Aftercare in Office Fit Out
One of the biggest concerns companies have when choosing a contractor for their office fit out is the post-project service. The construction industry is notorious for poor service after the contract has been signed. This can sometimes be the case in office fit out. While office fit out companies will provide support during the project, many disappear as soon as the project is finished. If you have any teething issues with your office, you are either on your own or you have to pay inflated prices to get the issue solved. This can become a serious problem that impacts the success of the project right at the end. It can make a successful project feel like a failure.
Needless to say, avoiding this frustrating situation will make your project much more successful. But when you’re choosing your office fit out company, it can be challenging to know exactly what level of support you can expect after your project is complete, as well as any additional costs that are incurred.
Choosing a design and build firm is a massive decision that can make or break your project, so it's crucial to choose the right partner for your needs. There are many different design and build companies out there. These all have different pricing structures, areas of expertise, and customer care. Making sure your choice is correct can be a huge challenge.
Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies on their office fit out projects, from occupied refurbishments to 25,000 sq/ft fit outs. One of the main reasons these companies reach out to us instead of their previous contractor is the complete lack of support they received after their project.
To help you understand this sometimes opaque area of an office fit out companies’ proposal, we’ve collected 5 key questions to ask your office fit out company about aftercare. But first, what exactly is aftercare?
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare is the level of support and service you get from your office fit out company after your project is finished. Post-project care is not just fixing snagging issues until the retention period is complete and you have made the last payment. Aftercare is about always making sure your workspace is the best it can be. Every aftercare package is different, but it's crucial you have the confidence that your office fit out company will be there when you need them.
There are two key parts to aftercare. The first is resolving minor issues that arise in your office as a result of your project, such as a faulty chair or TV screen. The other part is churn works – small adjustments that need to be made to your workspace as your company evolves and grows over time. Common examples are adding more desks or individual offices to enable more staff. The first should always be sorted by your design and build company, normally free of charge. The second part of aftercare won’t be covered by your initial project quote, as it is difficult to predict how your needs might change in the years to come.
Questions to ask Your Office Fit Out Company
Before you start your project working out what level of support you can expect after completion can be difficult. To get you started, here are 5 questions that will help you assess how good your prospective design and build company is when it comes to aftercare, and what their answer will mean for you.
What post-project support do you provide?
This is a general question to help you understand how their post-project care package is structured. You should receive a clear and concise explanation of what you can expect from them after you have made the last payment. This includes who will deal with you, how they can be contacted, and what they will do. A muddled explanation is a warning flag. They will have a poorly thought-out aftercare programme that is, in reality, non-existent.
Do you have a schedule for post-project reviews, or is aftercare on an as-needs basis?
Will your office fit out company visit you regularly to see how you are getting on, or is their aftercare delivered on a reactive basis? Come companies leave it to you to find out any issues with your space, and contact them about it. Companies with a good aftercare programme will have a pre-planned schedule of regular visits over 2 or more years. They will check your office is performing as you need it to and pick up any slight issues before they become serious.
What aftercare costs will you cover, and what will we have to fund?
Most office fit out companies will be happy to resolve any issues you are having with your workspace – at a cost. All of the furniture, fittings, and equipment in your space should be covered by warranties. This should be at no cost to you, though some fit out companies will charge you for labour. Churn works will not be included in your aftercare package, as they are so varied, and they can’t be predicted before the project. However, a good fit out company will plan potential day 2 improvements in the design, so that you can expand easily at a later date.
Will the same person be responsible for managing aftercare as the main project, or do you have a separate aftercare team?
Many large fit out companies have a dedicated post-projects team. They specialise in churn/ small works and resolving previous project issues. Other companies implement a one-contact policy. This means the manager who delivered your project is also responsible for your aftercare programme. There is no right or wrong here, as there are benefits to both approaches. With a specialist team, you are dealing with post-project care specialists. A one-contact policy, on the other hand, has more personal service and is likely to deliver the main project more successfully.
Can you provide aftercare references?
If your prospective office fit out company has a good track record in aftercare, they will be able to give you contacts from previous projects. You can speak to them about the reality of how the aftercare programme works. references are much more valuable than testimonials, as they can give detailed and unbiased responses to your specific questions.
At Zentura, we enhance working lives and provide peace of mind to the people and organisations that we touch. We firmly believe that post-project care is crucial to your peace of mind and an essential part of a successful project. That’s why we created Zencare, our comprehensive aftercare programme. Zencare gives you the assurance that you are cared for in the coming years. It also assures you that we will deliver our work to the highest possible standard in the first instance.
Zencare™ is an industry-leading post-completion customer care and quality control program designed to ensure our clients have a workspace that operates at its full potential well into the future. Our post-project care is built around a timeline of surveys at 3, 6,12, 24, and 36 months. These surveys are carried out by workspace experts and project managers, who are involved in aftercare on a weekly basis. As a result, we can identify and eliminate construction and manufacturing issues that would normally be the responsibility of our clients to manage, and incur costs to rectify.
Our proactive approach to your continued success means downtime caused by unexpected issues is virtually eliminated, and many minor issues are resolved before they become serious. As a result, costly remedial works can be avoided. The irritating issues with the office that you never get round to sorting just get fixed – we'll be along anyway. And our one contact policy means there’s no need to use your time trying to negotiate with manufacturers or source suppliers – we’ll sort it all.
Choosing Your Office Fit Out Company
Now that you know how to assess the aftercare package of your office fit out company, you are in a much better position to make the final choice as to which contractor to choose for your project. By asking those 5 key questions about aftercare, you will be able to get a good understanding of the level of support you can expect post-project.
Want to learn more about choosing the best office fit out company for you? Check out our article, How to Choose the Best Office Fit Out Company For Your Project. There, we explain exactly how to assess companies that are on your shortlist, and the 5 key aspects to consider when selecting your design & build firm.
Ready to talk about your planned project with a workspace expert? Schedule a call here. At Zentura, we provide a concept-to-completion office fit out service from initial consultancy through the design and project management stages, to aftercare that sets you up for success. As specialists in fast-track office refurbishments in occupied buildings our team are highly experienced in delivering fit out projects on time and on budget with minimal disruption to you or those around you.