Category: Refurbishment

The Essential Guide to Planning an Office Refurbishment

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.  

Case Study

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.

Updating Furniture

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.

Examples of office refurbishment

A nice example of a recently carried out office refurbishment involved transforming the old library, meeting room and tea point at our client’s premises in Cambridgeshire, into an open plan staff collaboration and break-out space.

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.

How to Choose the Right Design and Fit Out Partner

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.

Find out:

  • 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.

Look for:

  • 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.

Relocation, Relocation: Your Office Move Checklist

Office Relocation

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.

Building regs

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.

Space planning

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.

Space Planning

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency

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.

IT requirements

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 Branding

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.
  • Crates packed – done.
  • Office move.
  • Now you can breathe a sigh of relief!

Office Refurbishment: 3 Reasons it Might be Time to Take Action

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.

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!

Your Office Reception Area Makes a Statement

Your office reception area makes a statement about your company. Meridian Interiors can help make sure it’s a lasting one.

The reception area is your customers first impression of your business and provides you the perfect opportunity to convey the image that you want visitors to have and gives you the chance to make a strong lasting first impression. Having a professional, clean and tidy reception area will inspire confidence in those who come into your building and reflect much better than a tired looking office reception area.

office reception area

Your office reception area makes a statement about your company. Meridian Interiors Ltd can help make sure it’s a lasting one.

The reception area is your customers first impression of your business and provides you the perfect opportunity to convey the image that you want visitors to have and gives you the chance to make a strong lasting first impression. Having a professional, clean and tidy reception area will inspire confidence in those who come into your building.

Depending on what kind of impression you are aiming to achieve will depend on the style of your reception area, but it should reflect the principles of your company. Here at Meridian Interiors Ltd, we understand how important your office reception area is and the statement it makes about your company. We provide a complete and comprehensive service to design and create by expanding or upgrading your workplace environment, from knowing the reception furniture your business needs for security issues or to accommodate accessibility to branding your office reception area with company colours and logo branded carpets. We make sure we can utilise your office reception area to it’s best potential just like we have for Thrive Homes Ltd. Click here to read case study….

From the initial first stages of contact, we will survey your current office reception area  and work with you to determine what you need from your space and how to get the best use to create that impact appropriate to your company’s individual office requirements and budget. At Meridian Interiors Ltd we also have an in house designer that can turn your office reception area concept into a stunning visuals using our design software , so you can see how your space will be transformed.

Equally, if you are looking for high quality and value for money contemporary office furniture, our sister company Meridian Office Furniture can provide modern and stylish office furniture backed by a 10 Year Guarantee to offer a complete transformation into a fully functional, welcoming office reception area.

Our initial discussions are aimed at understanding your needs. We know that thorough and detailed planning, pays dividends, whatever the size project. If you would like a no obligation consultation or just more of an idea of our services, please visit www.meridian-interiors.co.uk.

Office Fit Out Companies Bring Your Ideas to Life

Many people think when employing office fit out companies to refurbish their new or existing offices, that they are limited to the designs on show in the office fit out companies portfolio. However, this is simply not the case!

Meridian Interiors have your visions at heart, and are committed to creating the office look envisioned by you. This means that you can get the designs that you want, with as little compromise as possible.

Office fit out companies help you stand out

Designing your bespoke office means you can stand out above the rest by creating your own individual image. This is essential in competitive markets as it makes your company memorable, something which is evidently important for attracting customers/clients. For existing customers/clients, standing out in the crowd allows you to stay in the forefront of their mind – making them more likely to continue business with you.

bespoke office fit out companies

Reflecting values

Another important thing to remember when trying to attract and maintain customers/clients, is how your image reflects your company values. Creative ideas expressed in bespoke offices allow you to show your company image, and convey what it is you stand for to your customers/clients. The way you look can be incredibly important to potential customers/clients when choosing which company to opt for as they will likely make judgements and choices based on whether your image reflects their needs and desires. Additionally, having an office which reflects your company as a whole is important as a consistent image makes your company look more professional.

Whether you want to adapt designs already brought to life by office fit out companies, or whether you want to use your own ideas – your needs come out on top. Office fit out companies can create designs in all different kinds of shapes, sizes and colours. With a huge array of options in regards to office partitioning, lighting, seating, carpets and paints there’s a virtually unlimited number of combinations to create your own bespoke idea.

Why not look at previous fit outs for ideas and use them to inspire your own individual designs? Not only will this provide you with inspiration but it will also give you a good idea of what works best in real life offices.

For more information on what office fit out companies can do for your bespoke ideas please contact Meridian Interiors.