10 Tips to A Successful Commercial Fit-Out

We have put together 10 steps towards your ideal commercial fit out to make the design and build process easier for you.
The key elements of an industrial style design commercial fit-out

At Superdraft, we are committed and passionate to give every business the best commercial fit-out design whilst providing the highest quality of service. So, we put together these tips on how to achieve your ideal commercial interior design and fit-out. May these pointers help you realise the best interior design for your business.

Tip 1: Create a project timeline

One secret to a successful commercial fit-out project is proper scheduling and following the project outline strictly). You don’t want to leave yourself short of time. A timeline looks like this:

Day 0-10 – Initial concept design and cost estimation

Day 11-20 – Detailed design and approval process (may take longer than expected)

Day 21-59 – Construction

Day 60 – Turnover

It is essential to set a timeline for your commercial fit-out team. This kind of project is time-specific. The earlier your team finishes, the earlier you open for business.

Tip 2: Draft a detailed design brief

This is one of the most important things to accomplish. Your design brief is a complete list of your needs and preferences. It sets the guidelines that will help you find a space for your space. It also enables you to determine the ideal size of your stall or office.

READ: How to Write a Good Design Brief

Here are the things that you need to describe:

  • The look and feel that you want to achieve. When possible, show your designer photos of the design features you want.
  • Your business’ size and the growth potential of your company. We want to know the number of people that you wish to fit into your space. The best commercial fit out design is flexible and sustainable. It must accommodate your ever-changing needs. 
  • Allocation of private and open workspaces. Your staff needs both in the workplace. It varies depending on the industry, business type, style, and branding.
  • Seating, storage, back house areas, fitting rooms, and more.
  • Meeting/conference rooms, board rooms, training rooms — if your office requires one.
  • Staff equipment and facilities
  • Your branding and messaging. The designer needs the inspiration to create a space that truly mirrors your business.

After completing the design brief, you will have an idea of the type and size of space that you’ll need. You will be confident when you start looking for your location.

Tip 3: Find a suitable business location

Go to commercial real estate websites and scout for available workspaces for lease or sale. Make sure that the site is:

  1. Large enough for your growing business
  2. Accessible and an excellent spot for business
  3. In good condition

Also, read the landlord’s terms and conditions. You don’t want to rent a commercial space that hinders the operation of your business. 

Once you landed on the perfect business location, it’s time to find the builders. 

Tip 4: Find a fit-out designer and contractor

Most people search online for the best designers and contractors. Our suggestion? Do not be fooled with nice photos and websites you see. Do some research. Read online reviews and feedback from their previous clients. There are a couple of sites you can check like Product Reviews, Houzz, or simply Google the business. You’ll find online reviews there.

Also, speak to the designer and builder via phone or face to face. Meet and discuss the project. Trust us, you will know if they are fit for the project after meeting them.

READ: Architect VS Building Designer – Which one do I need?

Who Should You Hire? Architect, Building Designer, or Draftsman

Extra tip:

Make sure that the builder you want to do business carries a builder’s registration number. Otherwise, they can’t carry out the work. Always check the company’s credential and whether the following institutions such as:

  1. Master Builders Association
  2. Design Institute of Australia
  3. Green Building Council of Australia
  4. ISO 9001 or other similar quality assurance
  5. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
  6. Property Council of Australia

At Superdraft, we can connect you with the most qualified builder for your project. We have worked with over a thousand of them across the country, and we can tell you who’s the best and who’s easy to work with.

Tip 5: Assess the proposals of the designers

After selecting the suitable commercial fit-out designers and builders, provide them with the design brief and ask for a quote. From there, you can assess which one is worth buying.

You can also try our Building Cost Calculator and cross-check with the quotes you received.

Tip 6: Read the Terms and Conditions of Every Contract

Prior to working with any designer or builder, you must read and understand their terms and conditions within every contract before signing it. The agreement must protect both parties, which is you and the company. It must not appear one-sided. We recommend getting legal advice when you don’t understand the contents of the contract. 

For smaller projects, look for the following information in the builder’s contract. State these in a clear and concise way:

  1. Obligations (each party)
  2. Project timeline with an exact start and completion date
  3. Detailed scope of works and cost estimations
  4. How to deal with variation and when additional costs incurred
  5. Insurance
  6. Payment terms
  7. Snagging and retention
  8. Liability periods, dealing with defects
  9. Dispute, suspension, or termination of the contract
  10. Other assumptions and exclusions

For larger projects, request an Australian Standard contract. Your chosen builder must provide you with one, and we recommend seeking legal advice to check it thoroughly before your sign.

Tip 7: Get detailed designs and planning approval

At this stage, your designer must provide you with the complete set of drawings for you to submit to the local council. The approval process is the most exciting part; it’s the scariest because it’s an essential stage. Without approval, the building works will not commence. All commercial fit-outs must be compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), current building regulations and standards in the country, and the local council requirements.

You also need planning permission in case the building is changing; is heritage listed, or external works are required. You might need consent from the Heritage Council.

Also, you must furnish your landlord with a copy of the drawings, specifications, insurances, and contractor information. Make sure that you have the landlord’s permission before any building work.

Tip 8: Monitor the progress of the construction

As mentioned earlier, the builders must create a detailed project timeline with an exact start and finish date. Apart from that, the schedule must indicate all the significant milestones of the project. It must depict when each trade must be on site.

The best way to monitor the project’s progress is through regular onsite meetings. When you hold these meetings, you ensure communication between all parties. Try to discuss the following: 

  1. Project’s progress
  2. Design issues encountered during construction
  3. Design variations
  4. Additional information and documents needed
  5. Health and safety issues
  6. Extra costs and payment
  7. Obligations that are not met like the standard of work, legal roles, and supply of materials and services.

Tip 9: Prepare a Punch List

A punch list is a document that states all the repairs and incomplete work that the contractor needs to finish prior to final payment. This way, you know that the work is 100% complete and satisfactory. This list must be compiled prior to handover and all contents must be agreed by you and your contractor.

Tip 10: Schedule handover and aftercare services

When the builders turnover the project, you only need to do a few things to make sure that it is ready for business.

First, call trades who can install locks and security cameras. Then, invite people who can help you set up all your products and marketing materials inside the office.

Also, make sure that the builders turnover the following as well:

  1. Architectural drawings
  2. Test certificates
  3. Instructions on how to take care of furniture pieces
  4. Instructions on how to handle equipment
  5. Obtained statutory approvals

It all starts with a great designer

We gave you ten tips that can help you achieve a successful commercial fit-out. But, for your business to grow and flourish, you must nail the design. 

Choosing the right commercial fit-out designer is the first milestone to achieve. With him or her on your team, the rest will follow. Liked this article? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Contact our Adelaide-based building designers for more info.



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