Fit-Out Construction

Many terms in construction may be unfamiliar to outsiders or those new to the industry. Fit-out construction is one such term. It usually refers to activities that prepare a commercial tenant’s interior space for occupation. A tenant’s contractor usually does the fit-out construction rather than the landlord’s construction company.

Typically, contractor working for a commercial space landlord will create an interior space as “white box” or “shell.” It usually happens whether it’s for a new build or preparing a previous tenant space for new tenants to look at and sign a lease on. However, the areas inside a building are commonly left bare in commercial establishments and real estate for the occupants to modify according to their needs and requirements. In essence, fit-out construction involves transforming a space into a usable setup based on the preferences and goals of a company.

Difference Between a Fit-Out Construction and a Renovation

Fit-outs typically include installing architectural features such as various partitions, window placements, door fittings, plumbing, and ventilation. While renovation typically focuses on the design aspect and revamping the space for aesthetics. Fit-outs, on the other hand, emphasize changes and customization of the area for functionality. That’s why a fit-out construction typically takes longer than a simple renovation.

Different Types of Fit-Out Construction:

Fit-outs, like other improvement projects, are classified into two types based on their inclusions.

category A fit-outs

Category A – Functional

Category A fit-out installs mechanical and electrical systems in a building. While the shell and core highlight the exterior, Category A covers the interior. It’s usually in a rented commercial space. Since a Category A space is a blank canvas, it’s easy to sell. But no matter how functional their interiors are, Category A fit-outs require secondary design features to meet their goals.

Here are other things included in a Category A fit-out:

  • Grid ceilings
  • Electrical outlets
  • Fire protection systems
  • Lightings
  • Toilets
  • Lift Shafts
  • Reception areas
  • Lobbies
  • Raised access floorings
  • HVAC systems (Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems)

transforming a space

Category B – Aesthetic

Category B fit-out complements Category A by installing everything not completed during the Cat A fit-out. It means that in addition to the elements required to make an office or commercial space functional, it also involves implementing the aesthetics and anything else that will enhance the interior space and facilitate daily work operations. Cat B fit-out allows you to emphasize aesthetic design and customize the interior space to better reflect the company’s brand and identity.

Here are some of the installations included in the Category B fit-out:

  • Workstations
  • Kitchen areas
  • Design and company branding
  • Furnishings
  • Décor
  • Meeting rooms / Conference rooms

Turnkey Fit-Out Construction

A turnkey fit-out construction is also known as a design and build fit-out. It happens when the developer or tenant of the workspace ensures that the current build is ready to be occupied. Consequently, the contractor provides a complete and integrated line of service to deliver a space from bare to fully completed. A turnkey fit-out project involves the contractors from design conceptualization to construction and handing the space to the client ready for use.

Some clients prefer a turnkey fit-out to coordinate with a single point person, making the process more concise, efficient, and smooth. It is especially appealing to clients unfamiliar with the construction process.

SDW specializes in turnkey fit-out construction solutions and services. They offer high-quality, turnkey solutions that include comprehensive space planning, project management, and M&E services. They can meet the construction needs of multiple industrial sectors in the Philippines, from new development to interior fit-out.

Need help with your fit-out project? Contact SDW today to discuss your options.

SDW is a leading fit-out construction company in the Philippines specializing in high-quality office, hospitality, and commercial projects.

Please read our blog entitled the office fit-out checklist to guide you in planning your fit-out project.

Reach out at info@sdwrealty.com or call +632 8642 8088.



The Office Fit-Out Checklist

To be more effective and successful, sometimes our environment has to change. Our immediate environment can trigger many different reactions in us – it can make us happier, it can make us work faster, etc. Indeed, we may be unaware that workplace changes have optimization benefits. It could be just the catalyst every organization needs to effect changes in one’s outlook.
But an office fit-out project can be an arduous job. Whether a renovation or fitting a new one, the job can be overwhelming (and expensive!), especially if you don’t plan and execute systematically. If you’re seriously considering an office revamp, you may refer to the office fit-out checklist below to guide you through handling the whole office project management process.


1. Start with a Brief

Before you proceed with anything else, start understanding your office fit-out project’s rationale. Why was it conceived in the first place? Start by finding why you are doing it in the first place. Is it because your lease is expiring soon? Is it an expansion, a merger, or an acquisition? It could be anything. It could be that you’re moving because you want to be closer to your clients or you want to redesign working practices. If the reason for the project brief is apparent, you can be more decisive and effective in pursuing a direction with your project.

