Using a design and construct company vs managing an architect and contractors

April 29, 2022
When the time comes to move or upgrade your office space, there are a few different approaches. You can engage an architect and project manage the build yourself. Alternatively, you can engage a design and construct company to manage and oversee the entire office fitout for you. What's the best approach for you?

The right answer will depend on your objectives, experience, availability, contacts and expertise.

Benefits of managing your own office fitout 

If you have building project management experience and solid trade contacts, then you may choose to work directly with a specialised office architect and then run the construction project yourself to save money on project management fees.

Selecting the architect and engaging trades individually gives you the freedom to choose your preferred suppliers if you have close trade relationships. You will also have the opportunity to assess and gather multiple quotes from various contractors and choose the one that best suits your requirements. 

Large corporate companies – for example with global brands and offices – may select to take the architect route to oversee an overall brand consistency and aesthetic across multiple offices

If taking responsibility for every aspect of the build is what you’re after, this approach puts you in complete control. Much like an owner-builder managing construction of a residential home, there are a lot of moving parts to be coordinated and scheduled in the required order.

After the design and strategy has been completed with an architect, the build will involve separate contractors for areas including building, structural engineering, plumbing, joinery, flooring, electricity, cabling, technology, ceilings, interior design, painting, lighting and more.

Outside of the build you’ll also need to consider local council requirements and building regulations such as Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia. You will also need to submit detailed construction plans and arrange CBD building access and delivery schedules for the trades. As a guide, we’ve outlined the six main stages involved in the fitout process with estimates on how long they take. 

Managing the entire project yourself is no small undertaking and needs to be balanced against the opportunity cost of being taken out of your core business. If things don’t go as planned, any potential savings in fees can quickly be lost in rectifications and possible completion delays.

Advantages of using one company for design & construct  

If the thought of juggling multiple contractor schedules and overseeing every aspect of your fitout sounds overwhelming, thankfully, there are one-stop-shops who can manage your whole project for you. 

Using an office fitout company that can manage your commercial office project from the initial site survey to final installation has several advantages over trying to organise everything yourself. 

1. Experience and ideas

Firstly, an established fitout company will have industry specific knowledge as well as a lot of experience to draw on. Being a specialist in their field they can pre-empt potential issues, provide tips and recommendations based on best practices and come up with innovative solutions and perspectives that you may not have thought of. 

Using their professional guidance they can offer long-term solutions to create an office space that will suit your business now and into the future. A professional fitout company such as Vestra will also take care of the construction documentation and compliance requirements, such as building approvals and complying with the development certificate.

2. Design and brand identity expertise

Coming up with the best office design to suit your business needs may not be as easy as you think. A good fitout company will have a dedicated design team that can work with you to develop a workplace design strategy. This will create an optimal working environment so that your business is as productive as possible, while also considering the wellbeing of your staff. 

This is done by looking at factors such as business goals, office space utilisation and design, sustainability, workplace technology and business needs both now and into the future. A good fitout company will take the time to get to know your business, and create an office space that will be not only productive but also aligned with your brand and core message. Through the use of conceptual visuals such as advanced 3D visualisation, renders, finishes and mood boards they can help you choose furniture, fittings and fixtures, equipment, colours and finishes.

3. Makes budgeting easier 

Rather than paying individual contractors such as architects, designers and builders, an experienced office fitout company can help you get the best return on your fitout spend and work towards your budget when putting together the design & construct package. 

By providing you with a fixed lump sum proposal and a timeframe, as well as specifying the payment terms upfront, you’ll know exactly what to expect giving you cost certainty. Using a well-established office fitout company can also help you avoid costly mistakes and take advantage of their network of experienced suppliers. 

4. Streamlines project management 

Rather than trying to manage the project yourself, having a dedicated design & fitout company can save you a lot of time and energy. Without having to juggle everything from the architectural stage through to co-ordinating tradespeople and deliveries, using a design & construct approach means you are free to spend more time growing your business. 

Whilst having full transparency over every stage and decision, a less hands on approach helps reduce stress, streamline the process and ensures that your project runs on time and on budget. 

Related reading: How long does an office fitout take? 

Reinvent your workspace without the stress

With an experienced team of planners, designers, project managers and builders, Vestra loves collaborating with businesses to provide an integrated service from design to construction that makes transforming your workplace easy.

To chat with us about your next office fitout, get in touch today and we’d be very happy to arrange a no-obligation consultation. Your new office space could be closer than you think.


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