What is a fit-out? And why do we hear so much about it? Fitout refers to the process of designing and building the interior of a building or space to meet specific needs and requirements. It involves the installation of all necessary fixtures, fittings and finishes. When constructing commercial buildings, it is common to practice leaving the interior spaces bare in order for the occupants to determine the level of refurbishment or fitting-out required.
Fit-outs allow the company business to plan and design the establishment’s appearance. Typically, a tenant’s contractor performs fit-out construction instead of the landlord’s construction company. A contractor working for an owner of a commercial space will typically develop an interior space as a “white box” or “shell.”
Fit-out activities include the installation of floors, ceilings, partitions and furnishings. Fitting out may include building services such as cabling, wiring, internet connectivity and communication arrangements.
According to Research and Markets, the Australian interior fit-out market is growing rapidly and is expected to grow at a CAGR above 14% to surpass $ 6.4 billion by 2024. This rapid growth in the fit-out market can be attributed to the rise in construction activities, especially in the non-residential construction sector, and rapid urban infrastructure developments across the country thanks to government policies favoring growth and low mortgage interest rates.
Based on application, the Australian interior fit-out market has been categorized into six segments: offices, retail, education, healthcare, hotels, resorts and leisure, and others.
Fit-out is often confused with the term renovations, erroneously used interchangeably. While linked, they serve different purposes and adhere to different procedures.
Types Of Fit-Outs
There are several types of fit-outs that can be executed according to the purpose of the building and intended use of space. Some common types are:
- Office Fit-Outs: These are fit-outs carried out in office buildings to create a functional workspace that meets the needs of employees and supports the operations.
- Retail Fit-Outs: These are fit-outs carried out in retail spaces such as stores and supermarkets to create an environment that is appealing to customers and increases sales.
- Medical Fit-Outs: These are carried out at medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics and dental surgeries to create a clean, sterile environment that is also conducive to patient care. Like Soulmed, specialises in creating quality, customised healthcare solutions .
- Hospitality Fit-Outs: These are fit-outs carried out at restaurants, cafes, bars and other hospitality spaces to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for guests and events.
- Education Fit-Outs: These are Fit-outs in educational institutions such as schools, colleges and universities to create an environment that promotes learning and supports the institute’s goals.
Commercial fit-outs are categorised into three main types – Category A, Category B, and Shell-Core fit-outs. To make an informed decision when fitting out a commercial space, you need to understand what each category involves:
- Shell and core is the first stage, which covers the fabric of the building architecture.
- For a Category A (Cat A) fit-out, the landlord or developer adds services like air conditioning, lighting and power.
- Some landlords then fit out their buildings to a standard called Cat A+, a fully lettable plug-and-play option.
- Otherwise, a tenant takes over and conducts their own Cat B office fit-out, designed and built to their bespoke requirements.
At Soulmed, we specialise in creating quality, customised healthcare solutions and medical fitout in melbourne that are effective and tailored to each client’s specific projects and needs. We understand that every business is different, and we design our services accordingly to make a positive impact. Our team has extensive experience in the field of healthcare and dental clinic fitout and we take a personal interest in every project we undertake. We take up medical, dental, radiology and veterinary fit-outs.
How To Plan For Them?
Proper planning is the key to a successful fit-out project. Before beginning a fit-out project, it is important to have a clear understanding of the project’s goals and objectives. This would include determining the building’s purpose, the intended use of the space and the desired outcome of the fit-out.
A thorough assessment of the existing space, including its size, layout and any structural or mechanical constraints, should be part of the planning process. This will be beneficial in identifying any issues that may arise during the fit-out process.
It is also important to take into consideration the project’s budget and timeline. A detailed budget should be developed that takes into account all costs associated with the fit-out, which includes labour, materials and other additional expenses such as permits and approvals.
While planning, it is also essential to work by outlining the key timelines and deadlines.
The contractor who will oversee your project will be instrumental to its success. Do your research and pick a firm with experience in similar projects. Review and shortlist the firm through its portfolio and ask for references. It is always better to work along with a single service provider on a large-scale project. It will end up being much quicker and more efficient than managing multiple suppliers.
