Published on: 08 December 2023

Updated on: 08 December 2023

Read time: 4 minutes

Adrian Batts

Commercial Director

Max Parsons

Project Director

If you're planning an office fit out, one of the most common questions you may ask is “how long does an office fit out take?”

From initial concept to completion, office fit outs are multi-step, intricate projects involving strategy, design, approvals, project management and construction. To set realistic expectations, here is an overview of the typical office fit out timeline.

What is an office fit out?

An office fit out refers to the process of transforming a workspace into a functional business environment tailored to a company's needs. This may involve an office refurbishment to update an existing space or an office relocation to outfit a new location.

The key purpose of a fit out is to install design features that enhance aesthetics and functionality to the client's vision. This includes elements like flooring, lighting, walls, furniture and goals. Fit outs are categorised as Cat A, Cat A Plus or Cat B. Learn more about the differences between CAT A and Cat B fit outs.

Ultimately, an office fit out allows a business to shape raw office space into their ideal working environment. It transforms an empty shell into a space reflecting corporate identity and optimised for employee productivity.

What considerations should be made?

While each office fit out is unique, overseeing over 1,200 projects has taught us universal best practices. An optimised timeline balances speed and quality, guided by smart planning, open communication, and experienced project management.

Assessing priorities upfront steers efficient schedules. Defining must-have features versus nice-to-have finishes prevents costly delays. Understanding building conditions and potential challenges also helps estimate durations more precisely.

Additionally, choosing the right office fit out company is paramount. An organised, responsive partner like Office Principles focused on client needs is indispensable for a successful project.

The typical office fit out timeline

You can expect an office fit out to take 8-14 weeks for standard renovations up to 10,000 sq. ft., with larger projects taking up to 6 months in order to facilitate structural works and elements. Below we’ve broken down the high-level phases that comprise these timespans.

How long does an office fit out take

1. Discovery: 4-6 Weeks

Thorough planning and briefing ensure your office fit out and fulfils your vision and business objectives. This entails aligning leadership, conducting workplace consultancy, defining requirements, and understanding budgets.

2. Design Development: 2-4 Weeks

Next, your office interior design partner will create initial layouts (known as ‘test fits’) exploring how your new office could look and function with CGI's and virtual walkthroughs. You’ll provide feedback to refine the concepts until landing on a direction.

3. Design Documentation & Approvals: 4-6 Weeks

Now it’s time to develop the specifics - spatial plans, finishes schedules, furniture, lighting plans, and technical drawings. Multiple reviews fine-tune the comprehensive design package for pricing, procurement and installation.

4. Consents & Approvals: 2-14 Weeks

While design progresses, necessary permissions from landlords, council, consultants must be secured. This administrative stage requires proactive planning as approvals can take weeks or months depending on buildings, jurisdictions and applications.

5. Preliminary Works: 1-2 Weeks

With licences in place, preliminary works ready the site for fit out - protecting premises, establishing access routes, enabling worker welfare. Duration correlates to scope.

6. Strip Out: 1-2 Weeks

Strip out removes redundant elements like previous fit out components, wiring or walls not needed. Again scope and safely removing waste impact timeframes.

7. Mechanical & Electrical: 6-10 Weeks

Behind-the-scenes but crucial M&E works update lighting, power supply, IT/AV systems, HVAC and other infrastructure to support new workspace. The extent of integration and complexity can lengthen this stage.

8. Fit Out Works: 5-8 Weeks

Physical fit out works partition spaces, install ceilings/doors, decorate and integrate design components. Concurrent enabling works and approvals allow fit out to start promptly. Area and customisation influence speed.

9. Furniture Installation: 1 Week

The final physical layer, office furniture - from desks to booths to storage - brings the office to life. Lead times for popular or customised items can dictate delivery schedules.

10. Commissioning & Handover: 1 Week

Finally, inspections check fittings operate properly, snags are addressed and clients receive handover packages. User guides and orientation sessions set occupants up for an efficient transition.

A successful office fit out is a meticulous alignment of vision, design, project management, and client needs. While every business and building has unique considerations, our experience creating workspaces provides clients invaluable guidance with navigating the process. We collaborate to balance expediency with quality, setting realistic schedules that actualise inspired spaces on time and on budget.

Adrian Batts

Commercial Director

While variables like size and building constraints make predicting exact office fit out duration difficult, the above outlines average fit out timelines. As experienced designers and fit out specialists, Office Principles use this expertise to guide clients through the process smoothly.

Need help planning your office fit out? Reach out to our team of experts at Office Principles. We’ll collaboratively transform your workspace vision into an inspired reality.

Meet the Authors

Adrian Batts

Commercial Director

With over two decades experience of the industry, working across a diverse mix of projects in a full range of roles, Adrian has a unique understanding of office fit out methodology; the strategic planning of a project and its design and cost-planning. He is passionate about formulating the best workplace strategies for all clients, applying the core principals of change management to provide positive outcomes for the end-user.

Max Parsons

Project Director

Responsible for the day-to-day management of a project, Max provides the interface between the internal teams, addressing the client’s needs to make sure they are always considered and that objectives and standards are consistently met.

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