By Tom Parsons

Blog

26 April 2023

The process of designing and constructing an office space, tailored to meet the specific needs of an organization, can generate significant costs.

From creating design plans and selecting the necessary materials to project managing and executing the construction work, there’s a lot to be considered when it comes to office fit-out.

Costs can vary widely depending on a range of factors such as the size of the space, the level of customization required, the time involved and the location of the office.

According to recent research conducted by commercial agents, Knight Frank, the average cost of a traditional office fit-out in the UK is around £60 per square foot. However, this figure can vary widely depending on the specific requirements of each project and its address. For example, a basic office fit-out may cost as little as £30 per square foot, while a high-end fit-out, with bespoke features and high-quality finishes, can cost upwards of £150 per square foot.

Location

One of the main factors that affects the cost of an office fit-out is location.

London has the highest costs, on average, attached to a commercial fit-out, due to higher labour and material costs and an overall far higher demand for premium office spaces. The capital is then followed by some of the other major UK cities, such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

There’s also an identifiable North South divide, with the average cost of an office fit-out around London coming in at around £90 per square foot, compared to around £45 per square foot in the North of England.

Place is crucial when it comes to the disparity of costs.

London is representative of the fluidity of the market as the changes in the use of space, post-Pandemic, are taken into account. An article earlier this year in The Economist detailed how richer cities across the globe, (citing New York, Hong Kong and Paris besides London) are investing more rather than less in office space, despite costs and the economy, in a bid to attract tenants and workers back in, with high-end luxury spaces and green buildings topping the trends.

Custom fit

This brings us to features, furnishings and materials…

Another factor that affects the cost of an office fit-out is the level of customization required. Basic office fit-outs typically involve simple design features and regular furnishings, such as modular workstations and standard lighting fixtures.

A high-end fit-out, designed to compete and stand out, garnering maximum attention, will undoubtedly require bespoke design features and high-quality materials, such as custom-built furniture and premium flooring options.

These customized features can have a huge impact on the cost of an office fit-out, taking budgets to a whole new level.

Place is crucial when it comes to the disparity of costs.

Size matters

The size of the office space is another key factor in determining the cost of any fit-out.

Larger office spaces equate to more materials and extra labour, not to mention the time they take to complete, which will, most definitely, increase the overall cost of the project.

However, it’s also worth considering that larger office spaces can benefit from economies of scale as these bigger projects can usually negotiate better pricing on materials and labour, which means they work out cheaper per square foot.

It's in the detail

We live in an age of connectivity and one of the most crucial aspects to any office environment is its technology.

The level of integrated technology required, the need for specialized equipment and the complexity of the design can have a major aspect on costings. Office space that requires sophisticated, high level technology integration will have to allow for higher costs.

Data centres and call centres are among those workplaces that may require specialized equipment and custom design features, which will increase the overall cost of the fit-out. As more people adopt hybrid working styles, the need to stay connected is most important; technology is key.

And going forward

In addition to the upfront costs of an office fit-out, businesses have to consider the ongoing maintenance and operating costs.

High-end finishes and customized features may require more maintenance and upkeep than standard materials and features. Similarly, technology integration is likely to require ongoing IT support and maintenance, which should be factored in to overall costs.

Many companies are shifting towards greener buildings and eco-friendly facilities provision as part of a bid to consider long-term running costs, as well as corporate ethics and sustainability – environmentally-friendly solutions can make good financial sense and are always worth giving due consideration.

Finally…

We know that the cost of an office fit-out in the UK can vary widely depending on a range of factors, including location, square footage, level of customization, and the complexity of the design.

While the cost of a basic office fit-out can be relatively low, high-end fit-outs, with bespoke features and high-quality finishes, can be far more expensive. Businesses, therefore, should carefully consider the costs and benefits of an office fit-out before making a decision and be sure to take into account upfront costs, along with ongoing maintenance and operating costs.

However, despite the potentially high costs associated with an office fit-out, many businesses see the value in investing in a customized and well-designed office space that, when planned properly, will have maximum appeal.

A new working environment can improve employee productivity and well-being, enhance the company's brand image, and generate a more positive, happier work environment. It can also provide a competitive advantage by attracting and retaining top talent and securing status as a ‘go to’ destination.

There’s a lot to be achieved by making this investment.

Meet the Author

Tom Parsons

Sales Director

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