Selecting an experienced, approachable and efficient fit-out contractor will ensure that the site construction works systematically. Hiring a contractor with excellent design capabilities will work to flesh out your brief. And see to it that it is managed from initial concept meetings to site surveys, construction and end phases.
Pre Construction Activities: Site Inspection, Interior Design, and Space Plans
1. Site Inspection
Before beginning any fit-out work, the first step is to conduct a thorough site inspection. This involves visiting the site to assess its current condition and determine what needs to be done to transform it into the desired space.
2. Interior Design
Planning the interiors is a big step in the fit-out work. This will include creating a plan for how the space will be laid out and selecting the materials, finishes and fixtures that will be used in the construction.
A new office interior design should complement the company’s brand colours, appearances, culture, values and vision. It should also be used in conjunction with other forms of marketing and promotion. The fit out construction meaning refers tranforming your medical office according to the needs of your customers and you. When customers walk into the office, browse the brochures, visit the company’s website or check its social media page, they should have the same impression and experience.
Design the workspace so that the various systems within the workplace collaborate to meet the needs of the employees (including a reliable AC system for optimal office temperature, adequate lighting system, enough sockets and so on).Consider the following systems before finalising the layout with the designer:
- The data cabling that is required
- How many dental chairs and type of delivery unit.
- Patient and staff flows.
- Type of dentistry being performed.
- Preference for way of working ergonomically.
- Additional features.
3. Space Planning
This important pre construction activity is essential for a successful fit-out project. Here, design and space planning will also take place. As the design catches everyone’s attention, you must pay attention to its development as it’s one of the most significant ways to influence and please the clients. Spaces should be adequately divided and arranged for functional elements. A detailed plan will be developed for how the space is used and the placement of walls, doors and other features.
4. Move IT and Telecoms
While relocating, communication needs such as the internet and phone may be severely disrupted. Depending on the industry, even minor communication breakdowns can cause multiple clients to be inconvenienced or lost.
This can be avoided by hiring a reputable fit-out expert to create a solid communication system migration plan. A smooth conversion process allows clients to email, text, or call even as the company relocates to new offices.
5. Legal Compliance
All government standards, including the following, must be met by the new design:
- Fire extinguishers and alarms
- Electrical configurations that are safe
- A pleasant and efficient work environment
- health and hygiene
- As mentioned earlier, employees who follow the guidelines are less likely to become ill, injured or have an accident, also helping the company avoid frivolous lawsuits.
6. Apply For Permits and Licenses
Mandatory permits and licenses are also needed to proceed with the construction process. These are usually building licenses, plumbing, electrical, water usage, fire management, and safety permits and many more.
Construction Activities: Meetings, Monitoring, and Actual Work
Once the pre construction is complete, the work typically gathers steam. The fit-out work begins with meetings between the client and the construction and design team. These meetings are intended to define the project’s scope, understand and define the client’s requirements and develop a plan of action. During these meetings, the team will work alongside the client to understand their specific needs – like the use of space and design elements they want to incorporate.
Regular meetings are also held to ensure clear communication among all parties regarding the stages of the construction process. These meetings are essential because site progress and design perspective issues, including health, safety, and other concerns, are discussed.
Fit-out contractors start work in this phase, including electrical, mechanical, cabling, plumbing, drainage, sanitary, and fire safety services. While the construction is underway, appointed staff will engage in frequent monitoring to ensure the project will be completed on time.
The construction team will monitor the project’s progress once the client’s requirements have been confirmed. This will then mean the contractor will have regular site visits to assess construction progress and ensure the project is on track to meet its deadline. During on-site visits, the construction team will also communicate with other contractors and suppliers involved in the project.
The actual construction work is one of the most important aspects of the fit-out work. This will include the construction or installation of walls and partitions, the installation of flooring and ceilings, electrical and plumbing work and the installation of fixtures and fittings. Fit-out construction typically involves a significant amount of custom work, such as creating bespoke furniture, custom light fixtures and wall finishes.
A crucial aspect that contractors must achieve is ensuring that the finished space meets the client’s needs while complying with applicable building codes and regulations. A number of regulations and standards must be met in Australia to ensure that a new space is safe, functional and compliant. Once the construction is close to completion, or at least most of it, you can check off any final approvals and permits you need. Also, if you have any problems with how the project has shaped up, now is the time to rectify the problem and switching to Plan B is required.
