Meridian Interiors are proud to be accredited members of FIS, the trade body of the £10 billion fit out, finishes and interiors sector.
FIS represents specialists in all aspects of the interior fit-out and finishes sector. As a vertically integrated organisation, FIS works with members from across the sector supply chain support best practice knowledge exchange, drive technical competence and support quality, through the FIS Product Process People Quality Framework.
FIS is a not-for-profit community, built around a strict code of conduct – members are subjected to regular ongoing vetting.
At Meridian Interiors, as specialists in commercial fit out and office refurbishment, we are advocates of producing high quality office installations, and are proud to be members of this dynamic and proactive community that is focused on delivering a better construction experience for all involved.
Paul Dawson, Managing Director, said: “FIS is a highly-regarded, well-respected organisation at the forefront of the sector that does much to uphold values and drive quality in our sector. We are delighted to be recognised as member of an organisation which is an essential component of the modern-day construction industry.”
Meridian exist to make our clients’ working life comfortable, achieving this by listening to and understanding the human side of their business. Teaming up with the FIS has cemented our commitment to our clients to uphold quality throughout the process, from design and space planning, through the quality in materials and workmanship, to the project management and consultation throughout the project.
Please contact us if you would like more information or guidance on your next project.
Read our office refurbishment checklist from the experts at Meridian Interiors.
Investing in your workspace is a positive way to update working practices within your organisation, boost staff morale and express your company’s brand. This guide walks you through the path involved in the office fit-out and refurbishment process, so you are well informed for your next office refit.
The Office Refurbishment Process
Deciding when to carry out an office refurb is a good place to start because it is a very involved process, so you need to have the time and dedication to commit to it. Utilising the skills of your own staff (IT, Facilities Management, Office Managers), coupled with an experienced office refurbishment and fit-out company, like Meridian Interiors can help the process run smoothly, ensuring important elements are not missed.
Stages of Office Refurbishment
There are a series of stages to work through to design, plan and implement a new office refurbishment. Even though the size, scale and cost can vary dramatically between projects, the process remains very similar.
When you decide to carry out an office refurb, the first stage is referred to as the consultation stage. It is at this stage that initial conversations are had to establish what the goals are for the build, and how that will influence the design and planning stage.
At Meridian Interiors we focus on four fundamental concepts: Listening, Understanding, Creating and Delivering.
During the ‘Consultation phase’, office refurbishment companies will strive to take your vision and turn it into a reality. A workplace evaluation is paramount at this stage, where key people from your organisation set out the project parameters and review your main project objectives. Whether it be owners, managers of SMEs, facilities managers, maintenance teams, IT, finance, sales and marketing or operations managers, this is the first key step to ‘listening’ to your needs.
Design and development
Following the consultation and having defined your needs, the design and development of the project will need to be established using the framework below:
Headline Project Objectives
Team synergy in your organisation
Employee Habits & Wellbeing
Your Brand Themes
How the current space is utilised & performs
Requirements for expansion/future proofing
Analysis of these factors can then be used to determine what options and solutions your company can use to create the best possible working environment for stakeholders.
During the planning phase, it is important to understand how the budget can be used to achieve the desired result.
As planning a project is very involved, using both 2D and 3D drawings, can help shape the interior refurbishment and ensure all parties are on the same wavelength, after all a picture speaks a thousand words!
Once the design and plans have been agreed, ‘creating’ and ‘delivering’ are the next steps.
Have a programme of works in place with your chosen office refurbishment company will help the project to stay on track. Regular meetings between stakeholders are important to ensure the project is built accordingly to plans and change management can be implemented, where necessary.
The final project needs to run according to the planned budget and therefore having a project manager, to control costs and lead times, is imperative to achieving an office refurbishment that fulfils the brief.
Office Refurbishment Solutions and Options
For an office interior refurbishment to be successful, changes and improvements to the areas discussed below are paramount. Office refurbishments can vary in scale, so you may be looking to change only one or two of these items, to establish a better working environment. Or you may be looking to make significant changes and incorporate all these items within your new scheme.
Many offices have suspended ceilings because they are a practical way to hide ductwork, cabling and pipework.
A suspended ceiling is made up of a grid system, which is suspended on wires, with ceiling tiles and light fittings fitted within the frame. A lighting design is recommended to ensure the correct lux level is achieved throughout the space.
Suspended ceilings make maintenance for air conditioning, power and lighting accessible and are therefore a practical addition to an office.
The infrastructure behind a great office space needs to be well thought out and planned as part of the design process. Power, lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems are the elements of a design that make the aesthetics work.
