Both internally and externally, there are factors that will affect how much your office fit-out ends up costing. Being aware of these factors from the outset of a fit-out project can help you manage and prepare for the journey ahead as many of these may or may not be within your control.
The typical internal factors that we generally see that end up affecting office fit-out costs are:
- Raised floors
- The age of the building
- Mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems
- The specification
External factors are less likely to be within your control. Whilst you may be able to have some influence as to how much these factors affect your fit out costs, there are also others that you may not be able to.
Economy and the effect on office-fit out
Take the economy as an example, the pandemic has wreaked havoc throughout the world, causing instability and confusion. Due to this, everyone is much more careful on how they spend their money and starting jobs is harder than before. Contractors’ appetite for risk has reduced significantly, after spending months being pulled on and off sites, due to the several lockdowns in the UK. This makes finding willing contractors difficult and therefore could impact the fit-out costs, as it's likely they'll have to be paid more.
Shift in working trends and the effect on office fit-out
On the contrary, the pandemic has brought around a shift in working trends - as flexible working grows in popularity, due to the necessity of working from home, this could also affect your fit-out costs. Rather than filling your office with standard desking, maybe add features that will inspire your employees to come into work. Popular options are a canteen, breakout areas and booths. By adding a variety of working methods and socialising spaces, you can maximise your office space whilst either encouraging employees to work in office or making it more suited to the flexible working method. This can have an incredible impact on your staff, as it shows them that you care about their wellbeing and can help boost their productivity whilst having a smart space to be able to show off to clients and prospective customers. This then increases value for money, because not only are your staff happy and enjoy working for your company, but they’ll be willing to put in the hours to help your business go from strength to strength, and you could find that attracting and retaining talent is much easier.
National material shortage as a key factor that affects office fit-out cost
Another knock-on effect from the pandemic however, is the national material shortage. Unfortunately, this will very likely impact your costs as there is either a shortage or the materials are rising in price.
This includes the following:
- Suspended ceilings
- Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)
All these are materials that may need to be used in an office fit-out. However, as life adapts to the 'new normal', it is likely that this will slow down, and re-adjust to how it was pre-pandemic.
You may ask why there is a building materials shortage? Good question - as the first lockdown led to a slowdown in the production of materials from some factories in the EU, having a knock-on effect to supply chains ever since. A shortage of more than 100,00 lorry drivers in the UK, out of a total 600,000 (https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/news/construction-materials-shortage) has led to transportation delays.
After-effects from Brexit remain, as roughly 60% of imported materials used in UK construction projects come from the EU, and labour vacancies peaked between July and September.
Whilst there are many different factors that affect the costs of an office fit-out, it is also important to analyse the benefits of getting an office fit-out, despite the potential increase in costs. Whilst in the short-term, economic factors may be out of your control however, the shifts in working trends work in your favour and can be used to give your office a competitive advantage. Not only will this impress the clients, but will help attract and retain talent whilst keeping a high morale in the workplace and a high employee well-being.
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