Business

Cat A vs Cat B vs Shell & Core Office Fit-Outs

Commercial Property Construction & Fit-outs

One of the main aspects in commercial property construction is to try to satisfy clients’ wishes. As a result, once the construction is carried out, we will need to move on to the fit-out phase. The interior of the building will need to be improved, so that the space is appropriate for occupation, such as to start to accommodate the office workers.

There are various kinds of fit-outs, and for commercial property developers it is important to choose a fit-out that will best serve the needs and wishes of the occupants. However, the degree of completion of the project will vary from one construction to another, and so will the type of fit-out. The main types of fit-outs are Shell & Core, Cat A or Cat B. Let us discuss what each of these types of office fit-outs involves in more detail.

Shell & Core is considered just the bare bones construction. Image credit: Construction Week

Shell & Core Fit-outs

Shell and Core Fit-outs are among the most popular options, especially since there are many who prefer to take care of the design and finishes themselves, or by hiring another specialist company that offer interior design services. A shell and core fit-out will basically revolve solely around the completion of the outer framework of a building. This involves completing the most essential parts of a construction project, such as installing basic utilities like toilets, stairwells, and lifts. Apart from having completed the structure of a building, this involves completing the common areas like the reception or lobby, as well as any external works. So cladding and base plant are also carried out. Whenever this kind of fit-out is completed, the building is basically in shell form. So, with this type of office fit-out the building will basically look to be complete from the outside. But once one steps inside it is practically an open, blank space that still requires a lot of work to be occupied.

Category A Fit Outs tend to be minimalist move-in ready offices. Image credit: Blenheim House

Category A Fit-outs

A Category A fit-out is often referred to as a basic landlord fit-out. This is because a Category A fit-out will include some more work on a building’s interior. So, this will generally include the floor coverings, any raised floors and suspended ceilings, and some generic works on the perimeter walls. A Category A fit-out will also comprise basic mechanical and electrical services, such as lights, air conditioning and other basic controls. For those who opt for it basic fire detection and protection systems are also installed during this phase.

Category B Fit-outs

Category B is considered the most advanced type of fit-out that can be carried out. All design elements will be agreed upon so as to be installed and completed. So, this will involve installing any IT and other equipment that will be used by the workers, and even the office furniture. Any doors, partitions and floor finishes will also be completed in a Category B fit-out. More specialist finishes such as frosted glass, signage, lights and facilities will also be seen to. Basically the offices will be completed from start to finish with this type of fit-out. Any branding and finishing touches will be seen to during this type of fit-out.

Contracts

It is important that one agrees about the specific types of work and jobs to be completed by the company who will be taking care of the construction and the fit-out. In some cases this will be one company, and in others they may be partners. Therefore any ambiguity should be clarified by having a contract and all the necessary documentation which clearly established what will be completed and what will not, and who will be responsible for it.

Even though there is a difference between Shell & Core, Cat A and Cat B fit-outs, there may be cases where one developer feels that certain works fall under one type, whereas another will be willing to complete them in another type of fit-out. This is because these types of fit-outs offer a rather generic idea of what is included and what is not, and there is no standard definition for either of them. Therefore before starting out on any office refurbishment or relocation, it is important to make sure that both the client and the developer are on the same terms and have agreed on what will be done.

Deciding on the type of fit-out

The difference between these types of fit-outs is all about the degree of completion of the building in question. The interior specifications matter a great deal as they will have an effect on how nice the interior environment is, which will in turn affect workers’ motivation, maintenance expenses, and the company’s image. The decision will generally revolve around the costs involved, and how much the occupant trusts the developer to take care of the interior design of the building.

Posted by Kyle in Business

What is Planned Preventative Maintenance?

Understanding the full scope of PPM for commercial businesses

Sometimes, the integrity of a structure is taken for granted. Just because of its construction and because a building seems to be okay does not mean that there is no need for regular maintenance. Planned preventative maintenance needs to be carried out on a regular basis in order to ensure that the integrity and longevity of a structure is maintained and improved.

Staying on top of upkeep is not something that should be considered as an extra burden, but rather it is a way to ensure that any future costly repairs or failures are avoided. And the larger a building is, the bigger the problems can turn out to be. So, the bigger the edifice or building is, the bigger the need for preventative maintenance. Making a plan is highly recommended when a building is large or spread over a substantial area, as there will be various kinds of maintenance works to be carried out in the various areas, rooms and locations. Let us discuss some of the things that will find their way on a preventative maintenance plan.

Many PPM firms use sub-contractors to reduce costs. Image credit: Wise Geek

Roofing

A building will obviously have a roof, and one can safely state that the roof is ultimately one of the main elements that need to be taken good care of. Considering the fact that the roof is subject to various weather conditions and other problems, it goes without saying that regular maintenance should be carried out. Corrective action may be required in various cases, and so it is important to carry out routine inspections at least twice a year. Should there be any severe storm it is also important to inspect the roof so as to see if there is anything that needs to be seen to.

Carrying out regular maintenance work on the roof will generally involve jobs such as clearing roof drains of debris, examining any sections which were previously repaired, checking roof-to-wall connections, inspecting flashings particularly at curbs and penetrations so as to see if there are any tears or wrinkles, and carrying out re-caulking from time to time.

A moisture survey should be carried out at least every 5 years so as to detect any leaks or wet insulation. If there are solar panels on the roof, regular checks are imperative so as to see if there are any panels that ended up getting dislodged or with build-up of snow or other debris.

If the building is large and there are various roofs, it may be best to set up a roofing file for each building so as to keep a note of the various works that were carried out on specific dates, as well as set a plan for future regular maintenance works.

HVAC Systems

Heating and cooling equipment are imperative in a building. Unfortunately a lack of HVAC maintenance leads to inefficiency, higher bills, and poor air quality. Therefore it is important to include HVAC as part of planned preventative maintenance. These should be inspected at least twice a year. Seasonal start-ups and run inspections are important. There could be small jobs such as missing screws to be replaced, or gasket repairs, or more extensive replacements and repairs to be carried out. If there are any pumps annual lubrication is recommended. The cleaning and replacement of air filters should be carried out quite often, generally quarterly.

Having a regular maintenance schedule in place can prevent unwanted disasters. Image credit: Damazine

Plumbing

Plumbing is one of the main areas to keep under check in planned preventative maintenance. A seemingly small dripping or leakage problem could end up into a considerable problem if left unattended. Any leaks or unusual noises should be investigated immediately, and a thorough annual inspection is highly recommended, especially in bathrooms or restrooms. Water heaters and boilers need to be checked too.

Lighting

Many commercial establishments place importance on energy savings. Yet they do not always make it a point to carry out planned preventative maintenance so as to ensure that energy savings and lighting quality are maximized. Lighting fixtures should be properly maintained. Lamps may start to fail and so glare baffles, transformers and other accessories should be seen to. Exterior lights often require more attention than interior ones. Gaskets may need to be replaced so as to provide a better watertight seal. Any burned-out lamps will need to be replaced. A relamping schedule is highly recommended especially in a commercial establishment where there are hundreds or thousands of lights.

Electrical Systems

Having a licensed electrician inspect the electrical systems every couple of years is recommended. In such a way panel boards, switchgear and connections will be checked and any cleaning and re-torquing can be carried out properly.

Outdoor Flooring

Parking lots and outdoor areas will require coating replacements and power washing from time to time in order to preserve them and maintain them in good condition. Crack filling and seal coating are some of the regular jobs that will need to be included in planned preventative maintenance.

Posted by Kyle in Business