When it comes to office fit-outs, it is essential to understand the different options available to clearly outline the requirements to a fit-out contractor. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concepts of CAT A, CAT B, and CAT A+ fit-out spaces, providing detailed insights into each category and their benefits.
What is an Office Fit-Out?
An office fit-out refers to the process of making a space suitable for occupation by businesses. It involves the installation of necessary structures, electrics, furnishings, and decorations to transform an empty and inhabitable space into a functional workspace .
What does a Shell and Core Office Fit-Out Mean?
Before delving into CAT A and CAT B fit-outs, it is important to understand the concept of a shell and core office fit-out. This type of fit-out takes place before CAT A and CAT B layouts and involves installing or updating the infrastructure of the building. A shell and core office fit-out describes the state of a building before the new design occurs, where the space is not yet usable as it may have just been constructed. While the exterior may appear complete, the interior lacks essential elements such as lighting, flooring, and air-conditioning.
CAT A Fit-Outs
What is a CAT A Office Fit-Out?
A CAT A (Category A) office fit-out is the basic finishing of an interior space, typically ordered by the landlord. It involves installing the building's mechanical and electrical systems, resulting in a space that resembles a blank canvas. While the building will have lighting, floors, and walls, it will require furnishing with office furniture before it can be used as a workspace. CAT A fit-outs are suitable for businesses that are moving from one setting to another, as most of the furniture will have already been purchased.
What does a Typical CAT A Office Layout Include?
A CAT A office fit-out usually includes the following:
- Raised access floors and suspended ceilings
- Electrical services such as lighting and power
- Mechanical services, including basic air conditioning and ventilation
- Fire detection and protection services in line with building regulations
- Internal surface finishes ready for decoration
- Refurbishment of common areas, including toilets, shower facilities, lifts, lobbies, and breakout areas (if not already completed in the shell and core fit-out).
What are the Benefits of a CAT A Space?
CAT A fit-outs have gained popularity due to the growing demand for flexibility in workspaces. With workers no longer confined to their desks and businesses seeking adaptable solutions, CAT A spaces offer a middle ground that allows for customization without the need for extensive commitment or transformation. Some key benefits of a CAT A layout include:
- Cost-effectiveness and reduced work for contractors
- Temporary workspace that can be easily modified to suit business needs
- Increased flexibility for changing work requirements
- Ability to personalize the space with office furniture and decorations .
CAT B Fit-Outs
What is a CAT B Office Fit-Out?
A CAT B office fit-out differs from CAT A as it provides a finished space that is ready for immediate occupancy. Similar to CAT A, a CAT B layout includes lighting, flooring, and walls. However, the key difference lies in the level of customization and collaboration involved. A CAT B fit-out requires working with architects and specialists to design the space according to specific requirements, including interior partitions, ceiling design, furniture selection, and branding elements.
What does a Typical CAT B Office Layout Include?
A CAT B office fit-out typically includes the following:
- Air conditioning, heating, and power points
- Fully fitted kitchens and non-communal office amenities
- Partitioning for meeting rooms, offices, break-out spaces, and reception areas
- Office furniture such as desks, workstations, chairs, and meeting booths
- IT installation and infrastructure
- Design and brand detailing.
What are the Benefits of a CAT B Office Space?
CAT B fit-outs offer several advantages for businesses looking for a space that aligns with their specific needs. Some benefits of a CAT B office fit-out include:
- Readiness for immediate occupancy, allowing businesses to commence operations without delay
- Customization options that cater to unique tasks and requirements
- Greater brand identity and alignment with corporate culture
- Increased productivity and connection with the company brand.
CAT A+ Fit-Outs
What is a CAT A+ Office Fit-Out?
A CAT A+ fit-out falls between CAT A and CAT B, offering a higher level of completion that better meets modern market requirements. This type of fit-out provides a building layout similar to CAT A but includes additional basic design features to prepare the space for occupancy. CAT A+ fit-outs are particularly suitable for landlords and tenants of co-working spaces, providing a space that offers more flexibility than a full CAT B fit-out.
What does a CAT A+ Office Layout Include?
A CAT A+ office fit-out typically includes the following:
- Furniture and workspaces
- Partitioning for meeting rooms, offices, and breakout spaces
- Fitted kitchens and toilets
- IT installation and infrastructure
- Air conditioning and required power points.
What are the Benefits of a CAT A+ Space?
CAT A+ fit-outs offer several benefits for both tenants and landlords. Some advantages of a CAT A+ office fit-out include:
- Reduced upfront costs and minimal adjustments required
- Quick and easy move-in process
- Ability to attract a wide range of prospective tenants
- Higher profitability for landlords in the long term.
Cat A vs. Cat B Office Spaces
Having gained knowledge of CAT A, CAT B, and CAT A+ spaces, it is important to understand which option is best suited for different types of companies.
Cat A Layouts: These layouts are ideal for companies that prefer to work with a blank canvas. If a company is moving from an old office space, most of the furniture and furnishings needed will already have been purchased.
Cat B Layouts: These layouts are best suited for businesses that do not have existing furniture and fittings. A CAT B space allows a company to customize the space according to its brand and specific requirements.
Cat A+ Layouts: For those who find neither CAT A nor CAT B suitable, CAT A+ fit-outs offer a middle ground that requires minimal adjustments and investment while still providing the privacy of an office space.
In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the concepts of CAT A, CAT B, and CAT A+ fit-out spaces. Each category offers unique benefits and customization options, allowing businesses to create workspaces that meet their specific requirements. Whether you prefer a blank canvas or a fully customized space, understanding the differences between these fit-out options is crucial in making informed decisions for your office space needs.
At Haiken, we provide a variety of office furniture and solutions to ensure your new workspace is comfortable and functional. Contact our friendly office furniture team today to learn more about how we can assist you with your office fit-out needs.