A-Z of the future workplace:


Tom Parsons:
Project Director


SKA is often a word you will hear around the industry, sometimes associated with the likes of BREEAM and LEED, which are other methods of measuring how sustainable your project is.

SKA predominantly focuses on the internal components which are used within your fit-out project. Whereas the likes of BREEAM will look more at the building structure and infrastructure.  If you are taking a lease in a multi tenanted building, you will find you have limited opportunity / influence over a lot of these factors.

SKA was made available to every company doing a fit-out project as it means they can have the control and the ability to measure and improve the sustainability of their project.

At the end of a project you will receive a certificate detailing whether your company received either a gold, silver, or bronze rating on your project.

Flexible Working / Agile Working

Flexible working and agile working commonly get mistaken for being the same thing.

Flexible working is about what happens in the wider part of your contract with your employer, including whether you are allowed to work from home, have flexible hours, or work a 9 day fortnight etc.

Agile working on the other hand, is all about what happens in the office space. Being able to work ‘agile’, means to be able to use numerous work settings throughout the day to allow you to get your tasks done to the best of your ability. For example, if you want to write a report you may choose a focus booth, for a team meeting you may find a collaborative open plan working environment, perhaps with scribble walls. It’s about picking the right place for different tasks throughout the day and not occupying a particular desk all day.


Test-fits are something that come into every project, typically towards the end of your property selection process. Most clients have a property agent who they have been working with, who will go out and review the market in regards to price per sq ft, parking ratios etc. As you begin to shortlist, it becomes quite a tough decision about which property is the best decision for you. This is when test fits come in.

Test fits take the brief at high level and plot this onto a drawing to see how good the flow of the building is. At this point we would check the fit factor.

High fit factor – rectangle building with no columns, and light all the way around

Low fit factor – odd shaped with columns, and restricted lighting.

It’s amazing the way that one building when displayed on a drawing will display itself much better than another building. This just provides a much more holistic view for better decision making rather than focusing on property related matters such as cost per sq ft.

Alongside test fits we can produce financial forecasts on what it may cost you to fit out the space, looking at electrical and mechanical issues.

Mark Ennis:
Technical Manager


A piece of popular jargon commonly heard in the construction industry is HVAC, otherwise known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. There is currently no requirement in the Building Regulations Act to look at heating and cooling of your premises under the Health and Safety Law for employees at work. There is however a specific piece of legislation relating to ventilation in the building, set at a number of air changes per person per second.


LOI stands for a letter of intent / instruction. Many people think it is referring to the whole project however it’s not and can be used in three ways:

  1. To cover the whole project, to enable an early start
  2. It can be set to a specific set of tasks e.g. design, construction etc.
  3. To a set value

Often an LOI is enabled to allow the construction to start early whist teams are still finalising the design.


AHU – air handling unit, sits externally on the roof of the building and brings in tempered fresh air to the building for the purposes of ventilation

FCU - Fan Coil Unit, which is an internal unit that takes either air or water and turns it into either heating or cooling for the purposes of your air conditioning.


Jo Jenkinson:
Design Director

Block or Bubble Plan

A block plan is basic plan which identifies the zones or department locations on a drawing and form the basis of the layout which can help to inform the brief. These plans are a useful way of creating and organising different areas on a plan. They are quick to do and help to gauge the connection of spaces and their purpose.


Often referred to as a General Arrangement or space plan layout, a crucial element of the design process. It forms the basis of the detailed drawing pack for construction. One is the main elements to a GA is the circulation route which is vital for the flow and connection of spaces, it creates the spine of all activity and should be carefully considered. Clear paths will enable easy navigation for wayfinding and orientation.


Cyril Parsons
Managing Director


A SUS is a space utilisation study, otherwise known as a space audit or a workplace study.

Its value is to give management the tools and the evidence about the way that an organisation is using its space. This includes desks, offices, meeting rooms, breakout areas, every area other than the toilets, showers and comms room.

We all need to sweat our assets and that also applies to office space. Our auditors will attend your office space, normally for the working day over a two-week period. They analyze what is going on at every desk and within every space in your office. This gives management the tools and the evidence to make hard decisions about the way that they use their office space to the maximum efficiency. Better space utilization = better staff productivity and lower costs, so is positive all round.

Cat A VS Cat B Fit Out

A lot of people get confused between the two, and that's not surprising. The Cat A fit out, sometimes called the developer or landlord fit out. It gives the incoming tenant the basic level of fit out which includes usually a suspended ceiling with some lighting, HVAC, and basic wall and floor finishes. A Cat A fit out usually costs between £30 - £50 per sq. ft.

Cat B on the other hand is sometimes called the client or tenant fit out. It includes items such as kitchens, window blinds, IT cabling, security systems and furniture. The typical cost for a Cat B fit out is £40 - £80 per sq. ft.

We hope you have found these jargon busters helpful. When working with clients we like to ensure that they have an understanding of what is involved throughout the project, allowing them to feel at ease and be able to trust us. If you have any queries as to what a particular section of a project involves, get in touch today.