Interview with Michael de Courcy BSc(Hons) BTP MRTPI – Partner at Bell Cornwell
Case study: Enjoying the benefits of their new office space
We wanted to interview one of our recent clients to find out how they were getting on in their new office space and ask them about their experience of working with Cre8tive Space. Of course, we always make sure we check our clients are happy with the end result, but taking the time to conduct a thorough interview gave us the opportunity to dig a little deeper: to discover the finer details that make, or break, a project.
We asked Mike, a company Partner, to be completely honest, as we wanted to offer anyone reading this a genuine insight into working with us – no holds barred! Here are the questions we put to him and the responses he gave, as discussed with office manager Diane, who oversaw much of the project.
What initiated the decision to move the business premises?
The lease on our old premises was due to expire and the building we were in wasn’t ideal for running our business. The building was a converted bungalow, and the space comprised a number of small rooms with poor quality meeting space and no breakout space for staff . With new partners coming on board at Bell Cornwell, it seemed the perfect time to search for new premises that we could fit-out to suit our needs.
What were the priorities when planning the new office space?
The main priority was to have more space, preferably with a more open plan feel; a decent sized meeting room and breakout areas. We wanted the space to offer flexibility and room for the company to grow. After approximately 2 years of searching in the Hook area, we found our current premises – offering 2,000 square feet of space and the opportunity to design our office from scratch.
How did you hear about Cre8tive Space?
We sought the advice of Mark Clancy, of London Clancy, who recommended we speak to Stevette, Director of Cre8tive Space.
What made you feel they were the right company to undertake the project?
We initially engaged with 3 companies to discuss the project. However, Cre8tive Space had been the first to respond and from that early conversation it just felt right. We liked their approach and felt confident that they would deliver on the project and we could trust any advice that they gave us.
How did you arrive at the final plans for the new office space?
It took a while and quite a few amended versions of the plans! Cre8tive Space initially gave us 4 options to work from, and then having chosen our preferred design we worked together on the finer details. We took a collaborative approach, involving the whole team wherever possible. This did mean it took longer to arrive at final decisions, but looking back it was worth it for everyone to feel on-board and part of the process.
Did you have a budget in mind from the start, or was it led by requirements?
We started off with a budget, which the project director quickly advised was unrealistic for our expectations. Rather than leave us to solve this problem by ourselves, Cre8tive Space made suggestions as to how we could bring the project cost down, by reassessing our priorities. Their advice was to keep the space as open plan as possible, but to have separate offices for the managers, which struck the perfect balance of communication and privacy.
As it transpired, some of the items Cre8tive Space advised us to drop, such as an optional partition in the meeting room, would not have been used. We were right to trust their recommendations on where to save money.
Once the project was underway, how did you find working with Cre8tive Space?
Put simply, we could leave them to it! Once we had approved the final plans, we knew we could trust the Cre8tive Space team to implement them. The project director was proactive in communicating any issues, before we were even aware of them, and present a solution at the same time. Because of this, nothing ever became our problem to deal with and Cre8tive Space even solved issues that were outside of their responsibility – for example liaising with the landlord following a major leak at our premises.
To what degree did the finished results meet your expectations?
They did! The finished results didn’t disappoint in any way. Again, some of the details the project director advised have proven to be very beneficial in practice, such as low-level dividers around the desks, which retain an open feel, but reduce distraction from movement around the office. From the moment we moved in we felt at home here, which says it all really.
Now that you are in and settled – what have been the benefits of investing in your new workplace?
The result has been a far nicer, better working environment. The space feels bright and open – it’s a much more positive place to work. In terms of impact for the business, we noticed that communication has vastly improved. The layout of our old place made good communication difficult – people at the far ends of the building would not know if people at the other end were in!
Building on this positive improvement to our working environment we have also taken the opportunity to introduce some changes to how we communicate, we now hold meetings for the whole team every Monday morning – because we have the space to do so.
What would your advice be to another company considering a similar fit-out project?
Talk to the staff and keep them involved, but don’t seek too many people’s opinion on every detail. Listen to the advice of the professionals!
Any final comment on working with Cre8tive Space?
We had a great working relationship with Crea8tive Space. The project itself was seamless and straightforward. As mentioned earlier, they resolved any issues without our intervention. There are bound to be odd things that go wrong on a project of this size – we had a few. We had the wrong sized cupboards sent by the manufacturer and our meeting room table was delivered with a visible scratch on the surface. We weren’t sure whether it was worth raising it as an issue, only to find that one of the team had already noted it and Cre8tive Space had arranged for a replacement to be sent.
Any problems that arose were dealt with swiftly and without question. Overall, Cre8tive Space proved to be great to work with and we are extremely pleased with our smart new office.