Office Fit Out Costs
Every week, we speak to companies planning an office fit out. They may be taking on more space within their existing building or they may be relocating, but nearly always, their first question is “what will my office fit out cost?” This is a great question, but unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It depends on many factors, from the size and location of your space to the final specification.
At Zentura, we’ve been carrying out design & build office fit out projects for companies across the UK since 2008. If you’re just starting your research, we understand that the process of designing and delivering an office fit out can feel overwhelming. In this article, we’ll explain the 5 major factors that affect the cost of your office fit out, and what you can expect to pay for your office fit out.
What Affects the Cost of an Office Fit Out?
Every business is different, and so is every office. There are hundreds of things that can increase or decrease the cost of your project. However, there are 5 major factors that will control your office fit out costs: size, specification, services, state, and setting. Here, we’ll break down each of these factors and how they can affect the cost of your project.
Size is the one factor that will have the most impact on the cost of your office fit out project. This is not surprising, as larger projects require much more material and labour to fit out. There is much more to a fit out than meets the eye, such as subflooring and insulation, so more materials may be required than you think.
So how much office space do you need? That depends on your industry, working model, and communication structure. It can range from 100 to 400 sq/ft per person, though a good benchmark is 150 sq/ft per person. This includes common spaces such as breakout areas, meeting suites, and teapoints. You should also look at your company’s growth plans when calculating your space requirements. You don’t want to have to move in 2 or 3 years because you’ve run out of space.
The specification level of your design is also a crucial factor affecting your office fit out costs. A high specification workspace can cost more than twice as much per sq./ft as a basic design. Upgrading the materials in your workspace will come at a cost, but it's often a good investment. Better quality furnishings are much more ergonomic and durable. Good ergonomics is absolutely essential to keep your people productive and healthy. High quality furnishings will last your years into the future.
When choosing your specification level, it is also important to consider your culture and brand. Your office space will reflect your brand to your clients, so you need to send the right message. The specification level of your space will also impact the productivity of your people. Ultimately, there is no “right” specification level – it’s what suits your brand and your budget best.
The existing condition of your building will also impact the cost of your office fit out. Older buildings with solid walls and floors are much more complex to alter, and the cost increases as a result. Some even are listed or have certain conditions for fit out. More modern buildings with features such as raised access flooring and easy access are much simpler to work in, so the costs will decrease.
Buildings in poor condition are at a much higher risk of discovering problems with the building during the project. If they can’t be identified before the works begin, these will be out of scope, and you will incur extra costs. Regardless of whether they are the responsibility of you or your landlord, these will be time-consuming and frustrating.
Much like the structural state of your new workspace, the condition of the services can add unexpected costs to your office fit out quote. The power& data, lighting, fire safety, air conditioning, and plumbing systems are all invisible. If they are in poor condition, they may require extensive remedial work before you can begin build out. Systems such as HVAC and sprinklers are particularly expensive to adapt. This is because the entire system has to be decommissioned for the alterations and then recommissioned after the works.
However, a modern building will not always mean reduced system costs. Many of the newest buildings have complex building management systems. These systems need specialist contractors, which drives up the cost. Some system adaption cost is unavoidable. Involving a fit out company to assess the space before you sign the lease will enable them to check the systems and avoid costly errors. Interior design can also be planned to minimise alterations to systems.
The final major element that will have an impact on the cost of your office is the location. While this will vary less than the actual cost of your lease, elements such as local labour costs and demand can increase the cost of your office fit out. In urban areas, especially London, labour costs are much higher than in some other parts of the country. The ease of access to your floor can also increase contractor costs. This means fit out companies will have to allow for this in their quote.
Office Fit Out Costs 2023
Based on office fit out projects we’ve completed recently, most office fit outs will range from £47 to £100 per square foot. This means that for a 5,000 Sq/ft space, a basic fit out would cost around £235,000, and a mid-spec about £340,000. A cutting-edge space of the same size could cost £500,000 or more.
It can be uncomfortable to see a figure that large at the bottom of your quote, but it’s also important to consider the return on the investment you’re making. If your new office helps to make your people even 5% more productive, your project will generate excellent ROI. To learn more about building a business case for office fit out, read our article “what is the ROI of office fit out?”
Getting Started with Your Office Fit Out
Planning your office fit out can be an exciting and rewarding challenge. However, if you don’t plan it carefully and set the right budget, you could be setting yourself up to fail. Every business and office is different, and this means every project is too. Dependent on the factors outlined above, your project could cost from £140,000 for a 3,000 Sq/ft budget project to £2,500,000+ for a 25,000 Sq/ft statement project.
As you can see, there are many different factors that can affect the cost of your office fit out. The two most important are size and specification. These will control, to a large extent, what you need to invest in your workspace.
To learn more about what your office fit out might cost, download our office fit out costs guide. There, we’ll explain the breakdown of your office fit out into the key phases. We’ll also explain what affects the cost of your office fit out, how to decide the appropriate specification for you, and why some office fit out companies are more expensive than others.
If you want to make a start on your next workspace but aren’t sure how, we are here to help. At Zentura, we provide a concept to completion office fit out service. We work with you from initial consultancy through the design and project management stages. As specialists in fast track office fit out, our team is highly experienced in delivering fit out projects on time and on budget with minimal disruption. Book a call with one of our project consultants here. To read other popular articles about office design & build, visit our knowledge hub.