Preparing Office Design & Build Brief
Are you researching office design & build companies to speak to about your upcoming office fit out? Perhaps you’ve already spoken to some, and have been surprised by the detail of their questions? If so, you’re probably wondering how to create an office fit out brief. That’s exactly what we’re going to cover today.
We’re going to explain how to collect all the information you need to create a create office fit out brief, and then how to format it. By the end, you’ll know all you need to get started creating a great office fit out brief. This will give your design & build company a much better understanding of your needs. It will also speed up the planning process and set your company up for success.
How Do I Create a Brief for My Office Fit Out?
Assess Current Workspace Performance
While it may be tempting to start searching online for design styles and features that you like, doing so would risk getting a design that doesn’t meet your needs as a company. Instead, you need to start by considering just how well your office is working.
Why are you considering doing the project at all? If it is only because your lease will expire soon and you need to move, then it’s simple. However, if you are having issues with getting staff back to the office, then you need to understand why, and what role your office plays in that.
When doing this, it’s important to be as data-based as possible. While it’s not always practical to collect data for everything, you do need to be objective. If you create a brief based only on gut feel and opinions, you are taking a huge risk.
Consult Leadership & Staff
Getting leadership buy-in and alignment is a crucial part of every office design & build project. Typically, these are the people that control the budget and make the final decision. To make sure the project brief is in line with their expectations, you should involve them early and often.
Getting input from staff about your office can also be very helpful. They have a wide variety of perspectives and can tell you what works and doesn’t work for them. This will help ensure your office will meet the needs of your people. However, you will likely get a lot of conflicting opinions. You will need to listen to it all, but choose what to implement based on the needs of the overall company.
Consider Budget & Timescales
Budget is the major constraint of almost every office fit out project. While budget won’t change what is best for your business, it will affect what is possible. You will need to consider available funds, and the ROI of your office fit out, as well as the upfront costs. To learn more, read How much does office fit out cost in 2023?
The other key constraint on every project is the timeframe. If you have any obligatory deadlines like a lease expiry, then these will dictate your timeframe. Even if you are carrying out a refurbishment, it is a good idea to impose a deadline, so that the project doesn’t take longer than necessary.
Define Other Requirements
As well as time and cost, there are also many other requirements and constraints that your chosen office fit out company will need to know about. Common examples are the size space, overall headcount, department headcount and technology requirements. You should also include everything that is necessary for your new office – much of which will be unique to you.
If you are planning an office relocation, you will also need to include your new space requirements. Key criteria to consider for your new office are location, transport links size, building quality/ specification, lease costs, running costs, quality of building services, and building features. To learn more, read how to find a new office.
Collect Project Information
To be able to create a design package that meets your needs, your office fit out company will also need a lot of information about your office and the background of your company. From a building perspective, they will need a full drawing pack from your landlord or last fit out (preferably in CAD format), a lot of photos, and any design guidance from the landlord.
If your company has an office design guideline pack, this will be crucial to ensure the design is on brand. Even if not, brand guidelines are helpful to get a better understanding of your company and its aesthetic.
Collate Your Brief
Finally, you will need to collate all your research, information, and insight into 1 brief pack. This will give your fit out company nearly all the information they need to be able to create an office design that suits your needs. They will likely have a lot of questions, so it’s important to go through the brief with them so that they fully understand it.
It’s also important to recognise that your brief doesn’t need to be finalised before you reach out to fit out companies. They will be able to use their experience and knowledge to help you improve your brief, especially in the more strategic aspects such as workspace strategy and project objectives. However, thinking about it beforehand will speed up your process and make it easier to remain focussed on what is best for you as a company.
What Needs to Be In My Brief?
In this section, we’ll break down the 4 essential components of a project brief, and why they matter.
The first thing your fit out company needs to know is your vision for how your workspace delivers for your company. Your workspace strategy includes considerations such as productivity, communication, culture, and wellbeing.
This may seem like an unnecessary layer of complexity in what is already a challenging project. However, it’s an essential step. By defining why your company even has an office, you can then ensure every subsequent stage is aligned with this. As a result, your office truly helps your company achieve its overall goals.
Project objectives distill your workspace strategy into 1-3 key deliverables for the project. These could be strategic (eg, improve innovation), operational (eg, increase office attendance), and/or financial (eg, reduce real estate operating costs).
It’s absolutely crucial that these objectives are measurable. You will measure the success of your project by your performance against these goals. Ideally, they should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound). This will help your fit out company to create a workspace that works for you as a business.
Requirements & Information
All the project requirements and background information you collected are also a crucial part of the brief. The project requirements provide a checklist for the design team, making sure that they don’t miss anything important to you. The budget and timeframes are particularly important, as the fit out company will need to create a design that can be delivered within these constraints. The company information will also help your design team create a workspace that is relevant and meaningful to your company.
The space information is necessary so that your fit out company know where everything in your current office is and how it works, from the HVAC to the window blinds. They will need a lot of detail to be able to quote accurately, so it is worth spending the time collecting this information.
Creating Your Office Fit Out Brief
Now you know the process to collect all the information you need for your office fit out brief and how to present it for your office fit out company. You’re ready to get started creating an office fit out brief that will set your project up for success!
The next step of your office fit out journey will be to choose a design & build company. To learn how to choose the right option for your needs, read this article. If you want to know more about the office design aspect, read how to create the right office for my company.