As described in HSE’s Lighting at Work report, poor lighting at work can represent a significant cost to business in the form of:
Time off work because of accidents and injuries
Reduced staff efficiency and productivity
Getting it right is therefore paramount for the health, well-being and productivity of employees.
Having a lighting design created for your specific layout is a useful design tool, both to ensure the correct aesthetics of the refurbishment and the practicalities of having the correct lighting in the right areas. For example, you may need specific task lighting for carrying out detailed work, more relaxed lighting in a breakout area or feature lighting to make an impact in a reception area.
Decorating your workspace is an easy way of refreshing the space, without the need for a big budget. There is a seemingly endless range of wall coverings, paint colours and wall tiles. Using Meridian’s expertise in commercial office design, can help you to realise your ideas. It may be as simple as bringing in the colours from your company’s brand or selecting a style and colour you like!
As part of a larger project, decoration can form an integral element of the overall aesthetics of the office interior design and with a little creativity and inspiration, you can create a ‘wow’ factor or point of difference, setting your business apart from the competition.
Partitioning needs to be considered to create a fully flexible working office, as it offers privacy, better acoustics, meeting rooms, departmental layout, and safety, while offering enough personal space for workers to feel individually valued and productive.
Meridian can provide many different types of partitioning systems for the modern office or industrial environment.
Jumbo Stud Partitions
Industrial Steel Partitioning
Fully Glazed Partitioning Systems
Glazing, used in partitioning, has the added benefit of allowing light to flow throughout the office.
We discussed how incorporating as much natural light into an area as possible and positioning workstations evenly throughout the area can be beneficial to employee’s well-being. A 2018 Harvard Business Review reports a study concluding that workers in daylight office environments reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
Flooring is so versatile and a great way of zoning a space, without the need for partitioning it physically. Different types of flooring with varying textures, patterns and colours can make a big impact to an office refurbishment.
There is suitable flooring for every budget, use and colour scheme, making it a great way to freshen up an office space, re-purpose an area or adding an injection of colour or branding.
As a focal point within a workspace, a place where employees can interact socially, have drinks, have some lunch or catch up for an informal meeting, we believe the provision of a well-designed kitchen and breakout area, is essential in any workplace.
The space available will help with the design process, along with creative input from an office fit-out specialist and the analysis of how employees would like to use the space.
If you would like to discuss your next office refurbishment, Meridian Interiors are celebrating 20 years of experience this year and enjoy helping clients design and plan their office schemes.
Office Refurbishment Checklist
An office refurbishment can completely revitalise your office space, and transform your workplace into a modern, stylish space that employees can enjoy. With regular studies finding that increased employee happiness links strongly to productivity, it’s no wonder that an inviting office space is on many employees’ wish lists. After all, if you spend so much time at work, why wouldn’t you want to invest in an office space that ticks all the boxes?
Identify your needs and objectives. This should be the easy part! Ask yourself, why do you want to refurbish your office? What do you want to gain from your office space?
These are simple enough questions, but they can help you finalise a goal from your office revamp, so you don’t go off track along the way, which is far easier to do than you might think.
Consider these points below…
Expansion: Do you need to create more room? Facilities: Do these need to be upgraded? Workplace environment: Is your reason for wanting to create a nicer place for your employees to improve wellbeing, or to improve productivity? Legislation: Do you need your space to meet new government guidelines or /legislation?
Identify who needs to be involved in the project.
This includes company members and external companies. Depending on the size and scope of the refurb, you may find yourself liaising with additional companies, for example, if you are upgrading your company logos or signage, you’ll likely need to find a supplier and work with them on the design.
Company members: How will your team members and employees be involved with the project? Will they be involved directly or indirectly? Consider all departments from your financial team to human resources and management to marketing. They will all have an important input.
External companies: Employee unions and regulators, external professional services involved will need to be considered.
Talk to your Landlord It is important that you keep your landlord fully up to date with any plans you have to refurbish your space and that they have given you permission to make those changes.
TOP TIP: Remember, you may need to obtain a ‘License to Alter’. This ensures the landlord is aware of all changes so an accurate and detailed Alter can be drawn up.
Choose a reputable office design and refurbishment company.
It is important to choose a reputable company to work with, things to look out for are their reputation, experience, and previous projects.
● Headline Project Objectives: To stay organised it is important to set objectives to ensure all parties involved are aware of the timeline and project outcomes.
● Team synergy in your organisation: Create an environment that allows a team. to come together and collaborate, plan spaces that inspire synergy.
● Employee Habits & Wellbeing: Your team spends 8 hours a day in the office. . Create a space where their well-being is boosted and create places within these. spaces that incorporate healthy habits.
● Your Brand Themes: Allow your team to live and breathe the brand they work for by using the themes of your brand within your business.
