Office Fitouts: The Checklist When Undertaking A Refurbishment


Undertaking a fitout or refurbishment can be daunting, especially for companies outside of the property industry. The ‘to do list’ becomes overwhelming and a starting point is often unclear.

So what is the best place to start and how does a company avoid the stereotypical expensive delays and defects that are all too often synonymous with the building process?Engaging a builder early is a great starting point to maintaining budget and avoiding costly build-ability issues. Recent analysis undertaken by fitout and refurbishment specialist,

ISIS Group Australia suggests there are significant benefits to early contractor communication.

According to ISIS, early contractor engagement provides certainty of delivery for a client, including on time and on budget completion, as well as a defect free result. It also results in business continuity, avoiding disruption to business operations, through an early and deep understanding of a client’s needs.

At the beginning, it is recommended to undertake the following steps, in consultation with a contractor, for any company considering a fitout or refurbishment: 

1. Evaluate an existing workspace

It is important to firstly understand what functions well in an existing workspace and what needs to change. If the current space and location are suitable, then a refurbishment may be all that is necessary. But if a lease is ending and a new location or bigger space is required, then it is probably the right time to search for a new tenancy. Examine whether or not the existing layout is viable and whether more or less offices, breakout spaces, open plan areas or meeting rooms are necessary.


2. Employee Engagement

So that an office space meets business operations, it is valuable to include employees in the evaluation process to understand workplace needs. This can also create a sense of ownership of the space and minimise any negative impacts of change at the end of the process. A staff survey can be a helpful tool in gaining employee insights.


3. Develop a brief

Thinking about the future of a business and evaluating a current space, assists a client to provide a design brief that meets both function and form. It is important to consider technology and usability needs, as well as employee requirements to ensure a fitout or refurbishment is aligned to the company’s business strategy.

4. Confirm a budget

The cost of a refurbishment is a huge outlay for a business, so it’s imperative to set a suitable budget. Working in collaboration with an architect and a builder early in the process can assist to confirm a realistic budget. Asking a designer or builder for value engineering options can also save on costs.


5. Maintain communication

Maintaining a consistent dialogue with all stakeholders throughout the fitout or refurbishment process is critical to success. Employee updates and communications creates a sense of excitement for the new space. Ongoing dialogue with a contractor and consultant team can mitigate any issues early and avoid surprises at project completion.

6. Change management strategy

Change management is a vital factor in maintaining business continuity and experiencing a successful fitout or refurbishment. Constant communication throughout the building process ensures that employees are prepared for the change of space and minimises any disruption to business operations or employee efficiency. Providing clear relocation and logistical details, and carefully managing the transfer of belongings, are critical to employee wellbeing.

 Early engagement with a contractor in the building process ensures a client is guided through this detailed process, highlighting and alleviating any issues before they cause concern. ISIS focuses on relationship building early in the design process as a commitment to a collaborative delivery.

Forming an understanding of a client’s culture and how their proposed space will be used, assists to exceed their expectations during the fitout or refurbishment journey. The results are always unique, but most importantly, they are successfully customised to meet the unique needs of ISIS’ clients.

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