7 Office Refurbishment Clangers To Avoid

Save yourself from an office interiors face plant with our seven handy tips.

We’ve learned a lot during our time in the office design London market. Lots about what to do to make your office totally awesome – and also what not to do. Yes, even badass miracle workers make mistakes!

And we’ve seen a lot of our clients make mistakes, too. Some of the usual howlers are relatively minor but some can result in you spending waaaaaay too much money on your Cat B office fit out. And we don’t want that now, do we?

Like most things in life, prepping is a fail-safe for getting things done right, on time and on budget. Here are some of our favourite office fit out blunders, and how you can plan to avoid them.

1. Not Planning a Contingency

Our clients always ask us why they need a contingency and it is for. So here’s the skinny – a contingency is a sum of money you set aside for unforeseen items or additional goodies you decide you’d like to include along the way.

So, if you get a sudden burning desire to splurge on some sensational Italian office chairs, you can. Or if the manufacturer of the fantastic lighting you had your heart set on unexpectedly goes bust, there’s some cash in the coffers to buy the slightly-more-expensive-but-even-more-awesome lighting from someone else. Seriously, there should be an adjective for that.

Hopefully, you won’t have to touch your contingency. A reliable office refurbishment London contractor (like us!) will always prepare a really careful budget and bundle it up in a fixed-price contract, so you know exactly what you’re in for from the outset. Fixed pricing is the greatest tool you have for keeping control of the budget.

But, it’s wise to set aside around 5 to 10 percent of your total budget as a contingency fund, just to give you wriggle room in case something goes wrong.

2. Not Delivering a Winning Design Brief

The briefing process can be a daunting one, especially if you are working with an office design London company for the first time. But trust us when we say, getting the brief right is the key to getting a spectacular office design that not only meets your needs, but blows away your expectations!

As designers, we need a brief to fire up our creative neurons. When you tell us what you want, what you like and how you work, it’s like the springboard to a great leap of inspiration. But a brief is not just there to guide us; it’s an amazing way to help you and your team feel empowered to make confident design decisions about your workplace. If your brief is unclear or inaccurate, this can cause anxiety and time delays along the line.

Preparing a brief is really simple, and it starts with bouncing some ideas around at our kick-off meeting. You like to chat, right? For a bit more guidance, click here to read our tips for creating a killer design brief.

3. Not Realising That Changes Cost Money

When you’re refurbishing an office, it’s likely that you will want to make some changes… even after you’ve agreed on all options. And that’s okay. Your office refurbishment London partner will do their very best to stay with you and the budget. But if you leave it too late, your change will either be impossible or very, very costly, as well as potentially knocking the rest of your fit out off schedule.

Bottom line is, you need to think very carefully and give as much warning as you can before altering your agreed-upon contract. There will be consequences if you don’t.

4. Thinking the Build Programme Will Get Shorter

On a construction project, a “build program” or “program of works” describes the sequence in which tasks must be completed so the whole project can be finished on time. It identifies precisely how long each activity takes, and makes sure that the plumber is scheduled to come in before we lay the floor, and the floor gets laid before the furniture arrives… and so on. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

Now, Cat B office fit out is a pretty specific job. If you absolutely have to move offices in eight weeks’ time, we will spend hours and hours – no exaggeration – writing a detailed job schedule that coordinates all the hundreds of little jobs that need to be completed on site so you get your office precisely when you asked for it, and not a second later.

Which means not a second before, either.

So, if you’re expecting the big reveal much earlier than planned, we’re afraid you’re going to be disappointed. It’s really important that you’re honest with yourself about the schedule, and plan for moving on (not before) the handover date. Then you can sit back and relax while take care of everything.

5. Planning to Work From the Office During the Build

While you can work from the office sometimes, this usually only happens when you have a multi-floor building and we can close down a whole floor or section while we work on it. Your staff will go fifty shades of crazy if you make them work in the middle of a building site.

Ideally, you’ll move out while we transform your office from dull to dazzling. We can help you plan for a temporary lease so there’s minimum disruption to the overall schedule and budget. And, if you’re moving offices, we will always coordinate with moving teams and precision-plan the transition so you’re never left without a clean, tidy, gorgeous home.

6. Not Getting to Grips with the Build Contract

Every project needs a written contract. This document includes full details of the design scheme, costs, drawings, build schedule, payment schedule, procedures for dealing with extra costs and all the other details that have been agreed. A signed contract is worth its weight in gold for both you and your contractor if something goes wrong.

There are lots of different building contracts in the UK but the main ones you’ll see are prepared by the The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT). These documents are reasonably jargon-free and cover all the situations that might crop up during a Cat B office fit out. It’s super important that you read the contract carefully and make sure you’re happy with everything before you begin.

Whatever you do, don’t hire an office design company that wants to skip the contract. You could get stiffed without one.

7. Not Making Time for Your Contractor During the Programme

You’re spending a lot of money to get best office design in London, so it’s important that someone is available for questions that might arise during the project. We love that you trust us to get on with things, but this fit out is your baby. You have to be involved, too.

Now, we’re not asking you to be available 24/7, we understand you have a job and a life! But we will need a decision-maker at the end of the phone if anything crops up.

And please, please, please make sure you’re available for the champagne moment when everything’s finished, we handover your brand spanking new office and you’re head-over-heels with the result. Let’s celebrate! The drinks are on us!

Want more sanity-saving tips on how to handle the hidden risks a commercial office fit out? Download our FREE step-by-step guide to managing your office refurbishment here.


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