Working with an experienced and knowledgeable construction team is also important to ensure that a fit-out project meets these requirements. This team should be familiar with the applicable building codes and regulations and have a track record of completing high-quality fit-out projects on time and within budget.
Things to Consider Before You Start a Fit-Out Project
Is your tired old commercial space not motivating enough and is due for a new fit-out? It may possibly be one of the most significant expenses your company has footed, but where do you start? If you are considering going ahead with this project, there are several things you need to consider before you begin. Apart from the expenditure, a lot more is involved with planning and organising an office move. It is not a regular or annual affair; getting it right the first time is good.
The planning and designing stages are the crux of any commercial fit-out project. A well-planned space will provide a productive environment and can help improve your brand.
- Check the purpose of the renovation: Make a list of what you want to achieve from your office space. Ask yourself, ‘what kind of fit-out do we want?’ Make a note to utilise existing areas that are currently neglected and would maybe reinforce your brand and its image. Asking these questions will help you understand the purpose of your renovation. They will impact your fit-out requirements with what you want to achieve aesthetically and functionally.
- Multipurpose And Flexible Elements: The primary purpose of a commercial fit-out is generally to upgrade a particular space to its optimal best. Using innovative, multipurpose furniture or equipment can effectively save space, are flexible and is currently trending.
Fit-Out Mistakes You Should Avoid
1. Taking it up alone and not involving a professional
Expecting to save money by cutting corners will not work. Although you may believe you are saving money by yourself, you are exposing yourself to costly DIY disasters. You also run the risk of producing a subpar finished product. You might ask, what are the benefits of dental fit-out, And why should I hire someone to do it ? A healthcare fit-out can get out of hand quickly, and every mistake that occurs during the fit-out process comes at a price.So having expert contractors who know what they are doing and coordinate the work pays off.
Many business owners underestimate the knowledge and skill set required to complete a fit-out project. The person in charge of the fit-out must consider several factors, including health and safety, and effective and appealing design while making the best use of available space.
2. Not having the foresight
When it comes to healthcare fit-outs, business owners fail to consider the future and how the office space can adapt to their needs. Nothing is worse than being locked into a lease only to discover that your clinic has outgrown it before the lease expires. Allow for future growth and planning by ensuring that your office floor has enough space to accommodate additional equipment or spaces for more patients or employees.
3. No emphasis on design or layout
All the furniture, equipment and rooms cannot be randomly placed in your new location. Everything must be arranged logically so that each room is accessible and organised. The design and layout also dictate where the switches and power points will be placed – hence it is usually best that a professional who has experience handles the layout and design planning.
4. Not planning enough power and data points
Imagine how aggravating it would be to discover that there aren’t enough power and data outlets at your newly done-up clinic! This needs some planning, and it is recommended that each powerpoint is strategically placed based on the layout.
An engineer, architect or interior designer and a fit-out contractor will all likely be involved with the fit-out project. However, the specific types of trade contractors required may vary depending on the scope of the proposed works. To develop an ideal interior design and layout for space and business, the client and designer will frequently collaborate to look at the area and discuss the needs of the business, the number of workers, and design preferences.
A fit-out contractor is involved in this stage because they provide invaluable support on technical and trade-specific building elements.
A shell and a core building (also known as base building) is the prcess of constructing a building's primary structural elements, which include the foundations, walls and other structures. This method excludes interior components such as flooring, fixtures and furnishings. Simply put, the developers construct the main structure, and the client customises the interior space to their specific needs and tastes.
Soulmed has years of experience working in the healthcare and medical construction industry and has acquired the knowledge and experience to know what it takes to create a calming, unique space for your practice.
We have a reputation for completing fit-outs of the highest quality and within the contracted time frames, allowing you to focus on your business.
Soulmed acts as the representative, and we work closely with a number of the local municipals and have established a strong understanding of the process and procedures required to ensure all your permits are in place for construction to be carried out.
Our healthcare practice fit-out services offers a one-stop solution for all your needs, from consultancy and construction to project management and design. With one accessible and convenient point of contact, you can be sure that your project will be in good hands from start to finish.