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Office Refurbishment FAQ’s: Your Questions Answered

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Office Refurbishment Questions

If you’re planning to refurbish your company’s office, you may have a lot of questions. Office refurbishments can be complex projects, and there are a lot of factors to consider and decisions to make. The consequences of your project going wrong could be disastrous for you and your company. It’s important you make well-informed decisions so that your office refurbishment is a success.

We’ve been refurbishing offices in London and across the UK since 2008, working for companies such as MTI, Campbell Lutyens and Red Consultancy, along with many others. Here, we have compiled the most common questions we get asked about office refurbishment, and our answers. Covering everything from cost and finance to choosing a design style, this article will give you a basic understanding of office refurbishment. You can research specific topics further as you need in our learning centre.

What is Office Refurbishment?

Office refurbishment is about adapting and refreshing your existing office to suit your changing needs. Many types of refurbishment involve reconfiguring the layout, and refreshing the flooring and wall finishes, as well as the furniture. It is very different from office fit out, which takes a blank space and turns it into a ready-to-use space.

Office refurbishment is a broad term and can cover a huge variety of works. There are 3 main types of office refurbishment:

- Strip out & Fit Out: Stripping your existing office back to its Cat A state, and then installing an entirely new workspace.

- Mid-Touch Refurbishment: Combining elements already existing in your space with new components to suit the changing needs of your business.

- Reconfiguration/ Churn: reconfiguring certain areas of your office (eg., adding desks), or replacing high-wear elements like carpet.

Do I Need an Office Refurbishment?

An office refurbishment can be a big project requiring large investments of time, money, and effort. Before you start such a project, you should be absolutely sure that an office refurbishment is right for your company. In some cases, the answer is obvious. If you have a serious problem with overcrowding, or your staff are complaining that they can never find a meeting room, then you need to act now. If on the other hand, your office has become outdated over the last few years but there are no obvious issues, then your decision becomes more difficult.

Based on our experience, there are 3 main reasons companies do an office refurbishment:

- They have the wrong size office

- They have the wrong office layout

- Their office is outdated/ off-brand

There are also 3 common reasons companies decide not to carry out an office refurbishment:

- The cost is too high

- The new design does not solve the problem

- The time is not right because of external factors

To learn more about these 6 factors and how to decide if an office refurbishment is right for you, read Is Now the Right Time to Refurbish My Office?

How Much Does Office Refurbishment Cost?

Because the scope of office refurbishment is so variable, the costs are also very variable. It depends on a plethora of factors, from the size of your space to temporary supply issues in the construction industry. There are 6 key factors that will control the cost of your office renovation: scope, size, state, specification, services, and setting.

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. A high-spec refurbishment could be an uplift of 50% or more. To learn more about what you might need to budget for your next office refurbishment, read How Much Will it Cost to Refurbish my Office in 2023?

How Long Does Office Refurbishment Take?

An office refurbishment can be a big investment of time and effort as well as money. Again, the time you need to allow for your office refurbishment project can vary hugely. The key factors affecting the timeframe of your office refurbishment will be the size of the refurbished area and the scope of works. For smaller projects, the time required for approvals can also be a major factor.

If you are carrying out a small churn project, such as adding an individual office, the entire project could take as little as a month, with the works taking a week. A mid-touch refurbishment will probably take around 3-6 months from start to finish. A full-scale strip out and fit out project, meanwhile, is likely to take 10-12 months. To learn more about office refurbishment timescales, read How Long Does an Office Refurbishment Take?

How do You Plan for an Office Refurbishment?

Office refurbishment success is almost impossible without careful and detailed planning. Without the right brief, your office move will not be a success, regardless of whether it meets your budget or your timelines, or neither. You should define your high-level motivations, criteria, and objectives before you even think about potential locations or design features. By clarifying the key reasons behind your office refurbishment and the success criteria, you can remain focussed on these throughout the project.

To learn more about the office refurbishment process, read this article. If you’re not sure how to plan your next office refurbishment, download our 7-step guide on how to do just that. There, you’ll find the 7-step process we guide our clients through when planning their office refurbishments. It will take you from defining the brief right through to signing the contract. Download it here.

Which Office Design Style Is Best?

This is quite a misleading question, as there is no one “best” office design style. What many people really mean when they ask this question is “What office design style is best for me?”. Yet again, the answer is “It depends”. In this case, it depends on how your people use the office and what business challenges you are facing. Your brand is also crucial.

As well as the aesthetic design of your workspace, you should also consider which layout and environment design styles are best for your company. To maximise the performance of your people, your office should bring your brand to life, and match the way they work. For more information, read Which Office Design Style is Best For Me? We’ve explained 5 of the most popular office design styles. We’ve also explained some important factors you’ll need to consider when choosing your office design style.

How do I Choose a Refurbishment Contractor?

It can be a challenge to choose the right type of company, as well as the best specific company to design and deliver your office refurbishment. Making the wrong decision may well lead to high costs, long timeframes and/or an inappropriate design.

There are hundreds of different office refurbishment companies, all with different specialisms, cost structures, and customer care. It’s crucial to be objective. You should always compare companies against the brief rather than against each other. To learn more about how to select the right company for your refurbishment, read How to Choose an Office Refurbishment Company: 11 Key Criteria.

Can I Finance An Office Refurbishment?

An office refurbishment can be a big upfront investment, so it’s worth looking at various ways to finance your project. If it is a relatively small project, it will normally be simplest and cheapest to finance your refurbishment using your cash reserves.

For very large projects or situations where cash is constrained, you may need to look at different ways to spread the cost over a number of months or years. This could be lease finance, a bank loan, asset finance or furniture rental. Check out our article explaining The 4 Best Ways to Finance Your Office Fit Out, where you’ll learn about the most popular ways to finance an office project, and factors to identify if they are right for you.

Why Does Office Refurbishment Matter?

The final key question we are so often asked when we speak to prospective clients is why does office refurbishment matter? In many cases, what they are really looking to understand is the impact their project will have on the overall performance of their company. Inevitably, this is very dependent on their current office, as well as their business challenges and opportunities.

There are 8 ways in which a well-planned and executed office refurbishment will improve the performance of your company. Talent attraction and retention can be significantly improved by a great office, as can productivity, collaboration, and wellbeing. For a more detailed explanation of why office refurbishment might matter to you, read 8 Ways an Office design can improve company performance.

Got More Questions?

Here, we’ve gone through our answers to the most common questions we get asked by our clients when we are planning office refurbishments. We hope that by explaining our answers to these questions, we’ve given you more clarity about your potential office refurbishment needs, and what your next steps might be. For more information and insight, check out our learning centre. There, you’ll discover lots more educational content about office refurbishment, fit out, and design. Check out our latest articles, most popular articles, and free guides.

For a more detailed answer to any of these questions, or for any other office refurbishment questions you may have, please get in touch with our team of workspace experts. We’ll be glad to answer all your questions and see how we can support you.



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