● How the current space is utilised & performs: Understand what is already working and what isn’t. Speak to your team, spend a day in different areas of your office to understand the dynamics.
Identify your budget vs expenses of the project you want to carry out.
Get quotes on every aspect of the project and understand your budget. The project will include expenses and fees from transactional fees to planning permission to contingency costs. Prepare for these as early as possible by budgeting as early as possible.
Identify when the best time to start your project is.
You’ll ideally want to avoid disruption as much as possible to day-to-day productivity in the office. Obviously, some disruption is expected, but you can plan this well to avoid it colliding with a busy time of year, for example.
When is your quietest time of year? When can you fit this in when it will not affect day-to-day operations too much, can your team remote work during this? Also, consider the environment around your office.
2D and 3D drawings: Consider the best designs using both 2D and 3D drawings to understand the use of space. This will help the refurbishment company to thoroughly understand your vision.
Interior design: The design, branding, and colours will feed into all aspects of the refurbishment and design, and these should be considered during the design process.
Furniture: If you are planning on keeping your current furniture or planning on buying new, ensure to plan your purchases around the design. Furniture is very important to the look of your new refurbishment.
Lighting: Positioning of your lighting will affect the look of your design and your employee’s work life. This is also a health consideration.
Glazing: To allow appropriate lighting and to conserve heat, whilst blocking out sound from the outside. Work with your refurbishment company to choose the most appropriate glazing.
Flooring: Appropriate flooring will complete the look of an office and ensure a safe place for employees to walk around on.
Storage: A new space allows for new storage solutions; correct planning will allow you to take advantage of all new storage opportunities. Storage whilst your refurbishment takes place is also essential to store your equipment and office suppliers.
DDA Compliance: It is important to comply with DDA, the law requires you to consider the needs of current and future employees.
As an office fit out and refurbishment company, we wanted to put an all-encompassing article together to assist our readers with all aspects of office refurbishment, using our experience and real-life case studies.
Within this article we cover the following:
What does an office refurbishment involve?
Who carries out an office refurbishment?
Cost of an office refurbishment
What does an office refurbishment company do?
Benefits of Office Refurbishment
Examples of office refurbishment
What is the difference between an office refurbishment and an office fit out?
What Does an Office Refurbishment Involve?
Office refurbishment could be described as the renovation of a workspace. It is often a method of modernising, refreshing and revamping a space, not necessarily to change its function or layout, although this can form a part of the refurbishment. More likely, it is to be initiated by new branding, an increase or reduction in staff or updating the space to offer employees a better working environment.
Who Carries Out an Office Refurbishment?
Businesses who are focused on the well-being of their employees are either aware or keen to learn about how their office can help to produce a positive working environment (that may be why you are reading this article!). Job satisfaction and productivity are both key benefits to a well thought out office refit project, along with a positive impression to both stakeholders and visitors alike.
Once a need has been identified, contacting an office refurbishment specialist is paramount to producing a successful project.
Cost of an Office Refurbishment
An office refurb project can vary dramatically from simple redecoration to a full modernisation and therefore the attributed costs can vary significantly.
Elements that may be considered in an office refurbishment project are:
● Partitioning ● Lighting ● Flooring ● Joinery ● Data cabling/ AV cabling ● Breakout areas ● Reception areas ● Ceiling Refurbishment ● Suspended ceilings ● Mezzanine floors ● Suspended ceilings
As each project is unique, with the scope of works and size of the office influencing refurbishment costs, a detailed breakdown of all elements is essential and having a budget to work to is very useful. Working with an Office Refurbishment specialist will establish if your budget can be used for a basic, mid or high spec finish.
What Does an Office Refurbishment Company Do?
An office fit out and refurbishment company will work to listen and understand the needs of your project and create and deliver a design and subsequent fit out based on your needs.
Businesses are experts in their own field, whether they offer a product or service, however, unless your company offers interior refurbishment or office refurb, you will need to seek guidance from a specialist in these areas to assist with your refurbishment project. And we exist to make your working life comfortable.
During initial consultations, trained staff will be listening to and understanding the human side of your business, because creating your perfect office design is all about asking the right questions.
Office refurbishment companies often have a wealth of experience and innovative skills to deliver high-quality projects that are aesthetically pleasing, whilst providing practicality to suit your everyday business needs.
Working with The Parks Trust in Buckinghamshire is an exemplary example of collaboration and the importance of using an office refurbishment company. As a charity who care for parks and green spaces in Milton Keynes, they were keen to use a lot of timber in their design for the collaborative workspace and break-out area. Utilising our expertise and talented craftsmen, we were able to create a stunning space in The Parks Trust’s atrium.
