If you are in the process of planning an office fit out, you'll be well advised to produce a proper office fit out specification. Here's what one is, why you need one and how to write it.
What An Office Fit Out Specification Is And Why You Need One
"Specification" is a term used within the construction industry to denote a document which sets out the required standard and quality of a product, design or finish.
From thousands of pages long documents when building schools and hospitals, to a quick note in a notepad when a local tradesman prices up relaying your patio at home over the phone - a specification is vital.
It sets out the quality of finish and even specific products that have to be used.
When it comes to your office fit out, writing a proper specification will help in many ways:
- It will avoid ambiguity in pricing as, without a detailed specification, different companies will suggest different products and finishes depending on what is favourable to them.
- This speeds up and improves the tender process because you are comparing like-for-like prices.
- It will force you to visualise your final office and therefore help make sure it becomes a reality, rather than being led by your contractors.
- It helps establish fixed goals and finishes, therefore helping achieve more cost certainty thanks to being able to plan and order items well in advance.
- It acts as a reference tool throughout the project, which helps everyone involved; right from the lads and lasses working on site who order materials and install products, to the managers finalising the account and final payment after completion.
How To Write Your Office Fit Out Specification
There are a series of questions you need to ask yourself, which will help you to write your specification. Also, there's a general process and order which we suggest following, in order to make sure that you cover everything in your specification.
How To Structure It
Your specification can be as short or as long as you need to get your vision across to the companies pricing and completing the work.
It should definitely follow a logical structure though. Here's the key sections of information that need to be included:
- Who you are, where the project is and how much work is involved (m/sq2, head count, building location, what floor of the building it's on, whether it's a full refurb or furniture fit out, what access arrangements are, etc. As much information as you can give).
- What you desire from the finished project. What you want your new office to achieve.
- Any specific requirements. This could be anything from confidential working needs to facilitating an above average number of disabled employees. Or even just examples of furniture, feature items or products you'd like to be included.
- Completion dates for tender and build phases of the project.
Questions To Ask Yourself To Help Write Your Specification
Ask you and your directors or office managers these questions and it will help you to write a full and proper specification.
What's Your Goal? Why Do You Need An Office Fit Out?
Articulate why you require an office fit out. Maybe your company is expanding and needs an office to accommodate more staff. Maybe you're moving from outdated premises which are holding you back and aren't befitting your new direction or the way you operate.
Maybe you are trying to impress new clients and attract talented candidates to work for you. The company might be undergoing a rebrand or be part of a merger or receiving new investment. Or maybe you just want to reward existing staff and boost morale.
Whatever the reason(s), decide why you need an office fit out contractor and what you want them to achieve.
What Environmental Considerations Are Involved?
What Do You Want Included And What Do You Want To Avoid In Your Final Office?
Browse example projects of stunning offices and read about the latest trends in office design and office culture.
This will help you inform the contractors pricing your fit out what you want included and what you don't.
Do you want that trendy bean bag and table tennis area for staff to unwide during their lunch break, or do you want to encourage them to leave the office and get some fresh air? Do you want a showstopping bespoke reception desk or would you rather spend your budget on the internal furniture to help your staff work more productively?
Follow those links for some further reading.
What Elements Of Branding Do You Want Included?
Because if you end up wanting an office which is clearly signaling at every opportunity that, yes, you are most definitely stood in the offices of Acme Company Name, complete with coloured carpet tiles and coffee cups, this will shape the design of your fit out massively.
When Do You Want The Tender Process Completed?
Work this out so that those pricing the work know when to get the price submitted and so that you can internally plan the reviewing and appointing.
When Do You Want The Work Completed?
This is important because it will massively affect what amounts you get quoted during tendering.
It's very rare for a firm to turn down pricing any project, but if you need a tender submitted next Monday and work begins on site the day after, there will be some pretty hefty price increases to facilitate this.
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