Office Fitouts – Where to start?

So you’ve just learned that it’s you who has to take charge of the new office fitout. And you have to get it done on top of all your usual commitments, with as little disruption as possible for everyone in the company.

If you’ve never tackled one before a new office fitout can send your stress levels soaring. Too often I’ve heard the edge of tension in the voices of the people who’ve rung me. I’ve seen the panic in their eyes as I’ve sat down in front of them.

But if you contract the right team to get the job done, and you’re confident that they know what they’re doing, you can take a big deep breath and relax, you’re already half way there.

The first thing you have to decide is who is going to be the right office fitout specialist for the job? If you get this right, everything that comes after will fall into place. My experience tells me this is what you’re looking for:

  1. Design and construct approach to project delivery – design and construct means that you work with one firm to do the whole job from start to finish. There are big savings that come with this approach. But even more importantly you can be confident that if your fitout firm has designed it, they’re going to be able to build it and it is going to be “fit for purpose”.
  2. Specialist experience – look for someone with years under their belt of doing exactly what you’re asking them to do, commercial office fitouts. That sort of practical experience brings knowledge about methods and efficiencies that is invaluable. It will save you money, speed the built, and get you the best result in the finish.
  3. “Can-do” attitude – make sure that the person you’re working with, whoever’s going to be driving the project from the fitout firm’s side, has the attitude you’re looking for. Will that person take ownership and make problem-solving their problem not yours?
  4. Proven track record – don’t take their word for it. You want an office fitout specialist that’s been around long enough, and is stable enough, to have built up a broad portfolio of past clients. Call them. Ask them what they thought. Look at their references. If you don’t like what you hear, they may not be the right fitout company for you.
  5. Comprehensive quote – check the quote. If it’s too good to be true it probably is. Make sure every detail has been itemised and that you know exactly what you’ll get for the price quoted.

Yes, there’s some work to do in this stage of the process. But it’s worth your while. Compare your options. And meet the people. Get the five key ingredients right, then look them in the eye. Is your panic subsiding? Is your heart rate returning to normal? Are these people you can get down to work with? You’ll know.

Bryan Palmer