There are many terms used when talking about a fit-out, which can be confusing for those not involved in the commercial fit-out sector. A commercial fit out or office fit out usually looks to refit all internal elements of a workspace, whereas an office refurbishment is looking to refurbish what already exists within a current office space.

an office which has been fit out for with lighting, furnishings and furniture

Fit out is the term used to describe the process of making an interior space suitable for occupation. In other words, it’s the electrical, mechanical, decorating and furnishing that’s undertaken by the tenant that’s leasing the space from the developer or landlord.

Shell and Core

The landlord usually provides the shell, the first stage of a building's fit out, referred to as the ‘shell and core’ which comprises the structure, cladding, completed common areas and external works.

Cat A Fit Out

A 'cat a' fit out is essentially creating a blank canvas with just the basics installed.

The cat a fit out may be undertaken wholly or partially by the developer or landlord, depending on how complex the tenant’s requirements are.

Cat B Fit Out

A 'cat b' fit out is the most common interpretation of a fit out, more widely understood and is usually undertaken by the tenant. This is where you get to make the new office space your own. Perfecting a space for your diverse workforce and transforming a workspace into something that is representative of your company, business and brand.

What's the Difference Between an Office Fit Out and an Office Refurbishment

The difference between an office fit out and an office refurbishment is that a fit out is carried out on a new office space and a refurbishment is concerned with refurbishing your existing office.  For more information on how to plan for your project, take a look at our free, downloadable and practical guide to an office refurbishment.

An office fit out is usually required when your facilities are outdated, you’ve recently expanded or contracted or you simply need more of an inspiring office design to boost staff morale, motivate your teams, reflect your culture and processes as well as to align your workspace with your company goals.

With every office fit out it’s important to think about how your business is likely to change over the next 5 years. Considering technology, your industry, your people (including each new generation that enters the workforce) and the diverse nature of the individuals within it. Whilst your workplace needs to reflect your current business values it must be able to flexibly adapt to any future changes. Taking into account legal obligations, public perception and expectations that evolve.

Ensuring HSE Workplace Safety and Wellbeing

When undertaking cat a or cat b office space contractor services, it's not just in knowing the difference but it's also in ensuring you are compliant by law, considering: lighting, moving around, cleanliness, comfortable conditions, hygiene and welfare. You can find further details on compliance information here.

Beyond legal obligations, it's key to recognise the wellbeing of your workforce.HSE defines stress as 'the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.' Supporting your teams and people within the working environment can also be backed with how you present your workplaces and the opportunity to tailor zones, areas and office space to allow for privacy zones and break out areas. 

Your cat a and cat b spaces can factor in the design and build alongside space planning that considers wellbeing by welcoming in as much natural light as possible, offering neurodiverse individuals areas that they can retreat to when they need to recalibrate due to overwhelm or sensory overload, crafting quiet spaces tailored for those that prefer to work in an environment with less noise or those who need to concentrate and building privacy booths for focused work can be an advantageous addition.

Bringing the outdoors in with plants and living walls that can also define working areas and promote relaxed spaces for higher levels of wellbeing which can also be combined with motivational, collaborative and innovative sections.

We know and understand that your workspaces are important for business but also people too which is why we offer free audits, space planning and support our clients with fully managed services, taking the pressure off of you, so you can take care of your business whilst project works are undertaken. 

Choosing Your Office Fit Out Contractor

Here at Trevor Blake Fit Out (TB Fit Out), we provide shell and core, cat a and cat b fit outs and work closely with our clients, whether you're a developer, landlord or end-user to create a high functioning, multi-use, hybrid and agile spaces. After all, every workspace is the hub of any business. Connecting people and seamlessly aligning your values. Creating bespoke and tailored office designs with the operational flow of your teams for people-centric and impactful business outcomes.

We provide help and advice and professional project management, turn key options for companies engaging with a fit out company for the first time, making it hassle-free.If you need help within your commercial, office or educational workspace we are transformation specialists with over 25 years of industry expertise and know-how. You can send our friendly and professional team a message here and download our free eGuide here.