level of expense that ensures they can balance the books for such an undertaking, though. Any specialist produces their best work when they know what tools are available for the task at hand, and finance plays a major role in this.
You can download an office fit-out budget template here, which will help you identify the different areas you need to consider when planning your office fit out budget. Before you fill it in though, read on. This guide will discuss the economic impact of every decision you make, enabling you to choose the best possible choice every time.
What kind of office fit-out are you looking for?
First thing’s first – you need to decide whether you’re looking for a Category A+, Category A or Category B office fit-out. This will be the most prominent factor in the cost of the work.
Category A office fit-outs are best for empty spaces that need to be populated. The good news is that you’ll have a blank canvas to work with, and your fit-out can be tailored to anything you wish for and can afford. You can then add furnishings and flourishes of your choice, through preferred providers, before moving in. This fit-out simply focuses on the logistics necessary for a workplace, such as power and lighting.
Category B fit-outs will include the basics covered in Category A, plus finishing touches that ensure you’ll be able to move in and start work the moment the fit-out is complete. This includes flourishes such as carpets, branding and furnishings. As you can imagine, the cost difference between these approaches can be significant.
Category A+ fit-outs, meanwhile, offer a combination of both approaches. While Category B fit-outs are made with the needs of the occupant in mind, Category A+ tailors more to a landlord. This fit-out involves the basic logistics of Category A and parts of Category B, such as carpeting. It will not be tailored to one particular business’s needs or provide furniture. This means that the space can be rented to any possible tenant, who can bring their own additions and move on at their leisure without needing to adjust the layout.
What is the size of your office?
Your next step needs to be reaching for a tape measure and measuring the dimensions of your office. As you can imagine, the size and shape of an office will impact how the job is tackled. More empty space means that more square footage needs to be filled, while offices with uncharacteristic layouts may require some out-of-the-box thinking. These measurements will help any business, including Imperial, get an idea of the size of the job.
You may find that you lack sufficient space to complete a fit-out that will meet your needs. If that’s the case, you may need to plan an office move. Before taking such action, be sure to get in touch with Imperial to discuss potential options.
What utilities and access must be taken into consideration during an office fit-out?
Arranging an office fit-out is rarely as simple as reshuffling desks. You will need to think about access to electricity and telephone points. Lighting will be a consideration – is this a chance to upgrade to smart lighting in the workplace? Are there any health and safety concerns to consider, such as accessibility for wheelchair users?
All of these logistics will come at their own expense. Take the time to sit down and think through everything you’ll need to consider. It may require additional payments up-front that will influence your budget, but it will be considerably more cost-effective than rectifying mistakes after the event.
What would you like to prioritise in the new office fit-out?
Before commencing work on a fit-out, ask yourself why you are doing so. Are you an investor hoping to attract new tenants to your property? Are you a business owner that wants to maximise productivity with a new layout? Have you recently expanded and need to make space for new employees? Consider browsing our portfolio for inspiration.
Understanding what you’re trying to achieve will play a significant role in costing up the office fit-out. If you need to start knocking down walls and divisions or building new boardrooms, this will all lead to more expense. You may need to sacrifice some of your loftier ambitions to save money or seek further financing to turn your plans into reality.
Does your office fit-out also require new furniture and hardware?
We previously discussed Category A, A+ and B fit-outs, some of which can include furnishings upon request. If you need to purchase your own desks and chairs, though, factor these costs into the final expenses of your fit-out to ensure you do not stretch yourself too thin.
You may also need to consider hardware, especially when expanding your staffing team. Computers, desk telephones, company mobile phones – these are all expenses, whether paid up-front or leased monthly. Avoid assigning every resource to your fit-out and leaving nothing for these critical additions.
How will you finance your office fit-out?
If you have sufficient capital in your business bank account to pay for your office fit-out up-front, that’s great. Not all companies have this luxury though. You may need to investigate financing options, such as a bank loan.
Factor these loan repayments – and, most importantly, any interest payable on them – into your total budget. Ensure that you borrow at a sustainable level based on your predicted income for the loan duration. Allow yourself some emergency breathing space, too.
The good news is that you may be entitled to capital allowances on your office fit-out. That will not reduce the initial outlay, but it can undoubtedly improve your bottom line when filing your year-end taxes and reporting your profits and losses.
How will your team work during the office fit-out?
While Imperial does everything in our power to minimise disruption to your staff while we’re working, there will be times that we need to clear the area. Part of this will be due to noise, but it will primarily be a health and safety issue. We comply entirely with HSE regulations so some work must be conducted alone.
Due to the global pandemic, many employees are now equipped to work from home. This means that you may experience minimal disruption to operations, and by extension, not accrue any financial concerns. If you need to pay for a temporary working space, that’s another expense for your budget.
Final thoughts on setting a budget for an office fit-out
Do not be intimidated by the idea of financing an office fit-out. There are ways that you can enjoy the workspace of your dreams without plunging your business into financial ruin – it just takes a little more planning.
Download Imperial’s office fit-out budget template and get in touch when you’re ready to discuss your needs. We will be delighted to assist.