Relocating or refurbishing your business premises is not likely to be something that is done often. It is also very likely to be a significant cost to your business, whether you have 40 staff or 400. This makes selecting the right office fit out supplier absolutely vital.
Get it wrong and you may experience budget overspends, business disruption, missed deadlines and a design solution that doesn’t consider future requirements. However, get it right and you’ll be the proud occupier of an inspirational workspace that motivates staff and increases productivity.
So what do you need to know when you are looking to appoint a supplier to deliver this crucial project?
The first question to consider is; Do you want to run the project on a traditional basis, where the design and specification section is separated out from the build stage? Or do you want to engage a design and build contractor who will design, project manage and build the complete project?
The traditional route involves appointing consultants to design the project in detail, and then prepare tender documents. Contractors can then submit tenders for the construction of the project. A consultant is then retained to oversee the work and to make any subsequent design changes that may be needed. Separation of design and construction can be seen as adversarial because if significant design variations are required it can prove costly to the client.
The design and build route describes appointing a main contractor to design and construct the whole project. The d&b contractor is normally selected at the outset of the project after submitting design concepts and budget pricing. This approach for office fit out can be beneficial as it allows full responsibility to be taken for the whole project from start to finish.
Once a decision has been made on which route to pursue, a second set of questions should be covered to help you appoint the right design and fit out supplier.
Financial Stability - This is the biggest potential factor in a contractor failing to complete a project. Make sure that you conduct a credit check - primarily looking at the credit rating (score out of 100), net worth and working capital.
Design Capability - It is design flair and creativity that separates the sheep from the goats in terms of what the finished project will look like and how it will perform. Look at case studies for evidence of design ability and also check that they have an experienced commercial interior designer with knowledge of the latest agile working strategies and new furniture concepts.
Experience Team - The right supplier will need a creative interior designer, technical design ability, customer-focused project managers, and a good team of tradespeople.
Track Record - Do they have a good track record of completed projects? Be sure to check out their case studies, and if possible visit other completed projects or even works in progress.
Testimonials - Ask for testimonials and references. Speak to referees and ask specific questions regarding the project management and project delivery experience to make sure you are confident in their work.
Turnkey Capability - The finish is going to be the most important part of your project, and here furniture plays a vital part. Your fit out supplier should have the ability to provide a package that goes from workplace audit right through to furniture and storage installation.
Once you have a shortlist of companies you are confident have the capabilities to undertake your project, you must make sure they are the kind of people you will be happy to work with. Our complete checklist is available as a detailed step by step guide to appointing your fit out partner. It really is a must have for anyone thinking of undertaking a major capital project.