How long does an office fitout take?

Insights
March 9, 2022
If you’re considering a corporate office fitout in the Sydney CBD but not sure where to start, here we take you through the typical steps and timeframes involved in creating your new commercial office space.

Whether you are doing a brand new fitout from scratch or making some enhancements to your existing office space, every project is unique so the time it takes to complete will vary. 

From finding a suitable space through to the final handover, we’ll outline the various stages involved in the office fit out process with a guide to how long they take.

Step 1: Workplace strategy [2-4 weeks]

Before you start the process of looking for a property, the first step is to undertake a workplace strategy. This will help you make the best use of your space and design a fitout that aligns with your business processes, goals and culture.

An experienced workplace strategist will take the time to understand your current work environment, and develop a workplace strategy outlining your key specifications and requirements in the short and longer term.

Workspace planning is an important part of the process as it will inform you about the type of building and the amount of space your business requires before you start a search or talk to a commercial real estate agent. It will also give you an idea of the project costs to ensure your budget matches your needs and vision.

Step 2: Finding suitable premises [3-6 months]

Unless you have decided to stay and renew your existing space, or have already secured new premises, the first step will be to find a suitable space to operate your business. While not specifically related to the fitout construction process, finding the right location is an important piece in the design puzzle, and can also take up the most time.

In conjunction with space and building requirements outlined in your workplace strategy, things to consider will be location, facilities, services, condition of the building, number of staff, potential growth and, of course, the lease terms and conditions. The time taken to complete this step can vary widely, but will typically take between 3 and 6 months. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, you’ll then need to start thinking about your design concept to help you create the space that will suit your needs. Many fitout companies are happy to look over and advise you on the suitability of your shortlisted properties before you go ahead.

Step 3: Choosing a design and fitout partner [2 weeks]

The process of choosing the best office fitout partner will likely take one to two weeks, allowing time to have a few conversations and agree on a proposed way of working. 

A good way to investigate the credentials of a prospective partner is to speak to other businesses who they have worked with. Ask questions such as: 

  • Did they offer helpful advice on space, design and layout?
  • Did they provide end-to-end project management?
  • Was the project completed on time and on budget?
  • What was the level of service provided after the handover?
  • Did the fitout company try to upsell ‘extras’ during the project that weren’t originally agreed?
  • Are you happy with the end results and would you recommend them?

Once you have narrowed down the list to a preferred partner, it’s important to make sure they understand the strict compliance and safety regulations. Don’t hesitate to ask them for a copy of their licences and insurance policies so you can be assured that your project is covered should anything go wrong.

Step 4: Detailed design and finishes selection [3-4 weeks] 

During this stage you’ll need to decide on your office design including the floor plan, layout, finishes and more. No doubt you will have your own brief about the look and feel you want to achieve, and by working with your fitout partner, together you can bring these ideas to life.

Throughout the design consultation process, your fitout company may also use tools such as mood boards so you can collaborate on finishes, furniture styles, greenery inclusions and even design details such as the kitchen hardware. 

As part of this step you’ll also need to talk about budgets and timelines. It’s best to spend at least 3 to 4 weeks so you have a clear vision before moving into the approval and construction phases.  

Step 5: Approvals and statutory requirements [3-4 weeks]

The approval process, although not as exciting as the design phase, is a very important step of any commercial office fitout. You’ll need to consider local council requirements and building regulations such as Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia.

In addition to any permissions and statutory requirements, you may also need to submit detailed plans and other information to your landlord, and you’ll also need to be aware of the ‘make good’ clause before you start construction.

The approval stage will typically take 3 to 4 weeks, and if you are using an experienced fitout company, they should be able to guide you through each step of the process. To save time, it is often possible to overlap steps 3 and 4 so they run at the same time.  

Step 6: Site works and construction [4-6 weeks]

How long the construction process will take can vary widely depending on the size of your space and the extent of the work. As a general guide, for a typical space of 300m2 up to 1000m2 you should allow 4 to 6 weeks, although your fitout partner will be able to provide you with a more accurate timeline when you are finalising your plans. 

Juggling CBD building access, delivery schedules and trades people can be challenging. But with a reliable fitout company to manage the project for you, they can make sure everything happens at the right time and in the right order, so your dream office space can become a reality. 

It’s business time!

Once the project has been completed, it’s time for you and your team to move in and start enjoying your new office! A quality office fitout provider will be on hand if needed to fine-tune anything during and after the handover of the project.

The bottom line

Based on these steps, unless you are just doing minor renovations, a comprehensive office fitout is likely to take around 6 months to 1 year from your lease expiry, allowing time for all the standard processes.

Ready to get started?

An experienced fitout company can hit your timings by managing everything for you from the workplace strategy and initial site survey to the final installation. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll finish. 

If you are planning on doing a new office fitout in and around Sydney’s CBD, Vestra has a team of experienced planners, designers, project managers and builders, who’ll be there to guide you every step of the way. 

If you are looking for a professional design and fitout partner, contact us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation.

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