Average Cost of Office Refurbishment
Are you hiring more staff and need to reconfigure your office to fit them in? Or perhaps your office has become outdated, and you need to give it a refresh? If either of these situations sounds like you, then you are likely wondering "what will it cost to refurbish my office?"
The simple answer is “it depends”. It depends on a plethora of factors, from the size of your space to temporary supply issues in the construction industry. The cost for a 5,000 sq/ft office refurbishment could range from £85,000 to £850,000. In this article, I'll talk you through some indicative costs, as well as the different types of office refurbishment, and what can drive the cost up or down.
Every week, we have companies across the country get in touch asking us for help with their office refurbishment. These can range from a light-touch renovation in one area of an office to a full strip out & refit of an entire building. I'll use this experience to help you understand everything you need to know about office refurbishment costs.
Different Types of Office Refurbishment
Not all office refurbishments are created equal. Since refurbishments use some of your existing office, and add new features to improve, no two office refurbishments are the same. However, renovations can broadly be grouped into 3 categories, based on how extensive the works are:
Strip Out & Refit
Strip out & refit involves stripping your existing office back to its Cat A state, and then installing an entirely new workspace. This means that as well as the full scope of an office fit out, nearly every element of your existing workspace will need to be removed and disposed of first. This includes partitioning, flooring, decoration, kitchen areas, furniture, etc.
These projects are a lot more expensive than less comprehensive office renovations. This is because rather than adapting what is already there, the existing space is completely stripped out. It is then fitted out from shell & core. Extensive alterations or upgrades to the HVAC and electrical systems are often part of these projects. This further drives the costs up.
Mid-touch refurb combines some of your current space with new components to suit the changing needs of your business. Because most of your existing office remains, the scope of the work varies a lot depending on your specific needs.
Mid touch refurb is a lot less disruptive and complex than full strip out & fit out. A reasonable amount of your office will stay the same (or similar). However, key areas of your office that are worn out, unsuitable, or under-used are replaced.
The least disruptive type of office refurbishment is reconfiguration. Rather than look to transform your environment, reconfiguration resolves minor or specific issues in a low-key way.
Reconfiguration works often involve replacing high wear elements like carpet or decoration. If components have become outdated, certain parts of your office (e.g. flooring) may need to be replaced.
What Affects the Cost of an Office Refurbishment?
The cost of office refurbishments varies massively. They are more unpredictable than office fit out costs, as the scope of work is much more changeable. The state of the building will also impact the cost of a refurbishment.
There are 6 key factors that will control the cost of your office renovation: scope, size, state, specification, services, and setting. Here, we’ll break down each of these factors and how they can affect the cost of your project.
The extent of the works will have the largest impact of any one factor on your quote. A refurbishment is a highly customised project, quoted to your specific needs. With such a wide range of options, the costs can vary massively, depending on the extent of the work you require.
The main consideration is the complexity of the works. Simple things, such as re-decorating or replacing the carpet are fairly easy to do. On the other hand, reconfiguring partitions or installing bespoke design elements is more complex and costly.
The size of the area you are refurbishing in your office will also impact the cost of your project. Many contractors calculate their quotes based on the quantity of materials the design calls for. Labour is then factored into that unit cost.
Whether you are refurbishing specific areas of your workspace or the entire thing will affect the cost of your project massively. A small area may be able to be done at nights or weekends, with very little disruption to your people. If the whole space is being refurbished, works may have to be phased which will increase costs.
The state of your building is also a key cost factor. Older buildings with solid walls and floors are much more complex to alter, and the cost increases as a result. More modern buildings with features such as raised access flooring and easy access are much simpler to work in. In this situation, the costs will decrease.
In addition to a higher initial cost, buildings in poor condition are at a much higher risk of discovering complex problems with the building during the project. There may even be structural issues. Whether they are the responsibility of you or your landlord, these will be time-consuming and expensive to resolve.
A high specification level in your project 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 often is a worthy investment. More expensive furnishings tend to be much more ergonomic, acoustic, and durable. These qualities will help your people to be more productive every day, and last you years into the future.
While basic office refurbishments are functional and adequate, their design tends to lack inspiration. On the other hand, many design features may look “cool” but serve no real purpose, so it’s important to consider what you are trying to achieve. Ultimately, there is no ‘right’ specification level- it's what is best for you and your staff.
The condition of the services can add unexpected costs to your office refurbishment 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 works before you can begin other works. Systems such as air conditioning and sprinklers are very labour intensive and expensive to adapt.
For many projects, some cost in this area is unavoidable. This is especially true for mid-touch renovations and full strip out & fit outs. If you are not reconfiguring the partitioning layout, this may not be necessary. Even if you are, the design can be carefully planned to minimise or even eliminate systems alterations.
The final element that will have an impact on the cost of your project is the location. Elements such as local labour costs will affect the cost of your office renovation. In urban areas, especially London, labour costs are much higher than in some other parts of the country.
The amount of office construction in cities means there is high demand. Many companies are also adapting their workspaces to enable hybrid working. Access can also play a part in the costs – in areas such as central London, the delivery of materials is difficult. This means office refurbishment companies will have to allow for this in their quote.
Office Refurbishment Costs 2023
Office renovation projects are varied and often complex. Especially for low and mid-touch refurbishments, the costs can vary by 50% or more dependent on the requirements of your exact project.
Based on projects we’ve worked on recently, most mid-touch refurbishments will range from £22 to £50 per sq/ft. This does not include furniture. A low-spec version would cost around 25% less than the figures below, while a high spec refurbishment could be an uplift of 50% or more.
Office Refurbishment Costs per Sq/ft
Full Strip Out & Refit
The reason for the huge jump in the cost of a full strip out & fit out is primarily the extent of the scope. The existing office has to be completely stripped out and disposed of, unlike the other two levels. Extensive alterations or upgrades to the HVAC and electrical systems are often part of these projects. This can further drive the costs up.
Prices for a typical 5,000sq/ft office refurbishment could vary from £85,000 to £850,000 or more. This depends on the scope, specification, and other factors outlined above. These numbers are based on office refurbishments we’ve carried out over the last 2-3 years, though each project is different. Your unique requirements will come with unique costs.
Refurbishing Your Office
How much of your existing workspace will remain will have the biggest impact on your project costs. reconfiguration involves only minor changes, so can be done relatively cheaply. On the other hand, strip out & refit is more expensive than a fit out, as your existing office has to be stripped out first.
There are many different factors that can affect the cost of your office refurbishment. The three most important are scope, size, and specification. These will control, to a large extent, what you need to invest in your workspace.
If your office is outdated and contributes to poor performance, a full refurbishment can provide a great ROI. It can improve worker wellbeing and productivity, even if it looks expensive at first. What matters most is that you end up with the office that you need, for your people to perform at their best.
A well-designed office refurbishment will increase your company’s productivity and help you attract and retain talent. Whether it’s a light-touch refresh, a mid-touch refurbishment or a complete strip out & fit out, we have the track record to deliver your project with minimal disruption to your business.
To find out more about project costs, download our office fit out costs guide. Want to learn more about what your specific project might cost? Schedule a no-obligation call with one of our office refurbishment experts today. To read other popular articles about office design & build, visit our knowledge hub.