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How Much Will it Cost to Refurbish my Office in 2022?

Office Refurbishment Costs 2022

Every week, we have companies across the country get in touch asking us for help with their office refurbishment. These can range from light-touch renovations in one area of an office, to a full strip out & fit out of an entire building.


One of the first questions they always ask is: what will this project cost? 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.


We’ve worked on hundreds of office refurbishments over the last 3 decades, from light touch renovations at serviced offices, to mid-touch refurbishments for PR agencies, to full strip out & fit out projects for law firms and entertainment companies.


Over this time, we’ve learned that while each project is very different, there are 6 key factors that help clients to set an initial budget. These are scope, size, specification, state, services, and setting. In this article, we’ll explain each one, and why it affects the bottom line of your quote. But first, what exactly is office refurbishment?


What is Office Refurbishment?

Office refurbishment adapts some or all of your existing office to suit the changing needs of your company. This is often carried out by companies following a lease renewal or a change in their workspace needs. There are varying degrees of office refurbishment, depending on how much your office needs to change.


Strip Out & Fit Out

Strip out & fit out 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 a Cat B fit out, every element of your existing workspace - partitioning, flooring, decoration, kitchen areas, furniture, etc. – will need to be removed and disposed of first.


This is the most comprehensive form of office refurbishment. While it may be the same floor in the same building, your new office will be almost unrecognisable- a completely new workspace, but in the same location.


These projects tend to be significantly more expensive than less drastic types of office refurbishments. This is because rather than adapting what is already there, the existing space is completely stripped out, and then fitted out from Category A status. Extensive alterations or upgrades to the HVAC and electrical systems are often part of these projects, which can further drive the costs up.


Mid-Touch Refurb

Rather different in approach from either Cat B fit out or full refurbishment, mid-touch refurb looks to combine elements already existing in your space with new components to suit the changing needs of your business. The scope of the works varies a lot depending on your specific needs but typically will include the strip out and re-installation of certain areas or elements throughout the space.


Mid touch refurb is a lot less disruptive and complex than full strip out & fit out because 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 with facilities that are more relevant to your present and future needs.


Reconfiguration

The least significant form of office refurbishment is reconfiguration. If components have become outdated, certain parts of your office (e.g. flooring or decor) may need to be replaced. If the size of your team has changed, some areas (e.g. desking or meeting suites) may need to be adapted.


Most reconfiguration works involve replacing high wear elements like carpet or decoration. Another common reconfiguration is relaxation areas, such as breakout areas or teapoints. Rather than look to transform your environment, reconfiguration resolves minor or specific issues in a low-key way.


What Affects the Cost of an Office Refurbishment?

The costs of office refurbishments vary 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 more than a fit out.


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.


Scope

The scope of the works you are carrying out will have the largest impact of any one factor on your office refurbishment quote. A refurbishment is a highly personalised 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 thing to bear in mind 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 options outlined above – strip out & fit out, mid-touch refurbishment, or reconfiguration – are only the most common options. Many companies choose to combine elements of each, especially mid-touch refurb and reconfiguration, according to their brief and budget.


Size

The size of the area you are refurbishing in your office will also heavily 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. This is why smaller projects seem very expensive, as the labour element of the quote is far higher relative to its overall size.


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.


State

The third key factor that will dictate the costs of your office renovation is the state your building is in. 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.


Specification

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. This may not be noticeable on a day to day basis, but without a stimulating environment, the engagement and performance levels of staff will drop. 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.


Services

Much like the structural state of your office, 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 particularly expensive to adapt, as they require a lot of labour-intensive reconfiguration and re-commissioning.


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 expensive systems alterations.


Setting

The final element that will have an impact on the cost of your project is the location. Elements such as local labour costs and demand can increase 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 2022

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 £20 to £100 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.

Light-Touch Renovation

Mid-Touch Refurbishment

Full Strip Out & Fit Out

Mid Spec

£20 per Sq. / ft

£30 per Sq. / ft

£40 per Sq. / ft


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, which can further drive the costs up.


Prices for a typical 5,000sq/ft office refurbishment could vary from £75,000 to £750,000 or more dependent 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

Now you know how to set an initial budget for your office refurbishment project! It’s important that you consider the above factors along with the level of investment your company can afford, and what you want your project to achieve.


If your office is outdated and contributing to poor performance, a full refurbishment can provide a great ROI through improved 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.


There are many different factors that can affect the cost of your office project. The three most important are scope, size, and specification. These will control, to a large extent, what you need to invest in your workspace.


A well-designed office refurbishment will increase your company’s productivity and 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 project will cost? Schedule a no-obligation call with one of our office refurbishments experts today.

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