How Long Does An Office Fit-Out Take?

  April 8, 2024      Offices

There are a lot of reasons to need a new office. Maybe your business has expanded and you need something bigger, maybe the lease is up on your old property and it’s prompted the business to re-evaluate their situation, or maybe it’s just time for a fresh start.

For whatever reason you’re moving to a new office, that new office is going to need to have an a fit-out. An office fit-out is one of the major parts of moving offices. The fit-out part of moving into a new office involves setting it up and making it an actual office employees would be happy to work in.

This is because most commercial buildings are just an empty shell building. There may be some paint on the walls and basic aspects like a bare kitchen and toilets, but not much else. A fit-out takes that base building and adds things like partitions, ceiling panels, meeting rooms, and even furniture.

Obviously all of this takes time, but how long? It’s important to know and understand the timeframes for all aspects of an office relocation so that it can all be planned.

Office Fit-Outs Can Take Different Amounts Of Time

Just like a make good when an office is vacated, the amount of time a fit-out takes can be extremely variable. No two businesses are the same and, because of this, no two offices are the same. While a professional office fit-out company can give estimates when briefing the project, it’s difficult to do without completely understanding what’s involved.

That being said, most fit-out projects take about 3 months to complete, but once again, it depends. If you’re in the early days of planning an office relocation and fit-out, this is probably a good general number for very broad planning.

Design, Size, And Layout Is A Big Factor

One obvious factor that affects how long an office fit-out will take is the size and design of the fit-out. A small office that’s essentially just some carpeting and desks for four people is a much simpler job than fitting out a corporate headquarters designed to house 200 employees.

Similarly, buildings and fit-outs with a relatively standard layout or easier to design for and complete a fit-out in. For example, if the building is a standard square that, that’s easy to fit-out. If the new office is an unusual shaped building or requires an unusual layout, then the fit-out process may take longer.

Building Owners And The State Of The Building Can Increase Fit-Out Time

While commercial leases come with the expectation that the tenant will make modifications to the base building, many landlords will still want a say in what can and can’t be done as part of the fit-out process. Seeking landlord approval for building modifications can slow down work and can also be difficult to plan for.

Additionally, the state of the base building can be a factor in the time it takes to fit-out the building. Base buildings are often referred to as a “shell,” and they can either be a “cold shell” or a “warm shell.” A cold shell is a base building that is blank: it has no partitions, no floor coverings, no suspended ceiling, etc. Meanwhile, a warm shell has some basic elements of an office already in place; it may not have utilities and services, but there will likely be ceilings, some walls, and more. The more basic the shell, the longer it will take it to become a “proper” office.

Planning Approval And Supply Lead Time Can Be A Wild Card

While planning approval often isn’t needed for an office fit-out, if you’re planning on changing the purpose of a building or are doing a substantial change, you may be required to seek planning permission. The amount of time this takes to come through can be varied depending on where the approval is coming from and what the approval is for.

Similarly, delays in obtaining the correct materials for a great office fit-out can often be a surprise. Supply delays can quickly balloon out the timeline for a fit-out project, especially if the fit-out company doesn’t have the experience to adapt or find alternative materials.

The Timeline Will Come Down Your Builder

It’s easy for a builder to tell a client that an office fit-out will take a certain amount of time, but it’s difficult for that builder to actually stick to that timeline. Although there are a lot of factors that go into how long an office fit-out will take, it’s still possible to create a good estimate and also account for unexpected delays, ensuring that the project will finish on time.

If you’re unsure where to start with your next office fit-out, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about the project.