Ally Phillips, Senior Property manager at The Parks Trust highlighted one of the benefits she found from using an experience office refurbishment company. “Meridian were happy to provide a chain of custody of the timber required, as this was a major part of the design”.
As previously mentioned, every brief and budget are different and every client’s requirements unique to their brand and workplace environment. A one size fits all approach just would not work for providing a well-thought out and executed refurbishment project, which is where working with an experience office refurbishment company matters. We create workspaces that not only look good, but also promote wellbeing in the workplace, leading to increase productivity for your business.
Benefits of Office Refurbishment
There are many benefits for carrying out an interior refurbishment in your office and some will be specific to individual businesses. Detailed below are a selection of the more common ones.
Growth and Future-proofing
As a business expands, an office refurbishment may be generated, as teams may change in dynamic and size. This would be a good opportunity to discuss the most efficient ways of working and how space planning could assist with this, as future proofing the layout at this stage is time well spent.
Technology improvements and scientific research into the ergonomic benefits of workplace furniture is ongoing. In recent years, sit-stand desks have been advocated in many working environments and much research has been written about their benefits. Sit-stand desks have become particularly popular among millennials and some even expect one as part of their package when they start a new job. A refurbishment is an ideal opportunity to take stock of existing office furniture and explore modern options, which can help staff well-being.
Introducing new technologies
As technology changes, so often does the space. From larger server cupboards, ‘Zoom’ rooms, to considerations around remote working and the potential change of use of offices, to meeting and collaborative hubs. Embracing these developments within your refurbishment will assist with more agile working practices.
Opportunity to change the working environment
In many modern working environments staff complain about noisy spaces, making it hard to concentrate because of background noise or overbearing office lighting, lack of natural light or good ventilation. As these elements are intrinsic to creating a healthy working environment, as detailed in our article ‘How to Design a Productive Office Environment’, a refurbishment project is a perfect time to consider these factors and include them into your plans.
Creating a new identity
If your current workspace has become a bit dated or run down, this can reflect negatively on your brand, as visual impression is paramount to your corporate identity. An interior refurbishment is therefore advantageous and an opportunity to affect business progression, through staff morale and productivity, following positive investment in their working environment.
As explained throughout this article an office refurbishment can mean something different to each company. This project involved demolition, installation of new suspended ceilings, updates to lighting, decoration, glazing installation, bespoke joinery, a kitchen fit-out and fitting new flooring.
The result is a modernised workplace, utilising the space more effectively and providing staff with a working environment and break-out area, flooded with natural light and refreshing colour palette.
A different project saw Meridian Interiors carry out a complete high-end office refurbishment, incorporating our client’s re-branding exercise, which was complemented with a new office furniture installation.
Incorporating impressive design, good products and skilled workmanship, the following elements were incorporated into the scheme; space planning, upgrading meeting areas, partitioning and screening, an operable and sliding wall installation, bespoke joinery, kitchen fit-out, tea point and break-out refurbishment, W/C refurbishments, decoration, carpet & luxury vinyl tile installation and supplying both functional and relaxed furniture.
These images show the creation of this stunning office environment.
What is the difference between an office refurbishment and an office fit out?
Office refurbishment and office fit out are often used interchangeably because they are very similar.
The key difference is that an office fit out may be completed within a new building and an office refurbishment project can be considered to be undertaken in an existing building/space.
A fit out is the process of creating an interior workspace suitable for use, involving the implementation of electrical and mechanical systems, followed by internal decoration and furniture installation. There are different levels of fit out, depending on who is developing the space, the landlord or the tenant.
The term Category A (Cat A) fit out, generally involves fitting out the core of a building, to possibly include amenity areas, staircases, corridors, lobbies or reception areas.
The term Category B (Cat B) fit outs are more reflective of the works completed in the tenants or owners demise, possibly the office or workshops where the client will operate their business.
Whatever your level of office refurbishment requirement, Meridian Interiors have the knowledge and expertise to create an amazing workspace! Discover our office refurbishment services here or contact us today to find out more.
The WNSMK began as a response to urgent need when, during the severe winter of 2010, Milton Keynes Council became aware of a number of homeless people sleeping in bin stores, despite freezing temperatures and thick snow on the ground. At the time the YMCA was the only viable option for many, and with their beds full, a new solution was needed. A conference brought together people from various interested agencies to discuss the issue, and the concept of the Winter Night Shelter MK was born.
The WNSMK supports the homeless in Milton Keynes by providing them with a meal and temporary emergency accommodation. Furthermore, their dedicated welfare team helps people in countless ways, including helping people to access counselling services and medical care, providing access to laundry facilities and clean clothes, advocacy with authorities, the recovery of missing ID, support to apply for jobs and attend interviews, transport to work, help to find family and many other things. They do what is needed for the person who needs their help.
