The world of office fit-out can be intimidating, filled with industry jargon and confusing technicalities. One term becoming more popular is Cat A+ fit-out. But what is Cat A+ and why does it matter? To simplify the situation, we have created a clear guide to the 3 types of office fit-out, and what you can generally expect in each.
Office fit-out is the process of making an interior space fit for occupation, from concrete shell to the fabrics and artwork. This is split into 3 phases – Shell & Core, Cat A, and Cat B fit-out. Shell & Core is the bare bones of the building- concrete floor, lift core, windows, and that’s about it. Cat A is the fit-out of utilities and other essentials, while Cat B is the final phase, transforming Cat A into a usable workspace.
In recent years though, a new phrase has emerged- an enlarged version of Cat A, known as Cat A+. Read on to find out exactly what each phase is, and why (or why not) they might suit you.
What is Cat A Fit-out?
A Category A (Cat A) Fit-out is the fit-out of essential utilities within a workspace, such as raised access flooring, air conditioning and lighting. Common spaces provided by the landlord, such as lift lobbies and toilets are often included in this phase. Other than this, it will be completely empty.
Cat A fit-out is almost always completed by the landlord, giving the entire building consistency. It allows landlords to cater to a wide variety of potential tenants, but these spaces have no features and need a lot of work doing to make them usable. The tenant then has the responsibility to create their own space as they see fit, which is generally known as Cat B Fit-out.
What is Cat B Fit-out?
Category B fit-out is taking a Cat A area and transforming it into a fully-fledged workspace unique to the tenant. Cat B projects are carried out by the tenants and are great for companies who have very specific needs. This includes not only the layout and facilities but the details of furniture finish and branding in the space.
Through understanding your people and culture, a workspace can be created that suit your needs perfectly and reflects and enhances your brand. From taking the time to understand your requirements, a suitable concept and space plan is then developed. This concept is then fleshed out to include all the details and features to help you to achieve your business objectives.
What is Cat A+ Fit-out?
Cat A+ fit-out is somewhere in between the two. It's carried out by the landlord, but nearly as detailed as a Cat B fit-out. The tenant then applies a few finishing touches and the space is ready to use. Landlords like it because it adds to the value of the space, while tenants find it attractive because it’s quicker and easier.
Cat A+ typically includes fitted teapoints, receptions and workspaces, including furniture and IT infrastructure. All the tenant needs to do is move in their IT, equipment, staff, and any nonstandard equipment. It is quick, easy and removes a lot of hassle for the tenant.
For businesses who might struggle to fund their own Cat B project, it provides an alternative to a coworking office. Companies have their own space, but with more of the flexibility that coworking provides.
So which should I choose?
In today’s current climate, the flexibility of Cat A plus has many advantages, providing companies with a mid-term solution while they assess their long-term future. Cat B spaces on the other hand provide a workspace that is custom-designed to your needs and wants and is unique to you. No other company is in your situation, and no one has the same requirements as you.
So much has changed in recent months in the workspace, and making the right decision for the future of your company has never been so important, or difficult. That’s why we’re here. If you have any questions about your future workspace or need help to know what to do, get in touch or call 020 7856 0460.