Researching any service you're looking at hiring will likely present you with unfamiliar jargon. It's only by understanding such terms that you'll be able to interpret the information,which will eventually help you to make the best informed decision.

With much investment going into an office fit out (as well as the working practices and productivity of employees being at stake), being able to understand the jargon used by office fitters and office fit out companies should be of the utmost importance.

Here, we're going to explain some of the common office fit out terms you may see/hear, which will help you to get a clearer picture of which may be best suited to your requirements.

Office refurbishment

Office refurbishment covers a wide range of activities, including painting and decorating to a complete restructuring of office spaces (which includes the construction of new floors,ceilings and walls). Whilst the office fit out can be seen as a 'refresh' of the interiors, a refurbishment can involve a complete remodelling of the space to fit the needs of the business.Removing or adding internal walls, replacing ceilings and installing new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are all common ways a business refurbishes their office space.

CAT A fit out

If the shell and core represent a 'blank canvas' for office designers to paint on, a CAT A fit out is the easel,providing support, ultimately helping to display the art in all of its glory.This type of office fit out sees the installation of the building's fundamental facilities, such as all of the electrical and mechanical services, fire detection systems, toilets/bathrooms,suspended ceilings and raised access facilities.

The primary aim of a CAT A fit out is to provide a functional space in which to work, as opposed to being a 'complete'design. This means that the look of the office is visually neutral, not a bespoke-designed interior. Often called a 'basic landlord fit out', CAT A fit outs are regularly used by building owners to clear space ready for their new tenants to bestow their design ideas onto.

Turnkey fit out

A turnkey office fit out is arranged by the developer or property owner to provide the eventual tenant with a space that's fitted out and ready for use. Its major benefit for the tenant is that they are saved the task of appointing and managing office design suppliers themselves.

Turnkey fit outs involve everything that is required to create a fully-functioning office; from the shell and core (stripping back the entire space), the CAT A (the building structure) and the CAT B (that finishes off the space with decorations and furnishings).

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