Last winter, the WNSMK closed their 8th season of operation, and it was their busiest season yet, a sign that unfortunately the need for the help they provide continues to grow. Between 1st November last year and 29th March 2019, the WNSMK was assisted by 931 volunteers and served around 11,900 meals over the cold months. The shelter accommodated 114 rough sleepers (99 men and 15 women), an increase of 65% from last year, with 66 of these successfully moved into longer-term accommodation. The WNSMK has also been able to assist their guests successfully in finding permanent employment opportunities.
How Meridian has helped
As a local business, we take pride in helping build the community, bringing opportunities and support wherever we can. Over the years, Meridian has helped WNSMK in different ways.
Late 2018, Meridian Interiors was procured to help fit out a meeting room, needing to be installed in the recently refurbished Unity Park Station in Central Milton Keynes. Alongside the volunteers, we worked tirelessly to provide an area that would be fit to help both the guests and the staff change their lives and others around them.
Take a look at the renovation below:
More recently, family member Carl Tucker completed a double header of both London and MK marathon’s back-to-back, raising almost £800 in support of the WNSMK. Running the London Marathon in just 2 hours 44 minutes. One week later running the MK marathon in just 3 hours 2 minutes. Phewwwww!
All in all, Meridian are constantly looking for ways to help the charities closest to our hearts, as we believe a supportive community, is a happy one!
Discover the secrets to mastering office services from office experts, Meridian Interiors Ltd.
Office services are a little bit like oxygen. You never truly realise how important they are until they are gone. When an essential facility like hot water or electricity is no longer available, this can cause significant disruption to the business and can even impact operations to the point where a closure is inevitable until resolution is achieved.
How can a business effectively deliver services in the office environment and ensure that they are available as needed?
The electrical systems in a business should have been set up during the construction phase and are generally fine for years without requiring changes or alterations. However regular testing is required of all electrical systems to ensure that these are safe and do not present any danger to workers in the office environment. PAT testing covers appliances – the more often an appliance is used the more frequently it should be tested.
Even though wireless technology is available, most businesses prefer to use the lightning speeds offered by gigabit ethernet cabling for their users. As loose lay cables are a prohibited hazard in most workplaces, this type of network is usually installed in structured housing throughout the office. All services including internet connectivity can be delivered through this network.
One of the advantages of modern networks is that the need for separate services has been rapidly diminished. Whilst some companies may still prefer to use PBX systems and conventional phone lines, an increasingly prevalent picture in the business arena is the office that entirely hosts all contact devices on the internet.
Voice Over IP (VOIP) systems have evolved over the past decade and no longer experience the drop offs and line distortion that have been a decisive factor that have prevented many businesses from implementing them in the past. Now with structured cabling present in most offices for the provision of essential network services, VOIP is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition.
One of the most significant changes in communication technology has been the arrival of the Smartphone and business tablet in recent times. Clients and customers often expect businesses to offer a public Wi-Fi service to allow them to connect their devices to a communication network.
There are significant dangers associated with delivering this service and it is vital that there is sufficient encryption or security between the publicly available network and the business network. Additionally, the public password should be changed daily to prevent unauthorised third parties using the network to acquire sensitive information from your visitors.
A Final Word
As with all business services the most important consideration for an office management company is establishing strong connections with local professionals who have the staff levels and abilities to consistently meet your service demands. If you are experiencing difficulties in finding the companies to fulfil these expectations then referrals from your existing clients can be a vital factor in locating a competent provider.
When the time comes to choose a fit-out partner for your office refurbishment or redevelopment project, where do you start?
If you type the words ‘design and fit-out company in the UK’ into Google, you’ll have more than 75 million hits in less than a second. So when the time comes to choose a fit-out partner for your own office refurbishment or redevelopment project, where do you start? Meridian Interiors has this advice for companies that want to source the right partner every time.
No matter how small or vast the project in question, when you are choosing a fit-out partner you will need to know the answers to three basic but critically important questions.
Can they do it?
The first thing to consider is the company’s capability and expertise. Are they big enough to cope? Do they have the resources in place to tackle any particular technical challenges?
Will they do it well?
If they could undertake your project in theory, how might they perform in practice? Do they have the financial and corporate integrity required to complete the job to the right standard, on time and to the agreed budget?
Can I trust them?
In the fit-out world, mistakes can be very costly. If the answers to 1) and 2) are yes and yes, it’s time to make doubly sure by conducting a thorough check of the company’s credentials.
