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How to cut costs through the office fitout process

The February focus here at A1 Office Fitouts is value, following on from a look at sustainability in workplace decor and design last month. The cost of conducting a renovation of a commercial office space can be significant, which is why it’s important to try and get excellent value for your money.

The Western Australian government Small Business Development Corporation notes that a fitout can be one of the largest costs for a small to medium enterprise? {SMEs} that is just starting out, highlighting the importance of value and quality when it occurs.

One of the first steps in getting good value is engaging the right commercial fitout company. A1 has a wealth of experience conducting fitouts to a wide range of briefs, and can mould the design and construction process to a client’s vision and budget with minimal fuss. Here are some of the ways costs can be cut – without cutting the corners off your business.

Out with the old, and then back in with the old

While the temptation is strong to use all-new materials for a commercial office fitout, the reality is that this can be expensive. For example, a Wrap study from the United Kingdom looked at the fitout of a company named RWE Power. This company ensured that 98 per cent of the materials in the process were reused, recycled or had an A/A sustainability rating. Of this, 65 per cent of the total value of materials in the fitout came from reused or recycled pieces.

Overall, the savings in the fitout totaled approximately £26,000 (approximately $50,000 in Australia). Workstations, desks, chairs, even bathroom materials were reused, but the majority of the cost savings through reuse in this study were found to be from ceiling tiles. By taking all of these for the new office space, the company saved approximately £22,500.

Discussing the potential reuse of these kinds of materials when you speak to commercial fitout companies is vital for maximising value for money.

Consider the operational costs

Conducting a commercial office fitout for value doesn’t just mean ensuring your hard materials are saving you money, it means looking forward to how a company functions as well. As British company Aldermore points out, any business that makes a lot of overseas phone calls during the day-to-day would do well to remove the phones, and begin working from Skype. Subsequently a company should allow for wiring, internet and computer facilities throughout an office.

Meanwhile, SME Web recommends giving careful thought to whether you manage a fitout in-house. While this can initially seem like a great way of cutting hiring costs, it also runs the risk of having people in charge who have not dealt with this level of design before. In the long run, this can cost a business money.

The operation of a commercial office fitout should be undertaken by an expert firm that understands how to get the most out of a space. This is where companies like A1 can step in an provide efficient guidance and vision, all while staying within a clear brief set out by the client.

Pick the right type of building

In a 2006 report from Building, a prominent brand in the United Kingdom construction industry, there was a detailed breakdown of the different office fitout costs. As mentioned previously, ceilings are an expensive part of these works, taking up 22.22 per cent of the total bill. However, even more significant was the cost of electrical installation, which took up 24.74 per cent of the office fitout costs.

While the percentage may not be identical for woks completed in Australia, it is a prudent reminder of the importance and expense of getting the right wiring for a commercial office. One way around this is to select a building that has appropriate electricity wiring and ports already set up. This may enable a business to deftly sidestep some significant costs, and move forward with the remainder of the fitout.

What’s more, selecting a building with a wall plan close to what you want could help avoid more costs. An empty office floor plan will be more appropriate for an open-plan setup, while one that is more closed off for when a business requires a cubicle or more private setup. It is worth keeping in mind that an open-plan office interior design will require less walls and doors, and will therefore likely cost less.

SMEs are unlikely to have the funding to make extravagant changes to the floor plan, so working with a design company that understands budget constraints and will work to create a space that fosters productivity without compromising on value is important.

Any small to medium enterprise in Australia that is seeking value from their commercial office fitout should be looking towards firms like A1 to create a work space that reflects their business vision, while also cutting down the overall cost of construction.

For further advice regarding cutting costs throughout the fitout process without sacrificing quality, contact A1 Office Fitouts today.

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