Understanding the language of office fit out
The traditional office fit out model is changing. No longer does a landlord fit out to a basic level, find a tenant and then complete the job to their specifications. But an increasing number of tenants are looking for short-term leases of space that provides a cost-effective solution. In response to that demand, a new fit out model known as Cat A+ has developed.
Cat A to A+
In a typical Cat A fit out a landlord will focus on essential elements, including fire and safety, flooring and ceilings, and mechanical and electrical services. The aesthetics of the space form part of the Cat B fit out, when the tenant has the space fitted out to their specifications.
But in a Cat A+ fit out, the landlord provides wifi and furniture, creating an office space that is 'plug and play' for short-term leases. For startups and SMEs it's the ideal way to secure office space that meets their needs without the commitment of a long term lease and the costs of a Cat B fit out.
Co-working offices are another form of Cat A+ fit out, where the finished space is available to a range of different small businesses. Creating an inviting co-working environment also attracts freelancers, entrepreneurs and the self-employed to invest in a proper office rather than working from home.
How Cat A+ benefits tenants
Tenants who aren't looking for long leases find Cat A+ office space extremely cost-effective, allowing them to invest the money they save on fit out into other areas of business growth. If you're looking to attract and retain talent for your startup, a well done Cat A+ office could be part of your offer.
Flexible leasing mitigates the risk of taking on an onerous long term lease, and gives small businesses the confidence to move forward in a well appointed workspace. Unlike a co-working space, a Cat A+ office is for the sole use of the tenants so privacy is assured.
There are some attractive benefits for small businesses when it comes to Cat A+ offices. Not least the lack of hassle involved in organising and overseeing a Cat B fit out. And when they want to move on, there's no costly repair work associated with dilapidations.
Why you should consider Cat A+ as a landlord
For landlords, there are some obvious benefits of deciding on a Cat A+ fit out. Obtaining office space is a considerable financial commitment, and every day the building is unoccupied and no rent is paid it affects your bottom line.
With the rise in flexible letting contracts for office space, you're more likely to find tenants faster after a Cat A+ fit out, creating a worthwhile return on your investment.
Most landlords will also charge higher rents for the convenience of short term contracts. And though you may not enjoy the stability of a long term lease commitment, the quick turnover in flexible rentals and the growing demand means your Cat A+ office space is unlikely to be empty for long.
As the lockdown eases, and hybrid working becomes the norm, Cat A+ and co-working offices could provide landlords and small businesses with the right space at the right time.