How to Choose an Office Fit-Out Company
How to Choose an Office Fit-Out Company
So you are thinking of refurbishing your office or moving to new business premises, but you’re not sure where to start? Choosing the right company will make all the difference, not just in terms of the end result, but throughout the course of the project, and beyond.
We have put together this White Paper to offer advice on what to consider when comparing fit-out companies, and how to make the right choice for your business.
7 main areas to consider:
This may seem obvious, and it may be tempting to go with the company offering the lowest cost, but this can be a short-sighted approach. A company that offers to take care of your project at a very low cost may not have the resources to meet your needs. They may also be keen to gain the work, no matter what – which is never a good sign.
An inexperienced company, or one with limited capabilities, could end up costing you far more in the long run, correcting mistakes or generally failing to meet your expectations. You should look for a company that is well established, financially sound, and can demonstrate the successful completion of projects similar to yours.
Good communication is essential. Always ask for evidence of this, site visits to previous projects are a good idea, as is asking for references. This starts with the planning phase, and continues all the way through design, implementation and completion. Avoid working with people that use jargon or ‘smoke and mirrors’, and instead look for those that believe in straight talking, plain English and a transparent approach to working.
As well as communicating well with you, throughout the project, you should note how your chosen company liaise with their contractors, suppliers and project managers. These people will be key to a good experience and a successful completion, but only if the relationship between them is a solid one.
Of particular importance will be the rapport between you and the project manager, as they will be your main point of contact throughout.
Some companies will be tempted to take on any project, regardless of the size and scope. Others may be dismissive of smaller projects, or out of their depth with large ones. Choose a company that is comfortable with the size of your project, can prove their experience at that level and are financially able to meet the outlay to supply what is required.
Your chosen fit-out company will also need to demonstrate the appropriate skills and technical expertise to meet the project needs. Consider all the areas you will need them to include, for example IT provision, furniture, or electrical equipment, and make sure this all falls within their possible remit.
4 Location / Area covered
This may sound obvious, but an office fit-out is not something that can be carried out remotely! One of the benefits of choosing a reasonably local company is that they can be onsite as needed, without too much time wasted on travel. A business that has built up good relations with local tradespeople and suppliers will be in a great position to coordinate their services, once the project is underway.
Where possible (and it isn’t always), ask if they source equipment, supplies and services locally. This not only helps to support the community around your business premises, but also reduces the chance of unnecessary and frustrating delays should something need reordering or redoing.
5 Attention to detail
A good fit-out company will start by really assessing the needs of your business, now and for the future. Yes, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional and flexible as your business grows and evolves. They should ask you about the pain-points in your existing office environment, and offer solutions that are practical and future-proof.
This attention to detail should continue from the design and planning stage and should be evident in the management of the project (offering the least disruption to your business) and the end result – a finish that meets, or exceeds, your expectations.
6 Health & Safety
Not a very exciting topic, but an essential one for a project of any size. You should be confident that your chosen company takes the safety of their staff and yours extremely seriously. The consequences of an accident or injury can be catastrophic, and as a business owner, you will automatically have a degree of responsibly here.
Your project manager should make you aware of the legislation very early on, and support you in meeting health and safety requirements. It goes with out saying that adequate insurance provision should also be demonstrated before the project is underway. Look for a company that has suitable accreditation, such as CHAS, Safe Contractor or other industry recognised certification.
7 Follow-up support
Once the project is complete, to everyone’s satisfaction, you will probably be keen to occupy the space and resume ‘business as usual’. However, it is important to know from the start what on-going support will be offered. There may be teething problems with new equipment, or a ‘snagging list’ that develops after completion.
You are looking for reassurance that support will be forthcoming and timely. A good fit-out company will leave you with a file containing all the documentation for your hardware, furniture, fixtures and fittings. This will make repair or replacement straightforward should the need arise. You may also want to consider on-going maintenance for your office equipment, such as air conditioning units or fire alarms.
Planning Your Project From The Start
Like any project you undertake, great results come from careful planning. Here are our top tips for preparing to meet with your chosen office fit-out company:
- Make a list: of all your business requirements; number of staff, meeting spaces, breakout areas, catering facilities and general equipment.
- Think big: an office fit-out is an opportunity to achieve all those ‘in an ideal world’ features. There may be compromises to be made, but now is the time to assess the priorities.
- Establish your style: your office environment is an extension of your brand. It should therefore represent your business and not the personal preferences of a designer.
- Consider your team: what do they want/need to make their time in the office more productive and a positive place to be? The right environment will improve output, help your business attract the right candidates and improve staff retention.
- Set a budget: the balance of cost and requirements is a fine one, but starting with a clear budget in mind will help you to make good decisions and prioritise what is important.
- Go with your instinct: sometimes the right people to work with are the ones we just feel right about, or who make a connection from the start. Our gut instincts are rarely wrong – trust them.
Choosing the right company to work with will make, or break, your project. Time invested in doing your research and weighing up services, will pay dividends in the long run. The right company will exercise great communication, provide an honest and efficient service, and offer consistent follow-up support.
By following these steps for choosing a company and planning your project, you have the best chance of completing on time, on budget and with an end result that exceeds your expectations.
To talk to us about a project, or find out how we deliver all this and more to our customers, please call 01252 756592