Step 2: Define Your Brief

Okay, so you’ve conducted a space utilisation study, surveyed your staff and established organisational priorities. The next step on the path to your successful new office fitout is getting your brief right.

Ad agencies have for years quoted David Ogilvy (of Ogilvy & Mather) who said, “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”. A good brief – the design and technical instructions you’re going to give your fitout specialist – is clear and comprehensive. It leaves nothing open to guesswork and can’t be misunderstood.

A strong brief will serve you well throughout the fitout process as you and your fitout partner keep coming back to it to check you’re on track.

Your brief will spell out:

  1. Overall vision and objectives for the new site.
  2. Needs and expectations of the new space – consolidate everything you learned in the preparation stage.
  3. People friendly – work with your HR team to determine what’s needed to create a happy, healthy, productive workplace that accommodates your organisation’s particular work practices and patterns.
  4. Brand values – work with your marketing team to define the character of your brand and how that will influence the ways spaces are used. This will also shape design, or ‘look and feel’.
  5. Technology – work with your IT team to establish exactly what’s required with regards to data cabling, wireless networks, comms rooms, servers, computers, printers, av equipment, phone systems, audio/video conferencing facilities etc etc etc.
  6. Specialist requirements – are there special considerations determined by the nature of your work that have to be factored in? These might revolve around security, access, storage or specialist on-site facilities (such as industrial kitchens or laboratories).
  7. Environmentally friendly – a new office fitout brings an opportunity to improve your green credentials. Think about energy usage, the balance of natural and artificial light, water usage, waste disposal, the materials you’ll use and whether you want live plants.
  8. Pros and cons of your new site – what is it about your new site that makes it right for your organisation? Are there particular features (e.g. heritage) you would like to highlight? Or are there features you would like to downplay as much as possible?

Get it all down and be as specific as possible. With a good solid brief in place you’re ready to move on to the next stage: Step 3: Know Your Budget.

Bryan Palmer