office-fitout-points

Points To Consider With An Office Fitout

Office fitouts are an opportunity to establish your business and lay down foundations for your future. Although it’s one thing to say “we’re building an office”, it’s another matter actually doing it. Before you sit down with your contractor, think about these points to save time in discussion.

Space

Too much of it means higher rent. Too little of it means employees will feel shut in. Open-plan office spaces are on the rise as opposed to cubicles and is shown to boost efficiency and a positive atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to be specific about how many square meters you want.

Identity

Your office is the physical form of how you want to present your brand to clients. Impressions last long after they leave. Having brand colours through the office is a good place to start, but using dark colours isn’t recommended. If they’re in your brand’s logo and want to integrate that, use the colours sparingly.

Designers recommend colours that reflect light and promote focus, like warm yellows or offer a sense of calm, like pale blues. “Focusing” colours are meant to be used sparingly in offices. Painting a whole wall red will make employees more agitated than focused. Schemes like this are important to decide on early in the fitout.

Light

Use of natural light is a great way to put workers at ease. People naturally are attracted to the outdoors and shutting them away inside does nobody any favours. Companies organising an office fitout are more conscious of where the best “real estate” is in their space. Rooms with windows are great for meetings because the view will give ambience. Offices with views are still a status symbol and are much coveted.

There’s also the issue of what types of lights to put where. One type of light doesn’t cut it in an office. Brighter types are used in work areas for better focus whereas lower fluorescent lights are fitted in hallways.

Furniture

There might not be much in the budget to splurge on new furniture. A more cost effective and waste-saving option is restoring what you already have. This is a significant saving you can spend elsewhere.

If you do have to buy new fittings, consider multi-purpose items. This includes desks with drawers. Employees can have files in their own work area and in return the general office gets more floor space.

Job Roles on a Commercial Build

Every commercial building project will have various people involved. They seem to be doing similar things but their jobs are quite different, and this leads to some confusion. Example; “aren’t an architect and a builder the same thing?”. No, they’re not. Here is a breakdown on the job titles so that you know who is in charge of what on site.

 

Commercial Builder

A commercial builder or a firm has the resources to get the project off the blueprint and into real life. They have a network of subcontractors like electricians and plumbers on call to get the technical work and heavy lifting done. Builders do as their job title suggests and are seen both on the building site and behind a desk. They have technical knowledge about building codes, building laws as well as how to submit tenders and contracts. Commercial builders work directly with their clients and co-ordinate their sub-contractors to get the work done properly and on time.

Foreperson

On site, foremen are the principals of the schoolyard. They make sure that the rules are being followed on site and that the quality of work is up to standard. Foremen also work as a liaison between the seniors on the project and the trades on site. They’ll give reports to the builder or project manager or get them on the phone when the trades have a question.

Architect

Builders are more about the inside and the technical. Architects work with the outside and how the building appears. They design buildings to a brief depending on what the client wants and make design changes accordingly. They are more involved with the project during the initial planning stages and not seen on site unless called.

Engineer

A structural engineer’s job is vital during the planning stage. They make sure the commercial building will stand for a long time and not collapse because of poor load-bearing. Building services engineering has several subsections. Environmental engineers make sure a project is “green” and sustainable. Electrical engineers work in the “bones” of the project, designing the electrical systems for the building.

Building Trends in Australia

The Australian building industry is undergoing a few key trends that will shape construction in the years ahead.

The rise in pre-fab construction

Pre-fabricated construction allows builders to reduce costs and the risk of adverse weather, which can ruin attempts to build on site. Controlled offsite construction also allows for a more accurate build.

New Materials

New materials such as adapted sheet metal allow builders to lower costs and offer a higher quality finish.

Off-site production allows these materials to be combined in more complex ways to reduce costs.

The death of large IT zones

As businesses move their IT functions to ‘the cloud’ less space will be needed in-office for data centres. Recent research from IT analysts, Gartner Inc estimated that half of all businesses will move the cloud by 2017.

Energy efficiency

The National Construction Code outlines energy efficiency guidelines that seek to create greener buildings. Builders and designers will pay increasing attention to lay out, orientation, natural lighting, insulation and heating systems in order to improve energy efficiency and meet the requirements of the code.

Despite the move towards greener building, Australia is starting to lag behind the rest of the world. Recent research from World Green Building Trends found that in markets like the US, UK, Germany and Poland, more than 60 percent of projects are certified as green construction. In Australia, that figure is well below the global average of 24%. The leaders in the field are from the developing world including Brazil, China, Saudia Arabia, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Chile.

Architect or custom builder – who should you speak with first?

For a successful building project, you need to use draw on expert design and construction.

Traditionally, architects were stereotyped as design experts with their head in the clouds when it comes to material and labour costs. Builders meanwhile, were seen as workhorses without the artistry to produce to produce something truly unique.

This is a limited view of both professions and not a reflection of building in 2016.

By working with an experienced custom builder, you are dealing with an expert who will produce a unique building that matches your needs and budget. A draftsperson working in their team provides design expertise and where an even higher level of artistry is needed for the property, they work with a trusted architectural partner. As an experienced builder, they understand the costs and practicalities of bringing your plans to life and so represent an excellent starting point for your building project.

Your builder’s job is to oversee the project and bring together building, architectural and interior design expertise.

If you’re seeking to win an architectural or design award, it makes sense to centre your construction process around an architect. If you’re seeking to create a property that is customized to the needs of your business and looks great, start your conversation with a custom builder.

Whoever you choose to work with though, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you get the best possible service. Be clear on what it is you’re trying to create and ask your prospective builder or architect to justify how they can deliver it. What are the credentials of their team in building, architecture and interior design and how are they right for your project?

Become a savvy customer

Before hiring a builder, make sure you ask them the following questions. They can be the difference between a job well done and a financial disaster.

  1. Do you have a license?

First and foremost you need to ensure you’re working with a licensed builder to ensure the quality of their work.

Ask your builder for their license number and search for them (by name or license number) at the following link if you’re in Queensland:

http://www.onlineservices.qbcc.qld.gov.au/OnlineLicenceSearch/VisualElements/SearchBSALicenseeContent.aspx

Other states have their own services where you can do this.

  1. Are you insured?

Verify that your builder has up to date Home Indemnity insurance. This will protect you in case they become insolvent, abandon the job or fall ill and become unable to complete it.

  1. How long is the property maintenance period?

Find out how long the builder will be available to maintain the property and address any issues. This should be for anywhere between 6 and 18 months.

  1. Who will be supervising construction?

The onsite supervisor is responsible for ensuring quality work is done each day. Find out about their credentials and performance history so that you know your project is in good hands.

  1. Can we see your recent work and talk to some referees?

Despite all the background checks you do, the proof is in the pudding. Have a look at the type of work your prospective builder has done and speak to the people who’ve dealt with them before. Find out what they did well and not so well so you’re better prepared for your relationship with them.

  1. Who are your contractors?

Contractors such as plumbers, electricians and tilers are crucial for the safety of your property and its finish and aesthetic appeal. Find out who they are and their track record to ensure the job will be done well.

Asking the above questions will ensure you choose the right builder and let them know that you are rightfully demanding about quality.