If you’re in the process of relocating your office and assessing your options for office fit out, it is likely that you will hear new terminology and other industry jargon which you may not be familiar with. The term fit out is used to describe the process of conducting design and building work within a space.
Two of the most common types of office fit out are Cat A and Cat B. Cat is short for category, and Cat A and B are terms used for a classification of fit out as a way of differentiating the elements included in that type of fit out.
While there is no standard industry definition of the different types of fit out, we have explained the differences between these types of projects by highlighting key aspects of each type of fit out below.
While part of the fit out spectrum, shell and core is technically the state of a building before any type of fit out occurs. The space won’t be usable at this stage and is the result of the initial construction of the building. Shell and core refers to the concrete and metal frame of a weather-proofed space. It may look complete from the outside, but inside the building’s services, like lighting and air conditioning, aren’t even installed.
A Cat A fit out is the basic finishing of an interior space, this type of fit out includes the installation of a building’s mechanical and electrical services. A Cat A project will also include finished internal walls, reception areas and lift lobbies – but that’s it. With raised metal flooring, painted perimeter walls and a grid ceiling with fitted lights, Cat A spaces are often described as a ‘blank canvas’ as it is ready to be transformed into a Cat B space. Generally commissioned by landlords.
A Cat B fit out is the term used to describe a fully operational workplace that has been designed to a client’s unique specifications to make it their own. A Cat B fit out involves everything from building different rooms to choosing the art on the walls. Cat B fit outs will usually be carried out by a company before they move into a new office with the help of a design and build company.
A Cat A+ fit out is typically conducted by landlords as a way of attracting tenants into their space rather than leaving the space as Cat A which would require the tenant to spend money on designing. It is called Cat A+ as it sits between Cat A fit outs and Cat B fit outs but it is also referred to as Plug and Play space. It has become a popular type of fit out with landlords who are offering flexible space under built to lease programmes.
Cat A+ is a way of creating a functional office that a tenant can move in and begin working immediately while only having to make minimal adjustments to the space. Elements such as branding are not usually included in a Cat A+ space as this is left for the tenant to add once they have moved in.