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5 Steps To Office Refurbishment Success

Updated: Feb 26

Office Refurbishment Success

When you're planning your office refurbishment, there are hundreds of choices to make, from your design & build partner to the upholstery of the chairs. However, some decisions are much more important than others. If you don’t get key steps right, your project will run over budget and/or time. Even worse, it may not even solve the issues you currently have with your workspace.


To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, we've identified the top 5 things you need to do to make your office refurbishment a success. Drawing on our 16 years of experience in the industry, these key things to do (and not do) will help you ensure your project has the outcomes you need. By the end, you'll be able to implement these steps in your own project.


1) Define Your Brief

If your refurbishment doesn’t solve your underlying workspace issues, it will not be a success, regardless of whether it meets your budget, your timelines, or neither. Renovating your office to make it look stunning won’t matter if the new design doesn’t make your people more productive. Installing new graphics and flooring won't resolve a lack of collaboration space or overcrowding.


You need to start by defining exactly what is wrong with your space. In our experience, there are 3 broad reasons you might need office renovation:

-        Your office is the wrong size (overcrowded or too much space)

-        You have the wrong types of spaces (eg not enough collaboration zones)

-        Your office is outdated (no longer reflects your culture, or is very tired)

The problems aren’t always limited to what is immediately obvious. Rising absenteeism or declining collaboration may also indicate that your workspace needs improvement.


To learn more about creating a brief for your office refurbishment, read this article. There, we'll 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.


2) Set The Right Budget

Delivering your office fit out on budget will be almost impossible if the budget is too low. Trying to deliver without sufficient funds will mean you have to cut corners or miss parts of the brief. On the other hand, overbudgeting will lead to an over-specified project, which is a waste of precious capital.


So how do you decide on an appropriate budget for your office renovation? We recommend that you start by estimating what it will cost to deliver your project as per your brief. This will keep you focussed on solving the underlying issues. You can then compare this with what your company can realistically afford. It's also important that you consider the return on investment that your office refurbishment will deliver over the long term.


While each office renovation is very different, there are 4 key factors to consider when setting an initial budget:

-        Scope: The extent of the works being carried out

-        Size: The size of the space being refurbished

-        Specification: The quality of the materials used


To learn more about each one, including why and how it affects your budget, read How to Set an Office Refurbishment Budget.


3) Choose The Right Design & Build Company

Once you have defined the key problem(s) your office refurbishment needs to solve and what you are prepared to spend, the next step is to select a design & build firm. This is a massive decision that can make or break your project, so it's crucial to choose the right partner for your needs. Ultimately, you need to choose the contractor that is best able to deliver a workspace that delivers on your priorities.


Every office refurbishment company has different strengths and weaknesses, but there are 5 key aspects to consider when selecting your design & build firm:

-        Expertise: How are they uniquely qualified to deliver your project?

-        Portfolio: Have they got a track record of delivering projects like yours?

-        Design: Can they create a design that meets the brief?

-        Pricing: Can they deliver that design within your budget?

-        Customer Care: Will they be there to support you throughout and after the project?

For a more in-depth explanation of each factor and an extra 5 things to consider, read How to Choose an Office Refurbishment Company: 11 Key Criteria.


4) Plan Thoroughly

The final crucial aspect of a successful refurbishment is on-time delivery. Time overruns can create serious issues, even if the project has been delivered on budget. The longer your project takes, the longer your people's performance is disrupted.


The amount of time you will need to allow for your office refurbishment will vary a lot based on the scope of works. Adding a new executive office and some signage could probably be done across 1 or 2 weekends to minimise disruption. Stripping your office back to shell and core and completely refitting it will obviously take a lot longer.


For a 10,000 sq/ft mid-touch office refurbishment, we recommend allowing 8-12 months to fully plan, design and deliver your project. This would be broken down roughly as follows:

-        Planning: 2 Months

-        Concept Design: 1 Month

-        Detailed Design: 2 Months

-        Licenses & Approvals: 1 Month

-        Strip Out: 1 Month

-        Works: 1-2 Months

-        Commissioning: 1 Month


Some of these steps, such as concept and detailed design will partially overlap. Depending on the exact nature and scope of your project, the timeframe may vary significantly. To learn more about what goes into each stage and what impacts the timeframe for your office refurbishment, check out How Long Does an Office Refurbishment Take? 


5) Set a Contingency

Even if you’ve set a realistic budget and timeframe, you should still allow a contingency for both. Refurbishments can be long and complex projects. Your design & build firm may discover issues with the building during the project, which take time and money to resolve.


In all of our office refurbishment projects, our client has requested changes to the design after the contract has been signed. Most commonly these are to upgrade the specifications of finishes or to add additional features. These are rarely a problem, but they do take time and money to deliver.


We recommend our clients allow contingencies of 5-10% for both timeframe and budget. Exactly how much depends on the exact circumstances of the project and how much uncertainty there is. This is not to say you have to use all of that contingency. Set-aside budget can be used to improve the performance of your people in other ways. It is a lot less disruptive to bring your completion date forward than to push it back. Allowing contingencies will give you the flexibility you need to make changes without derailing your entire project.


How To Make Your Office Refurbishment A Success

A successful office refurbishment is delivered on time, on brief, and on budget. The key is to keep all 3 aspects in balance. It is almost impossible to deliver a project on brief and on time if the budget is too low or to deliver on time if the budget is too low for the brief. Above all, you have to identify the project motivates and key outcomes early on, and then remain focussed on those throughout the project.


To take the next step to ensure your refurbishment is a success, download your copy of How to Plan an Office Refurbishment. It's a comprehensive guide that will walk you through preparing for an office renovation, from initial brief definition, right through to signing the contract. To learn more about the benefits of office refurbishment and how to maximise their impact on your project, read this article.



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