Understanding the jargon used by office fit out companies | Oaktree Interiors

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.

Common jargon used by office fit companies

Office fit out

An office fit out is used to describe a project in which current office interiors are altered to leave them in an improved condition, or to make them more functional and relevant to the needs of the business that uses them. It's simply about developing a space that was originally not suitable for their particular working environment, and changing it into a place where people are able to work.

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.

Shell & core

'Shell and Core' refers to the space that lies within the framework of the building; a completely empty space that will allow office fitters to design a completely new fit out from scratch. By stripping the interiors back to the shell and core, office fitters will have a blank canvas from which to establish fundamental facilities from; shaping the interior towards everything their client needs,rather than the client, having to shape how they work around the limitations of the interiors.

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.

CAT B fit out

A CAT B fit out is the paint that creates the office design picture. It is all about making sure that the workspace is able to accommodate for employees through its design, placing focus on the workplace's design choices and decorative qualities, as opposed to the functionality aspects.

CAT B is an office fit out for businesses that have recently relocated or require a new office space to cater to the needs of their employees. Typical elements of a CAT B fit out include the creation of breakout areas, meeting rooms, office furniture,partitions, as well as branding and signage.

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).

Need to improve your office interiors? Get in touch with our commercial fit out experts

So that was our quick guide to the jargon used by office fit out companies. If you're thinking about improving the effect that the design of your workplace has on your employees, why not get in touch with the office interior fit out experts here at Oaktree?

Throughout the last three decades, we have established a leading office design service throughout London and South East England; creating working environments that employees love to work in, and the businesses' clients, are instantly impressed by. Why not take a look at our case study section to learn more about the innovative working environments we create?

If you would like to get in touch with us to discuss your office fit out projects, please do not hesitate to give our team a call on 0345 21 86955 or send any enquiries via e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com.

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