Here’s our 7 Step Guide to check you’re choosing the right partner:
1. Define your requirements
Firstly – what do you want your fit-out partner to do?
Are you looking for a simple refurbishment of your current premises, or a complete redesign? Is this for a small office, or an entire building? Do you need more space? And if so, does that space need new plumbing, heating, air conditioning, telecoms, IT? Will you need to relocate a few people, or a few hundred people, while the work is carried out? Once you have outlined the scope of your project you are ready to begin the hunt for the perfect fit-out partner.
2. Draw up a long list
If you’re starting from scratch, with no past suppliers to call or recommendations to explore, a quick Internet search should identify dozens of fit-out companies that operate in your area, with websites testifying to their prowess and experience. Reviewing and comparing their claims and client lists will give you a rough idea whether they could tackle a project like yours. Given that you will need to investigate each one of the companies on your long list in more depth, it is worth limiting your efforts to five or six that seem to meet your requirements best – on paper at least.
Once you have a long list prepared, start looking into each company a bit further and reducing your selection to a shortlist of three or four that you would like to meet face to face.
3. Who and how will you decide
Before you call the different companies in to pitch for your business, decide up front how you will evaluate the contenders.
Consider every angle: There will be many different factors to consider, so your interview panel or steering committee must have the ability to question the presenters on all aspects of the job. This includes the design and planning, cost, timelines, IT requirements, infrastructure changes, project management and impact on the day-to-day business.
Seek independent advice: If you don’t have this level of know-how in house, you can recruit a third party consultant to help you with the selection process at the very least. (if your project is substantial you may be wise to employ an independent project manager too).
Don’t repent at leisure: Even if one company seems to stand out from the start, don’t rush in to making a commitment as an easy win may cause the successful party to become complacent. The harder a company has to work for your business, the more they will value it.
4. Assess their capability & expertise
Each design and fit out company will send along a ‘pitch team’ to bid for your business. The make-up of the team will tell you a lot about the company and how it’s organised. For example, most teams will include a project leader and a senior designer and possibly a pre-construction manager. Other various experts may also be brought along to explain how they would manage some of the technical aspects of the project (IT specialists, for example).
The team will work together to excite your interest with striking representations of their ideas for your project with 3D visuals. Don’t get swept away by the design alone – it’s your job to dig deeper and question how this work will be carried out, when, and by whom.
Make sure you ask:
Will the pitch team be involved in delivering the project?
Have they worked together on other projects?
Will they be using freelancers or third party consultants at any stage? If so, which services are they outsourcing? How will they manage the project to ensure your business remains a priority to everyone involved?
Are they pitching for other business that will run alongside your project? Could your timeframes be compromised as a result?
Can they guarantee the designs you are being shown are priced up and within your budget? Has anything been slipped in for added impact?
Will the people who have prepared the specification and costs you are seeing be the ones managing the build phase?
Would they arrange for you to see one of their finished projects, or one they have in progress?
5. Do the due diligence
Even the smallest office fit-out will involve a significant sum of money, so you need to be sure that your investment is safe. Don’t take their word for it. Check for yourself that any company you may choose to appoint is financially stable.
Is the company’s turnover and cash position sufficient to support the size of the project?
Are they creditworthy and able to negotiate better prices (for materials, furniture etc) on your behalf?
Do they have appropriate insurance in place and at a suitable level for your project (employers liability insurance, public and product liability insurance, contracts all risk insurance)?
Do they have an excellent health and safety record?
Do they manage all aspects of their work in an environmentally sustainable way – or will your own green credentials be at risk if you appoint them?
Would they agree to a financial penalty for late completion, or take out a performance bond as a guarantee that they will deliver on their promise?
6. Check credentials
Before you appoint any company to work for you, look and see how well they have done for others. The pitch presentation is likely to include photos of completed projects and quotes from happy customers. So ask to speak to a few of the customers directly. It’s the best way to find out what went on behind the scenes – and how they dealt with any challenges they faced along the way.
Names you recognise and repeat customers on their client list.
Any recognised accreditations that indicate how they manage their business, such as the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management mark, or BREEAM® eco-friendly compliance.
Construction or design related awards or nominations for past work.
7. Draw up the contract
You’ve chosen a fit-out company based on what you believe they can deliver. Now it’s time to put it in writing.
Make sure all of your expectations are documented along with the timeframes and costs involved.
Add in the penalties they can expect to incur should any aspect of the project fall below the stated standards.
Ask them to sign on the bottom line!
Great, you’ve just appointed your perfect fit-out partner and can look forward to the finished result.
An office refurbishment can seem like an expensive and daunting prospect but sometimes it is exactly what your company needs. If your office and reception areas are drab and tired then it is likely your staff will feel the same. This has a knock on effect on productivity and on the first impression of your business your visitors receive.
