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For many people involved in organising a new fit out or refurbishment of an office space, it can be unclear as to who is responsible for which parts of the process - and how the differing levels of project impact end result.

For example: Who does the structural work? What's the difference between a main contractor and a specialist interior contractor? Who pays for an interior fit out?

Here, we've put together a brief introduction to the varying forms of fit out and an explanation of the phrase 'turnkey developments'.


Office fit-out relates to the process of making interior spaces suitable for occupation and is separate from structural work relating to the building fabric.

In many cases, the base construction is completed by the developer while the final fit out is completed by a specialist firm appointed by the occupant. 

Office fit-outs can take a range of different forms, depending on the degree of completion of the building and the requirements of the occupant.


shell & core

Shell-and-core works usually cover the structure, cladding, base plant, common areas and external works. This type of fit out project may also extend to main reception areas, lobbies, staircases, toilets, basements, lift shafts, loading bays, car parking areas, etc.

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Category a fit out

A category A fit out project generally relates to the level of fit out that the tenant's space is completed to by the developer. Although there is no solid standard definition, a category A fit out is generally expected to include: 
•    Raised floors and suspended ceilings
•    Mechanical and electrical services
•    Blinds
•    Internal surface finishes

If the tenant that will be occupying the space has specific requirements, this may impact on the category A fit out. In which case, the occupant may agree with the developer to contribute towards the costs of the category A fit out. This arrangement can help to ensure that the space will meet their needs as tenant and can save wasted time and money further down the line.


Category b fit out

Category B fit out is the completion of the fit-out of the internal space to meet the specific requirements of the tenant. This type of project may include: 

•    Final finishes and branding
•    Installation of offices and break-out areas
•    Installation of meeting rooms
•    The fit-out of reception areas and kitchen areas
•    Installation of specialist lighting
•    Installation of IT and audio-visual equipment
•    Installation of furniture

Tang Interiors has carried out numerous Cat B fit out projects and can space plan your office to the position of the last chair.

In some cases, the developer may ask the tenant to carry out some of their more sensitive category A works during the category B fit-out phase, so they may be at less risk of damage. In these cases, the developer would pay the tenant a sum equivalent to the cost of the works if they had carried them out themselves.

Turnkey Projects


what is turnkey?

A turnkey development is exactly that; everything ready for the tenant to turn the key and open the door. Turnkey projects provide the tenant with spaces that are fully fitted out and ready for use.

It is advisable to enter into discussion with a reputable Design and Build company for a turnkey project. Tang Interiors has the expertise and knowledge to assist you every step of the way.


what's included?

There is no standard definition as to what a turnkey development project includes so it is important to read contract documentation carefully and seek professional advice where necessary. A turnkey development contract should set out exactly what work is to be completed, by whom and should include a schedule of works where possible.

Any agreement to lease office space between landlord and tenant should clearly define: 

What comprises the shell and core built by the developer, including space provision in common areas.

What constitutes category A fit out to be installed by the tenant but funded by the developer / landlord.

What tenant equipment is to be installed in common areas.


Expert Guidance

Whether you have embarked on an office fit out project before or not, it’s always good to have an expert on your side. If you are considering leasing and fitting-out a new office, speak to us at Tang Interiors. As professional Project Managers and Designers with extensive commercial fit out experience, we can offer the advice and support you need to ensure your project is completed on time, on budget and truly meets the requirements of your business.