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.


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