Your office and reception area are the first places that potential clients and customers see. If the area looks dull and uncared for then they are likely to be left with the impression that people don’t really care about the company or their customers.
In contrast if the reception and office areas are full of bright, funky furniture and well-designed then the client is much more likely to remember you in a positive way.
If the office refurbishment has been given lots of thought and consideration then you can guarantee your employees will be thankful. A new environment is likely to inspire them, creating new ideas and also boosting their productivity. If you don’t believe that an office refurbishment can boost productivity then just look at the research. The Abius Report was completed in 2009 and reported that 62% of US workers said they would be more motivated to work if their employers made an effort to improve their work surroundings.The facts back this up as the study references research that found enriched work environments improved productivity by around 15%. Involving your employees in the plans was another key in increasing productivity as productivity doubled to 30% when they were involved in refit plans. The British Council of Offices produced a similar study in which they found that office workers prefer funky fit outs rather than traditional ones with 60% of people stating a funky office refurbishment increased their productivity.
It is clearly important to consider an office refurbishment project from all angles and if the research is correct then get your staff involved. Ask what they would like to see or what would be helpful for them.
Specialised office refurbishment
An office refurbishment project may seem quite daunting which is why it is often best to entrust it to a specialised office refurbishment company such as Meridian Interiors. We would like to be able to take the project from its initial concept through to completion.
If you want to leave your office refurbishment project to the professionals contact Meridian Interiors and see your business productivity grow.
If you are considering an office refurbishment you are probably aware that they are no simple task to achieve successfully, and that there are many factors involving careful consideration and planning in order to optimise your redesigned space fully.
Many people try to complete their office refurbishment project independently but find the extra, unnecessary stress this results in is simply unmanageable. Not only does your company have to continue performing at its normal standard, you will have to juggle a horde of builders and suppliers too. If one of these becomes unreliable you are left with a broken chain and possible logistical headache, hindering the smooth transition to your new office space.
Many people worry that the cost of using an office refurbishment company , such as ourselves at Meridian Interiors, could be prohibitive but they are not as costly as you may imagine and will save you a great deal of time and stress. We will provide a complete package tailored to your needs from the start to the finish of your project, however ambitious it may be.
We have the knowledge
We will discuss both your current and future needs and will use this knowledge, combined with our expert experience, to plan your new office to perfection with our 3D design computer software. This ensures you are satisfied with the finished design before work commences to avoid any unexpected and expensive errors occurring.
As an office refurbishment company, we also have an inherent knowledge of the complicated local authority regulations and health and safety legislation meaning we can help you avoid any issues of legality.
Design through to completion
Once you have chosen the design of your office fit out to your exact specifications we will then be able to implement the design. As we will be managing the entire process we will use only the most trusted tradesman and suppliers, resulting in a far smoother process than if you hired a selection of tradesmen separately.
Another benefit of an office refurbishment company is that we will remain working alongside you until the work is fully completed, meaning you have support and a team available for any advice you may require throughout the process.
Here to help
If you are interested in using a full-service office refurbishment company who will support you from design concept to completion contact us here at Meridian Interiors.
Premises secured. Lease signed. But there’s no time to breathe a sigh of relief – not just yet at any rate.
Now there’s just the rest of it to think about. There’s the building work, the space to plan, the air conditioning and lighting to review, the IT requirements and cabling, the décor, the office furniture – not to mention how to manage ‘business as usual’ through the move…
So, here’s our office move checklist to help get you started or just to flag a few things you may not have considered.
Health and Safety
You may not have heard of the Construction and Design Management Regulations 2015 – the updated Regulations only came into force in April 2015 – but they require commercial clients to have a significant involvement in the running of any office refurbishment project, particularly the health & safety aspects.
And that’s why this is the first heading on our ‘office move checklist’… You’ll need to take into consideration these requirements at the very start of your project planning!
Whatever your size of project, you’ll need to decide how money, time and resources are to be allocated, to ensure that all aspects of health and safety are considered. The principal designer for the project will assist you in planning the safe design of the project.
You may not be planning significant changes to the workspace in your new building but, if you are, then building regulations, planning permission, even an asbestos R&D survey, may all be items on the list for consideration – and all will impact in terms of the timeline for your office relocation.
And, do you have a blue print of the layout of your new building? Or – if you are opting for a complete refurbishment – do you have a space plan or 3D visuals from your refurbishment/office design company to help you explore different layout options?
Think about the size of open-plan office space you’ll need. As well as the individual offices, meeting rooms, boardroom, reception and visitor space, there are the WC and kitchen facilities to consider… and you may want to allow for a more informal breakout space or office bistro/canteen area for your staff.
