Do I need an architect? & other office fit out FAQs

Do I need an office fit out?

This may be up to you, a board or body corporate, or circumstances. While it’s not worth making changes for the sake of it, there are times an office fit out is recommended. 

For instance, an unhappy existing tenant could be persuaded to renew their lease if you suggest an office fit out that upgrades their space to better suit their needs. It’s also a good way to make simple changes that could greatly impact their employee productivity. And of course, a new tenant may need an office fit out that personalises the rental space to their business functions.

Do I need an architect for an office fit out?

An architect is certified to oversee and complete your office fit out, but they may not be necessary. According to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, all you’ll need is someone (or a company) with a contractor licence. This could be one of the following, subject to the limitations of the licence class’ scope of work:

  • Builder: Open, medium rise or low rise
  • Builder: restricted to shopfitting
  • Shopfitting (trade)
  • Carpentry
  • Structural metal fabrication
  • Joinery

A full-service building maintenance company with experience in office fit outs should have all the skills and legal requirements to help you, sparing the expense of a full-blown architect.

Do I need to manage the project?

No, you won’t need to project manage if you contract with a reputable building maintenance company. You may need to manage the project if you choose to work with independent tradesmen, but bear in mind that this may not be the most cost-effective. The seemingly higher cost of a building maintenance company includes the cost of labour, materials and guarantees — all of which you’d have to pay for separately if managing the office fit out yourself.

A building maintenance company will assign you a point of contact — one person you can direct your questions to, and the one who’ll project manage your fit out from start to finish.

Related: What does the fit out work process look like? See what to expect with a fit out done by First Response.

What are the laws, regulations and codes governing office fit outs?

Like most building and maintenance work, there are quite a few laws, regulations and codes governing office fit outs. These include: 

Related: For more details on the legal side of office fit outs check out our blog post, 3 Must-Know Facts on Laws Governing Office Fit Outs.

How much do office fit outs usually cost?

The total cost of your office fit out depends on a number of factors. These include: the size of the space, the time of year the work is scheduled for, the cost of materials and how complex the work is that needs to be done. A simple way to determine the exact cost of your intended fit out is to contact a potential service provider and ask them to help with a quote. After a site inspection and a meeting to discuss your needs and ideas, you’ll have a working number.

Related: To help work out a rough estimate right away check out our blog post, How to Calculate the Cost of Your Office Fit Out.

Are office fit outs financially risky?

Any building work, no matter how big or small, carries some financial risk. These can include not spotting overinflated quotes, finding you need to redo work, absorbing the premiums of last minute planning and more. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate these risks. 

Planning ahead, budgeting accurately, leveraging economies of scale and using experienced contractors can all help you avoid these financial pitfalls. Find more details on these in our ebook, How to Minimise the Financial Risks of Maintenance Work.

How long do office fit outs usually take?

There’s no one-size-fits-all, standard timeframe. How long your office fit out takes, from planning to handover, depends on a number of factors. These can include the size of the area that is being upgraded, the complexity of the work planned, whether other maintenance issues are discovered during the course of the refurbishment, and so on. A reputable building maintenance and office fit out company will be able to set expectations up-front with an estimated timeframe based on their site inspection and quotation process.

Will an office fit out disrupt tenants or the business day?

Not necessarily. The best contractors will discuss your needs upfront and be happy to schedule the most disruptive or noisy parts of your office fit out for after hours or quieter periods of your business year. 

What kind of guarantees can I expect after handover?

Make sure that any work done is quality guaranteed! Reputable building maintenance and office fit out companies should include warranty documentation in handover. Check the Ts and Cs, but this generally ensures that any fair-use failures will be fixed and free of charge.

How do I select the best contractor?

Aside from checking for the usual licences and registrations, you may want to consider whether a potential service provider could partner with you and provide preventative maintenance over the long run. Even if you contract them for the office fit out as a once-off project, you’ll be able to reach out to them in an emergency or for general maintenance requirements setting the stage for a cost-efficient, trustworthy partnership as you take care of the properties in your mandate. 

Learn more about the pros and cons of contracting building maintenance services on retainer versus enlisting the help for once-off projects in our blog post, Building Maintenance: Contracts vs Once-Off Projects.

Get started for free with the help of office fit out experts

To guarantee the success of your office fit out project, choosing the right contractor is the best decision you could make. They’ll be your partners from the planning stages all the way through to handover and maintenance. But it’s not a relationship you’d want to commit to blindly. 

A good way to assess whether the relationship may work, is to ask your intended contractors to quote for the office fit out. You’ll be able to confirm your budget estimations, get an idea of timelines and walk away with a good sense of what service from this company may be like. First Response offers free, no-obligation quotes, and we’d be happy to cost out your project with you. Contact us today to set up a site inspection to get your quote.  

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