Spreadsheet of office fit out costs
Fusion Office Design are releasing our London office fit out cost spreadsheet updated for 2023 project costs. Some elements have clearly increased during the past 12 months whilst some are subsiding a little and in one instance costs have fallen.
Our data is based on project costs for London office fit-outs in 2023 accounting for almost 70,000 sq feet over 6 larger projects. Whilst we have data for projects below 3000 sq feet of office area these can often be distorted by one-off figures that make them slightly less applicable on a generalised basis. Larger office fit-outs, defined here as 4000 sq feet and above, are a little better suited to draw average cost figures from.
Key factors influencing cost:
- Location: Central London is generally 20-30% more expensive than home counties areas. This is partly derived from travel and parking costs which can reach £120 per day per vehicle. Also a London weighting factor applies in order to get trades people to work in central London.
- Type of fit-out: Lettable condition (often termed Cat A) vs. tenant fit-out (including furniture, tech, etc. called CAT B). Our figures are based on Design and Build approach for CAT B fit-outs. Design and Build means all compliance and building codes, design and specification, is the responsibility of the contractor.
- Design complexity: Simple open-plan vs. co-working. High-end designs with special features or standard commercial interiors. Costs are on a middle point for these parameters.
- Size of the space: Larger spaces may benefit from economies of scale, but even these can have variations that are very dependent upon base-build architecture. Also the degree of modernity and complexity in mechanical and electrical services in the office building impacts greatly on the overall fit-out costs.
- Furniture and embedded technology: Budget-friendly vs. premium options significantly impact cost for office furniture. The extent, and brand-driven quality, of tech such as access control, audio visual, and base-build BMS (building management systems) will have a notable effect on the build-out cost.
- Sustainability requirements: Using eco-friendly materials and systems can increase the cost. There is still a premium for choosing more sustainable materials although this is one element where the costs for going greener are reducing, largely as volume increases make the manufacturing process cheaper.
- Compliance to Building Regs: Building regulations have seen a tightening of leeway in 2023 with the introduction of enhanced provisions. Although the latest updates are still being evaluated its clear there are some grey areas that are now prohibited. Health & Safety provisions through the CDM regulations have also been updated. Accessibility requirements also add costs.
What’s behind the increase in fit out costs
Factors in the increase:
- Global economic factors: Like many other industries, the construction and fit-out industry has been affected by inflation, rising energy costs, and supply chain disruptions. This has led to higher costs for materials, labour, and equipment. One hidden increase has been in transport costs which has increased overall costs in an under-the-radar way.
- Shifting workplace trends: The pandemic has spurred a shift towards hybrid work models and more flexible office layouts. In some instances this has meant less office space is needed. However where space is a fixed aspect this has meant demand for zones including collaboration spaces, quiet areas, and more hot desking are actually more costly to implement compared to open plan desking space.
- Focus on sustainability: Many companies are now incorporating sustainability into their office fit-out plans. This can involve using recycled materials, energy-efficient systems, and renewable energy sources, which can add to the overall cost.
How much more expensive?
Estimates vary: The exact increase in office fit-out costs depends on several factors, including the location, size and complexity of the project, and the desired level of finish. Our research suggests an average increase of around 5-10% compared to 2021 levels. Although costs are no longer volatile, we still want to see a settling to fully quantify cost changes in office fit out.
Are there any strategies to reduce fit out costs?
- Get informed: Do your research and understand the current market trends and pricing before you start planning your office fit-out. Some aspects of building regulations are not always mandatory…ask if its absolutely necessary. Are any materials in short supply when an alternative might avoid bottleneck pricing.
- Be flexible: Consider alternative designs and materials that may be more budget-friendly. You can also prioritize essential features and postpone non-essential elements. Ask if a specification change might give the same performance at a reduced figure. An example is using soundbloc plasterboards or acoustic glass in partitions to save money.
- Budget Creep. Understand the impact of design changes. One of the biggest factors in cost uplift is increases in design driven scope. Spend time on the design brief, and get the full wish-list, before drafting the first design scheme and associated cost-plan. All too often items are added during the process which result in budget creep.
- Get advice from your D&B partner: Consult with an experienced office fit-out specialist who can help you plan your project within your budget. Good Design & Build companies will always have options to consider that may save money. Ask for FF&E suggestions to save money. Consider setting your budget, with guidance from our free spreadsheet of cost, and disclosing it at the outset. An advantage for D&B is setting the scheme to fit a price-point.
Whilst office fit-out costs have increased in 2023, there are still ways to manage your budget and get more out of your project. By being informed, flexible, and resourceful, you can create a functional and inspiring workspace that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
To get a copy of our office fit out costs spreadsheet for 2024 get in touch with Fusion and we’ll email it by return, or click here to see more information around our office fit out services and fit out costs.