And plan for the future. You may not need those 5 or 10 extra desks right now, but you may need them in a year’s time.
Lighting and temperature control are two central considerations in any office design/refurbishment project – as they impact both energy efficiency as well as the comfort/wellbeing of office staff. Specific temperature and humidity guidelines have to be met for all offices and will, of course, be influenced by the direction the building faces and existing/planned windows.
Air conditioning, ventilation, thermal insulation, natural light versus LED lighting requirements – should all be considered.
You could also look for advice from an ISO 14001 contractor with a proven commitment to minimising environmental impact in any office refurbishment.
Have you allowed for a server room, or thought about the photocopier and printer locations? Are you intending video conferencing facilities in your executive suite, or touchscreen control systems for your meeting rooms?
And, of course, there are the power requirements of individual workstations and your reception counter – all requiring cabling for phones, PCs and monitors. As well as fire alarms and power sockets in any kitchen area.
Once you have all the elements tied down, you – or your contractor – can start to think about your network cabling needs , as well as floor boxes and power sockets.
Office relocations are a significant investment whatever your size of business, and you will want to make your mark on your new environment and effectively communicate your branding and brand ethos throughout the space.
Think about how best to ‘own your space’. Where can you use the company brand colours or logo? A manifestation on glass partitioning for your boardroom; company colours within your reception, visitor seating area or within wall graphics; and perhaps using your primary or secondary brand colour for office chairs or desk-mounted screens on the office desks?
Furniture and storage
Whether you are keeping your existing office furniture and storage, or buying new, you’ll want to plan the layout and future expansion needs to maximise every square foot within your new office. Office furniture may be added to or replaced – but it can also be designed bespoke to meet a specific need – bespoke standing meeting tables are increasingly popular for example.
But if you are buying new, think long term and get advice on the best mix of quality versus value. And check the warranty: ‘buy cheap and buy twice’ is an established adage for a reason.
The office move – your final checklist
Agreeing an office move date that will mean minimal disruption – done.
Planning meeting with removal company – done.
Planning meeting with IT/telecoms providers – done.
Existing office furniture/IT equipment labelled ready for move – done.
New office furniture ordered and scheduled for delivery to new premises – done.
Office refurbishment completed and snagging signed off – done.
Crates arrived for packing – done.
Staff briefed on the move – done.
Parking options checked and briefed to staff and removal company – done.
Your workspace can have a major impact on your ability to physically grow your business, on your employees’ motivation, as well as your ability to attract new customers. If this is the case, it might be time to seriously consider investing in an office refurbishment.
In addition, revamping your existing space, rather than going through the upheaval of an office relocation, is usually the most practical and cost-effective route.
So let’s think about WHY it might be time for an office refurbishment.
1. Efficient use of space
It may be that the space limitations of your existing office environment are starting to take their toll:
you have new staff joining but no desk space to accommodate them
you want to relocate a team but the cabling requirements are proving problematic
there’s a shortage of meeting areas to get together and discuss projects, creating disruption for other staff
or you lack a ‘breakout area’, so there’s nowhere to enjoy a lunch or coffee break.
Re-thinking the use of a space is one of the main benefits of an office refurbishment. And, if this stage is carried out effectively, your office environment will be structured to meet both the current and longer term needs of the business: enhancing communication, plus accommodating future changes in headcount and IT requirements.
2. Staff motivation
Numerous studies have shown that people are happier and more efficient if their workplace is aesthetically pleasing, brightly lit and well laid out. Today’s space planning and office design process takes this into consideration: factoring in the need to:
facilitate communication between colleagues by creating collaborative workspaces
provide suitable quiet areas for greater privacy – away from interruptions and for meetings
focus on employee wellbeing and creating breakout areas for ‘time out’.
This strong correlation between office design and business performance can also be tangibly measured: you may see fewer absences/lower levels of sick leave, improvements in company culture and interaction, greater productivity and improved financial health… let’s not forget that staff turnover is costly!
3. Competitive advantage
Standing out from the crowd in any sector is a great way to remain ‘front of mind’, win new business and keep your existing customers coming back.
So, just how ‘people friendly’ are your offices? And do they effectively convey your corporate values?
A tired and drab reception area, outdated bathroom or kitchen facilities or broken office chairs will not communicate a positive message about your business – either to your staff or to current / prospective customers.
But if the workspace clearly communicates your brand values, provides a welcoming reception area, a well-lit, collaborative environment for staff, modern bathroom and kitchen facilities, and office furniture designed with employee comfort in mind – that will go a long way in helping to keep you one step ahead of your competition!