2. Select the Team

In building a space or handling fit-out projects, efficiency is vital. You have to be able to do numerous tasks simultaneously. That means having to delegate tasks to different people in your organization. Begin by setting up a team that will focus solely on the fit-out project.

a. Project coordinator – Managing the project yourself will take much of your time away from your other business functions. It will add another responsibility to you, and you might miss out on essential details that keep the business running. That is why having a ‘fit-out champion’ will be ideal and helpful. The project coordinator or ‘fit-out champion’ can report details, timelines, suppliers, to-dos, and progress reports. These are just the details that need your decision so that the project can move forward.

b. In-house team – You might also want to consider building a team composed of representatives from different departments – HR, Finance, IT and Communications, Marketing, Legal, etc. It is essential to value the contributions that come from each department and function—considering the requirements of each department account during the design process. Take into consideration any operations and design issues from your previous office so that you can apply improvements to your office fit-out project.

c. Contractor – While your team is already composed of department experts, a building expert is also a requirement. Fit-out contractors have a curated and accredited list of suppliers and subcontractors who can help put your visions to life seamlessly. Contractors can also help you stick and work around your budget.

d. Facilities management – You may also need the help of facility management and building managers. Primarily if your office location is in a high-rise building where your project can obstruct tenants, working hours, and work productivity of other businesses. Facilities management help secure documents, permits, and appropriate building work schedule, as well as help, accredited suppliers such as suppliers of coffee, printing machines, etc.

3. Set an Objective

Now that you know which direction you’re headed from the brief and have a team to work with, you can start writing out your main objectives. After completing the project, this will serve as the primary objective of your success metrics. Goals will be as simplistic as having accommodation for 100 employees (and that means having enough tables and chairs), having five executive rooms for company executives, including four meeting rooms, two pantry areas, a receiving area or lobby, and the like. Such objectives will help office fit-out designers and contractors create the most suitable office space design.

4. Conduct an Audit

Conducting an audit means tracking and keeping tabs on the company or organization’s existing assets and processes. This process can bring your attention to the things that are working and that no longer work for your company.

a. Space Occupancy Study – You can start by conducting a Space Occupancy Study, or SOS. SOS allows you to collect raw physical data and analyze workplace utilization levels. It will help you to improve your design objectives further.

b. Staff survey – Staff input is vital, so you don’t miss any relevant detail. Often, we have colleagues whose perspectives are crucial to business, health, and safety yet aren’t too vocal or persistent in getting them across to the management. At this point, we want to encourage them to talk about their one-of-a-kind experiences and have the opportunity to delight them by actually listening to their concerns and finding solutions.

c. Storage audit – Every company should conduct an on-site assessment to keep track of equipment and assets to determine the storage space allocation in the design. It is also an opportunity to keep track of the physical assets utilized on your office fit-out (thereby saving money!) and the items that need replacing immediately.

5. Prepare a Budget

Always stick to a budget. While office fit-out is essential for employee welfare, you don’t want to cut other budget allocations for skyrocketing construction expenses. You also don’t want to alter your project or compromise construction integrity by setting the budget too low. You have to be precise and careful about your budgeting approach. Make sure you factor in the occupancy rates, repairs and maintenance, equipment, migration fees, and soft costs such as travel expenses.

You must ensure every expense is accounted for in your budget, including floor coverings, carpet, partitions, furniture, and parking fees. You may also set up a contingency allowance in your budget should any unforeseen factor affect your project continuity.

6. Design

Design is like the main ingredient in your office fit-out. The audit results will be the foundation of the design plan. Of course, the design isn’t just how the office will look. It is why employees and stakeholders can be more productive in the workplace. While designers can do with designing, you should be keen on the following:

a. Block plans – Block plans showing how you could allocate your space to get the best from your resources. Lay down the result of your space occupation study and tell which office spaces you want to highlight or emphasize. You might suggest a more spacious pantry area or extra open spaces accommodate more of your employees.

b. Mood boards – If you have an idea in mind or a brand-specific design guideline, you might as well brief your designer at the early stage of creativity. You may show mood boards that show the themes and colors you want to see in the office. You can also discuss the feel and personality you want to create and your preferred fabrics and finishes.

c. Sustainability – Sustainability has become a trend in construction. Sustainability has become of strategic importance when it comes to the long-term saving of a company. For example, using more natural light can help you save on long-term energy expenses. You may ask your designer how well you can apply sustainability technology in your office fit-out.

While you can give design suggestions, it’s best to be receptive to new ideas from your interior designer. They are experts in this field and can help you create a workplace that you and your employees will love.

7. Health and Safety

Last but not least, make sure your design and project put health and safety at their core. A beautiful and budget-friendly office space might be the goal, but the health and safety of the employees, contractors, and visitors is a priority. Ensure you have secured permits and documentation, follow building and construction protocols, and operate legally.

