Step 3: Know Your Budget

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your new office fitout and have a clear, tight brief in place you’re ready to move to step three – Know Your Budget.

This is where you bring together your organisation’s priorities for the new space, and you’re particular specifications to set the project budget. For obvious reasons this is the step that is going to be of most interest to your finance director and/or your senior management team, and it’s critical that everyone’s in agreement before you move on.

It can take some to-ing and fro-ing to come to the right figure, but doing so now is essential. You want all of the internal decision makers, and your fitout partner, to know exactly where things stand and for both sides to be clear about what the final budget will achieve. This is where realistic expectations are established so that there are no unpleasant surprises (and costly disagreements) down the track as the build gets underway.

Start by asking your fitout partner for an estimate (based on your brief), taking in all aspects of the project. Ideally, your fitout partner should be able to quickly provide an outline of project feasibilities and reliable preliminary costings – all at no cost or obligation. This way you know exactly where you’re starting from, and can discuss variations for particular aspects of the project.

You might seek estimates or quotes from different potential partners to compare prices. Look for cost-savings in the way a potential partner operates (e.g. SB Partners’ ‘Design + Construct + Deliver’ approach offers a number of efficiencies which save clients money from the concept stage through to completion). And always – always! – be wary of any estimate or quote that includes a clause allowing for unspecified variations. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

With estimates in place, and after some negotiation both with your chosen fitout partner and in-house, you should soon be able to reach agreement on a budget figure that is realistic and acceptable to everyone involved.

Once everyone knows, and is comfortable with the budget you’re working to, you’re ready to move on to the next stage: Step 4: Plan Your Space.

Bryan Palmer