A commercial fit out is the process of installing various utilities and equipment to transform a property into a functional place of business. Though it sounds simple enough, not all fit out processes are the same.
Retail and office fit outs can be categorised into three major types: Shell and Core, Category A, and Category B. If you’re looking to hire fit out services, it helps to understand these three different processes.
By having a solid grasp of these categories, you’ll be able to know which type is most suitable for your business requirements. To help you out, we’re going to outline and discuss the three main fit out processes.
Shell and Core
The first type that we’re going to look at is the Shell and Core fit out. As the name suggests, this is when the ‘shell’ of the building is fully developed, but the interior only features the very basic foundations of a commercial property.
It’s important to note that the building will be missing some of the key elements of a functional office/retail layout. Missing features might include interior walls, heaters and lighting setups.
Typically, Shell and Core fit outs involve developing the main building structure, wall cladding and base plumbing system. Depending on the fit out company, the property might also be fitted with windows and common areas like washrooms. The rest of the building’s features will be left to the occupier or the landlord.
A Shell and Core fit out is ideal for large properties that require bespoke layouts and designs. It allows a business to fully customise the space to their exact specifications. It gives them a blank canvas upon which they can express their brand and their company values.
If a commercial space requires basic utilities, a Category A fit out is ideal. Category A involves equipping the space with general mechanical and electrical features. This includes HVAC systems, electrical outlets, suspended ceilings, toilets and fire alarms. The space is functional but lacks style and aesthetics.
The main advantage of Category A fit outs is that the features are general enough to accommodate all kinds of businesses.
However, since these fit outs are so simple, some occupiers might find the finished result quite barebones and unappealing. Because of this, some companies offer Category A+ fit outs. This category adds communal areas such as conference rooms, tea points and communications rooms. Put simply, Category A+ acts as a halfway point between Category A and B.
With a Category B fit out, the entirety of the property is customised to the occupier’s liking. This process adds features that are more specific to a business. For example, the property might be fitted with bespoke workstations, conference rooms, collaboration areas, partitions and flooring. In some cases, it may also involve the installation of electrical features like IT systems as well as audio and visual equipment.
This fit out type also covers the aesthetic side of your business. You can choose the furniture, the door finish and the lighting fixtures. If it’s important to you, you can even modify the acoustics of the property.
One of the most exciting parts of the Category B process is being able to establish your brand. Through wall paint, signage, graphics and logos, you can make the commercial space your own. This is when you get to express company values and add some personality to the property.
There you have it, the three major categories of commercial fit outs. Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of the various fit out types in retail and office construction. If you have specific requirements, be sure to contact your local fit out experts and they should be able to help you plan out your desired business space.