Commercial Fit Outs

How Sustainable Interior Commercial Fit Outs Are Transforming Office Spaces 

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Nowadays, sustainable interior commercial fit-outs are one of the fastest ways to change the offices’ appearance in the modern commercial industry. This transition is changing the way commercial buildings will be built in the future towards sustainability. Commercial fit-outs are also significant for businesses that seek to enhance their office space, improve energy efficiency, and tailor the design of their commercial space to the company’s values and approach to work.

What Are Commercial Fit Outs?   

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A commercial fit-out is a general term used to describe the work needed to prepare the interior of a commercial property for occupation by a new tenant. A fit-out refers to the building, refurbishing, or modifying the interior of a commercial building to accommodate spaces that could be used for a specific purpose.

In this project, you may need to collaborate with a fit-out company to make sure that the process of interior commercial space transformation goes well until it is finished. They assist in ensuring that all the refurbishment required and the systems that are missing are taken care of for the new occupants of the building. Category B fit-outs and shell and core fit-outs are the divisions of the commercial fit-out construction process.

a) Shell Core Fit Outs   

Shell core fit-out is the first stage of commercial construction. Now the structure of the building is determined, so the interior is virtually empty. Electrical wiring, plumbing fittings, and air conditioners are mounted. But these systems are left incomplete with final connections waiting for tenant preferences.

b) Category B Fit Outs   

Now turning to another fit-out category: a Category B fit-out is concerned with the provision of a commercial design that expresses the brand and nature of the business of the tenant. This category includes constructing interior walls, completing floors, window treatments, furnishing, wallpaper designs, and even finalizing office equipment such as desk phones and Internet access. The Category B layout realizes the transition from an open undesigned space to a complete functioning office.  

c) Shop Fittings 

Shop fittings are dedicated to the service of the retail sector. They concentrate on improving the retail store environment to improve customers’ experience and increase sales. Shop fittings refer to the arrangement of the retail store, position, and design of shelves, counters, display cabinets, and fitting rooms. Every part is created with the purpose to control the customer’s movement and focus their attention on products.

The Impact Of Commercial Fit-Outs On Your Interior Space

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Optimization of commercial spaces cannot be complete without the services of commercial fit-outs. By offering more space or changing the current one, fit-outs can enhance or reduce the available area suitable for the business. They allow the business to create an office that fully suits its needs depending on the number of your employees, working principles, company’s operations, and demand in certain locations your office may be located.

1. Customization According To Business Needs

Modern business requires special office environments that reflect the identity of the organization. A commercial fit-out is a perfect option to arrange the office space and add details that reflect the business. For instance, a tech startup may require an open floor plan with common areas, whereas a law firm will require more private offices and conference rooms for clients.

2. Adaptability To Changes   

Office refurbishment provides a degree of freedom to businesses. The size of the team may change as the business expands and more space may be required. Or, the renovation could be necessary due to the obsolescence of the furniture and equipment. Fit-outs can accommodate these changes and this is an opportunity for business to address the problem without necessarily having to redesign the entire office construction.

Sustainability In Commercial Fit Outs   

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With the rising environmental consciousness worldwide, the construction sector is now focusing on sustainability. The principle of a sustainable commercial fit-out is gaining popularity as it is a way to minimize the adverse effect that commercial premises may have on the environment.   

a) Eco-Friendly Materials 

Today, the materials used by fit-out companies are more friendly to the environment. For example, a retail store may have office furniture made with reclaimed or recycled wood, organic paint, or LED lights, which are highly energy efficient. .    

b) Energy Efficiency For Your Existing Space  

Energy efficiency is another area where sustainable fit-outs excel. This is done by incorporating energy saving electrical gadgets, appropriate placement of windows and doors to maximize natural light and using energy saving air conditioners. The goal is to reduce energy use and consequently the greenhouse gas emissions of the building.

c) Waste Management   

Waste is generated during the fit-out process. But there are sustainable fit-out companies that are trying to control and minimize the waste that is generated during construction. They achieve this by using recycled materials, recycling wastes and source materials from suppliers who can recycle the packaging materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Fit Outs

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i) What is a commercial fit out?

A commercial fit out refers to the interior renovation of an area to suit the client or the occupant. Although this term is primarily applied to the building of offices, it can also be applied to general commercial building.

ii) What is included in an office fit out?

Since a commercial fit out is used to make office interiors suitable for occupation then features that are added to such spaces include furnishing and fittings, electrical connections, plumbing lighting, mechanical equipment, interior design and much more.

iii) What are the steps in a fit out?

There are steps that one can have in mind when undertaking a commercial fit out in order to actualize the plan. Here are a few steps that you can use;

  • Conducting a needs assessment from the client.
  • Finding a location
  • Defining project scope
  • Developing a design concept
  • Preparing a fitting budget
  • Creating a timeline
  • Finding a contractor
  • Finding permits and approvals
  • Undertaking the project

iv) What is the difference between a fit out and a renovation?

Fit out refers to the process of modifying the space to suit the purpose while renovation is the process of restoring the space to a functional state.

Final Thoughts 

There is no question that sustainable commercial fit-outs are here to stay. Demand for sustainable commercial fit-outs expected to rise with businesses’ growing environmental consciousness. They lower the carbon footprint of commercial structures and enhance the health and wellness of office environments while expressing organizational principles and values. As more commercial fit-out companies continue to embrace environmental conservation, the future of offices seems bright, green, and ethical. However, sustainable commercial fit-outs are changing the commercial space industry, one office at a time.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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