Establishing an office, for many businesses, is an exciting, yet daunting venture. As a commercial office design and fitout professional, Bellfort is the expert at guiding you through the maze of layers that every fitout requires.
To make life easier, and to assist in the path of achieving the perfect commercial office design for your business, we have put together a series of processes that can be followed as a guideline. Please keep in mind however that every office space you look at will come with its own challenges of space, height and accessibility. That’s why we believe it’s highly important that you seek advice from professionals before you get started.
Is the new space a good fit for your business?
Firstly, the tenancy that you want your business to occupy needs to fit your requirements and allow for some flexibility, in your favour. Unless you definitely know that you will never grow your business from what it currently is, don’t scrimp on the size of the tenancy you are looking at. During the planning phase, space efficiencies can always be achieved, however existing conditions within the tenancy may prevent growth or contraction.
Some tenancies may already be partitioned and require little work or, some may be totally empty and require building works to create the spaces you need. In either case, dollars will still need to be spent on modifications, cabling infrastructure or a new build. You may like to read Your Business Footprint for further information. Bellfort does offer a property evaluation service which helps all prospective tenants see their business within a selected tenancy. We offer this complimentary service as we appreciate it is a vital stage for your business.
Get the brief right
Bellfort prides itself on getting the brief right the first time. Given that the information taken in the brief forms the foundation for all concepts and planning, this vital element cannot be overlooked.
A brief will determine what dedicated spaces, such as meeting rooms, work spaces and functionality, you need within your commercial office design. Some basic information that should be established for the brief includes:
- staff numbers
- communication between staff and working groups
- potential expansion or reduction
- storage requirements
- interactive spaces – meeting rooms, breakout and collaboration areas
- client areas
- look and feel
A brief will also help establish your existing and future storage requirements and the first impression you wish to give anyone walking into the office.
While taking the time to establish your requirements may take you away from other tasks, make sure you do value the time and work through everything with your fitout specialist.
And, if you enlist Bellfort to help with your office design and fitout, we will actually provide you with a briefing document which will assist in getting your business brief in order.
From concept to documentation
Once the brief has been sorted, we’ll return with a concept plan and supporting information which will help you understand where the concept is taking you. Often, this will involve talking through a floor plan and ensuring that the spaces allocated to certain areas are sufficient. This concept stage may also touch on the style and feel of your office which will help us in compiling a budget.
It is vitally important that you ask for clarification if anything is not making sense. As budgets start to take shape during the concept stage, there is still time to refine and alter the intended design to fit the budget you have allocated to the project. Further information you may like to read on this subject is in our “Let’s talk about the B word” blog.
When concepts are approved, the documentation process can begin. Timing for this stage will vary according to the size of your project and the approvals required. A fully documented project actually reads like a book and allows each individual trade on site to read the chapters relevant to them. This is also the time when finishes, fixtures and decorations should be established as this information needs to be referenced within your documentation.
No commercial office design and fitout can be completed without obtaining relevant approvals from the landlord and council. Depending on what purpose your tenancy may have been occupied as previously or the classification of the building, you may need to apply for planning approval. This can add unforeseen time and dollars to your project, so always check with your agent before committing to the actual space.
If planning approval is not required, you will still need to adhere to landlord requirements and obtain a building licence from the local council if any new works are to be carried out on site. Bellfort has a streamlined process for all commercial fitout approvals and with the use of an independent building certifier, the process is quite straight forward. Lodgement of a building licence with any council requires up to ten working days so always ensure you factor this timing into your deadline. Further information regarding approvals and building licences can be obtained by Building Commission – Information on obtaining a builidng permit.
Construction of your commercial office design expectations
As with all design processes, Bellfort takes special care in scheduling all building and associated works required on site so that your commercial office design can be created in a timely and cost effective manner. From protecting all existing surfaces within your tenancy to accurate setting out, our on-site team treats the transformation of your space with care and integrity.
As a fitout is multi-layered with numerous trades required on site, we provide all of our clients with a detailed programme so that they understand what will be happening, and when. We are also keen to encourage site visits and meetings to ensure you are kept up to date at all times. Having you attend site meetings allows us to talk you through any issues that arise on site and keeps you fully informed of budget and timing.
During construction, some of the trades you will see are partitioners, fixers, cabinetmakers, electricians, mechanical installers, IT specialists, flooring, painters, joiners, furniture suppliers, plumbers and fire technicians. And this list will grow if you have specific requirements for your fitout.
As mentioned already, we always encourage our clients to meet with us during the construction phase and we do keep all stakeholders involved, up to date. Communication is a major key to ensuring the only surprises that occur throughout the life of the project are the good ones. All of our documentation, including drawings, sketches and associated schedules are aimed at supplying our clients with an accurate impression of the final result.
Depending on the project size and complexity, we can also provide rendered, computer generated visuals of the intended interior space. This not only helps you discover and confirm exactly what you want, it also helps our on-site trades to understand what they are working towards.
At Bellfort, we always aim for a snag-free handover. Upon completion of a project, we walk through the tenancy with you and ensure that everything is as expected. Given the details to get the project to completion have been discussed, this meeting is always a really pleasant one for everyone involved. At this stage, we also provide you with a handover manual which includes warranty and maintenance information as well as a copy of the completed documentation package.
Bellfort are commercial office design and fitout specialists. All you need do is contact us and arrange a time for a free consultation with our team. You will be in safe hands and we look forward to working with you to create your new commercial office interior.