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Cat A and Cat B Fit Outs - What's the Difference?

When looking at moving into a new office space, it can be confusing to understand the difference between a Cat A and Cat B fit-out, but actually, it’s quite simple to understand. 

This article will help you understand what these terms mean, and help you when choosing your new office space. 

It is important when moving into your office space to be on the same page as your developer about what stage your office will be at. 

There is no industry definition of what each stage should look like and contain. Here are the broad expectations you can double-check with your developer's project managers for each specification.

A Shell and Core Fit Out

A shell and core fit-out is the basic framework of the building. The space will be completely empty on the inside, allowing you to fill the area with whatever you’d like. The core amenities will be finished, along with the communal areas such as the building’s reception, lifts and communal toilets. 

You can expect the soon-to-be office to have exposed floors and concrete, with little to no level of a polished finish. This provides you with the ultimate blank canvas for your office design. It will require some construction works to complete, but also gives you control over the initial concepts from day one.

This is the option to pick if you have a grand vision you know you can fulfil yourself with your own contractors. Many will opt for this option only when the costs and amount of contacts they have mean it works out better. 

For the average company, however, this is not an ideal fit as it requires project management and will often take much longer to complete. It’s not for the faint of heart but worth it if you know what you are doing.

Cat A Fit Outs

Cat A fit-outs, though still not fully kitted out, will have more there than a shell and core agreement.

Still, with a basic level of finish, these spaces normally include basic electrical services, fire detection equipment, ventilation and air conditioning. They could include raised floors and suspended ceilings, with a basic finish.

These types of spaces allow you to have more freedom when decorating your office, enabling you to customise the interior style to your liking. Cat A spaces make it easy for you to change around the room’s layout, leaving space for creativity and keeping up with office-style trends. 

Recently there has been an increase in the popularity of varied workspaces, such as coworking or ‘hot-desking’. It would be easier to accommodate these changes if you had free reign over how you choose to furnish the building, rather than being restricted to a specific office interior design.

Cat B Fit Outs

Cat B fit-outs are the full package, providing you with a workspace that is entirely ready to move into. Your Cat B space will usually include: 

  • Meeting rooms
  • Fully fitted kitchens 
  • Installation of IT and workstations
  • Air-conditioning, heating and power points
  • Non-communal staff facilities 
  • Breakout spaces
  • IT installation and infrastructure

When working with a company like APSS, this includes the full design process to get the space exactly as you want it, creating the best design including layout and decorations of floors and walls. This level of fit would be a great option for your workplace if you wanted a more long-term layout, with perhaps a more professional look to it, as it has been perfectly curated by those with expert knowledge. 

You will still have control over all aspects of your space, just with the additional help from people who know how to furnish the perfect office for you and your needs. It also means the final few details such as office furniture choices, office design ideas and overall ambience can be tailored to what you want from an office fit.

We hope this article has shed some light on the terminology used when finding a new office building, and it has helped you consider which version is best for you.

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