We’re getting rid of industry jargon to explain the different types of fit out.
Without standard definitions, navigating the fit out world can be confusing – especially if you’re not familiar with the commercial property industry. That’s why we’ve simplified the fit out categories, giving you a Plain English guide to some of the most fundamental parts of Design and Build. More of a visual learner? We’ve created an infographic to illustrate each fit out.
In short, a Cat A fit out results in a space that’s fully functional, but empty. Cat B fit outs leave the space tailor-made to suit the occupant, from custom features to branded finishes – down to the flowers at reception. But to truly understand the difference between these types of projects, we need to understand what we mean by fit out.
A fit out is the development of a space with the purpose of aligning its functionality with the requirements of the people who use it: it’s making sure a space does what its occupants – or owners – need it to do. Different types of fit outs reflect stages in a building’s completion, with shell and core proceeding even the simplest Cat A fit out, and Cat B fit outs producing a fully realised workplace. Cat A and Cat B are the most commonly discussed types of fit out, but there are two additional categories with important distinctions all their own – shell and core and Cat A+.
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. The shell and core is 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.
Shell and core includes things like:
• Lift shafts
• Concrete and metal frame
• Loading bays
A Cat A fit out is the basic finishing of an interior space. Generally commissioned by landlords, 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. Apart from its most basic working elements, a Category A space will be completely empty, making it easy to sell to occupants who want to create their own space. With raised metal flooring, painted perimeter walls and a grid ceiling with fitted lights, Cat A spaces are the design and build world’s blank canvas.
Cat A fit outs include things like:
• Air conditioning
• Raised access flooring
• Grid ceilings
• Basic fire detection systems
*You may have heard of another fit out category called Cat A+. We have a Cat A+ programme called Built to Lease – this category is for landlords who are looking to let their space immediately.
Cat B fit out follows on from Cat A fit out and shapes interior spaces, involving everything from building different rooms, to choosing the art on the walls. Floorplans materialise, finishes are chosen and branding is pumped into the space, giving clients an end product all their own. If Cat A is a blank canvas, Cat B is a finished work of art. These fit outs incorporate the things that make a space functional, but they also provide the opportunity to bring an occupant’s company to life. Cat B projects are great for clients who want a space tailored to their people and their own requirements, as these spaces are the result of working closely with a fit out partner to identify and understand company culture and plans for the future.
Cat B fit outs include things like:
• Partitions and doors
• Floor finishes
• Specialist lighting and facilities
• Cafés, teapoints and kitchen areas
• Branded material and décor