Fit Out

CID carry out both “CAT A” and “CAT B” fit outs to business premises in London and the South East.

Fit Out is the end-to-end process of making an internal space suitable for occupation. It’s the transformation of a concrete shell into a working space; from installing facilities and raising the flooring, to installing team breakout areas, meeting rooms and workstations.

As the tenant, it’s important that you confirm with your landlord or developer what level of finish they’ll provide. Often a space will be provided by the landlord or developer as either a Shell and Core or a Cat A fit out, leaving it up to the tenants to provide the final working finish in what is known as a Cat B fit out.

Terms such as Shell and Core, Cat A fit out and Cat B fit out can seem confusing to those who are not familiar with the commercial property market. Below we have explained in plain English without industry buzzwords each of these terms. This will allow you to make an informed decision before you begin your office relocation and refurbishment process.

shell and core

Shell and Core

A Shell and Core is the basic internal framework of the building that has been completed. At this point an office building will look complete from the outside, however the space will simply be an empty shell on the inside. If a developer is planning to hand over a project in this state, it is unlikely you’d have any level of polished finish, so expect to see concrete floors and exposed ceilings. A Shell and Core fit out may have shared areas completed, for example; the building reception, lifts and communal toilets, however it’s best to check this with your developer.

Cat A Fit Out

A Cat A fit out will provide a basic level of finish. This may include raised floors, suspended ceilings and internal surfaces, along with basic mechanical and electrical services. While Cat A spaces will have a floor and walls, they’ll be quite basic and finished to an industrial standard.

Raised floors, suspended ceilings, basic mechanical and electrical services, fire detection and smoke alarms, Air-conditioning and ventilation and basic internal finish are usually included.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a landlord may request for the space to be returned back to them in Cat A condition at the end of the tenancy. This is called ‘Schedule of Dilapidations’ and will form part of the lease. The tenant will be responsible for returning the space in the same condition as it was taken.


Cat A Fit Out
office fit out Petersfield

Cat B Fit Out

A Cat B fit out provides you with a workspace in a finished condition that’s ready for your staff to move into. At this point, tenants will often work with office designers, property consultants and architects to determine how the space can be used to maximise productivity.

A Cat B fit out tends to include interior partitions to divide up the space and create offices, meeting rooms and breakout spaces. At this stage, you’ll also choose the final finish for the floors, walls and doors to reflect your corporate culture and branding. Cat B also covers the planning and installation of IT infrastructure, ensuring enough power outlets and AV facilities are available to support your working style.

Finally, workstations and furniture are selected and installed, getting the space ready for staff to move into.

Is a refurbishment the same as a Cat B fit out?

The terms refurbishment and fit out are often used interchangeably, however a refurbishment refers specifically to an existing office space that’s being re-done. A refurbishment project may include the stripping out of an existing Cat B fit out before replacing it with a new and improved Cat B that works better for the new tenant.

If you’re moving to a new development it’s most likely that you’ll be leasing either a Shell and Core or Cat A space and so this wouldn’t be classed as a refurbishment. If you’re renovating your existing office space, then this would be classed as a Cat B refurbishment.

office fit out Petersfield

Top Tip

It’s worth bearing in mind that while basic flooring and services (such as mechanical and electrical services) will be installed in a Cat A fit out, they may need to be moved to suit the design and layout chosen in a Cat B fit out. To avoid installing then removing these core components, it’s often worthwhile having your Cat A and Cat B fit outs delivered by the same contractors.

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