If you still need extra guidance, you may contact SDW Realty to help you through the process. SDW is a fit-out construction company in Manila with experience in design, build, and development services for all project sizes. For cost estimation and more information about our services, you may send us your requirements at info@sdwrealty.com. To learn more about our services, click here.


Creating the Right Workspace for AC Energy Holdings

It’s no secret that the right workspace can make all the difference for a company. A well-designed office or workplace can inspire employees, boost productivity, and create a positive company culture. But what if your current space isn’t quite right? Or what if you’re in the market for a new workspace but don’t know where to start?

SDW was commissioned to create a workspace for AC Energy Holdings, Inc., a firm dedicated to developing a portfolio of power generation resources using both renewable and conventional technology. AC Energy Holdings, based in Makati City, Philippines, is looking for a place with a simple aesthetic and enough personality to allow its brand to blend in.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key factors we considered in designing the new workspace for AC Energy.


AC Energy office


The Benefits of a Good Workspace

A well-designed workspace can do wonders for a company. It not only provides a place for employees to work, but it can also help boost morale and increase productivity.

When employees are comfortable in their surroundings, they’re more likely to be productive. A good workspace has to be designed with the needs of the company in mind.

Think about it: when you’re surrounded by things that inspire you, it’s easier to be creative and come up with new ideas. That’s why it’s so important for a company to have a workspace that feels like “home.” It should reflect the brand and culture of the company, and help employees feel connected to their work.


meeting room
One of the numerous meeting rooms with polished concrete walls and wooden ceiling trellises. Wind turbine blades decorated the space.


How to Design the Perfect Workspace

There are a few key things we kept in mind in designing this office space. First, we made sure it is functional. The employees need to be able to work comfortably and have everything they need at their fingertips.

Second, we take into account how the employees should feel.  They should feel inspired and motivated, not cramped and uncomfortable. So we made sure there are plenty of space for them to move around and collaborate.

Finally, we added some personality. Making the space feel like home by adding some personal touches that reflect AC Energy’s brand. A little bit of creativity can go a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated.


main boardroom with renewable bamboo panel
High STC ratings in meeting spaces were stated in the design brief. The main boardroom featured Smith & Fong’s Plyboo, a renewable bamboo panel with a sound-absorbing substance.


The Five Elements of a Good Workspace

When it comes to workspaces, there are five important elements to keep in mind: function, comfort, privacy, esthetics, and culture.

If you’re not sure what your company’s workspace should look like, start by thinking about these five elements. Ask yourself: what is the primary function of this space? What kind of comfort do we want our employees to feel? How much privacy do we need? What kind of aesthetics will make our company feel like it belongs in this space? And finally, what type of culture do we want to encourage in our employees?

By keeping these five elements in mind, we created a workspace for AC Energy Holdings that is not only functional and comfortable but also stylish and reflective of the company’s culture.


Simplifying furniture design to create spatial stability.


The Importance of Ergonomics in the Workplace

When it comes to the workplace, ergonomics is key. To focus on their work employees must be comfortable. And the space should reflect the company’s brand, so employees feel like they’re part of a team. SDW was tasked to create a simple workspace with enough personality to meet the client’s identity.

Together, AC Energy and the SDW collaborated to design an elegant and functional facility. By incorporating vivid hues and cutting-edge furnishings, we developed a space that was both inspiring and energizing. We also made sure to use ergonomic principles in the design so employees would be able to stay comfortable all day long.



employee lounge office space
The employee lounge is separated from other sections by wooden cupboards and trellises. Most elements are left exposed, including polished concrete floors, cement board partitions, and exposed ceilings. This rustic concept contrasts beautifully with glass and black American walnut casework and joinery, creating a modern industrial office atmosphere.


How to Choose the Right Workspace

When it comes to choosing the right workspace, there are a few things to consider.

First, you need to think about your target audience. Who is your company targeting? What type of office environment will appeal to them? Once you have an idea of what your target market wants, you can start thinking about the design and layout of your space.

Second, you need to think about your company’s culture and brand. What type of atmosphere do you want to create? How important is it for your employees to feel like their brand is reflected in the space they work in?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start looking for spaces that fit your needs. SDW is here to help make the process easier for you.


garden lounge workspace area
The garden and lounge on the terrace overlooking Ayala Makati help cool the interiors in the warm tropical climate.


office space floor plan


A well-designed and executed office space can make a profound impact on your company’s success. From boosting productivity and creativity to improving employee satisfaction and morale, a great workspace can help your team work smarter and happier.

SDW is proud to have been a part of AC Energy Holdings, Inc.’s new office fit-out. Our team worked closely with the client to create a workspace that was stylish, functional, and reflective of the company’s values. If you’re in the market for a new office or are looking to renovate your current space, please contact us for more information. We would be happy to help!