7th Apr 2022

What Team Do I Need to Make My Office Fit-Out Happen?

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When it comes to creating a new working space for your people, members of the senior leadership might imagine that it’s a rather hands-off affair from your side of the process and that you can delegate this to your HR team or office manager and a fit-out company… and for some companies, this may be true.

However, if you’re really looking to create a workplace that places your people first, and truly reflects, amplifies and works in harmony with your company vision, values and culture, we’ll need most of the senior leadership team to contribute the process.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, to help you pick the perfect team for your office design or fit out.

The Internal Team

What does an internal team do?

Choosing the right fit-out team is critical for your projects’ success. And choosing the wrong people can have a disastrous outcome. The input and visionary insight from the senior team team is critical to the workplace consultancy process we follow that defines your fit-out plans from start-to-finish, making sure that project is running smoothly, on time, and to budget. To do this properly, you need a strong leader.

The Project Lead

Your project lead will become the internal point of contact for all project stakeholders. They will also be the main point of communication with your chosen office fit-out company.

As you can imagine, this is a big responsibility, and the role of project lead can be extremely time-intensive, so this person needs to have the capacity to take on the challenge, but also a number of skills and characteristics to help keep things moving smoothly.

Your project lead should have:

  • Excellent organisational skills
  • An unmatched understanding of your company and all the departments within it, as well as its values and culture
  • Ability to deal with stress
  • Influence over others in the business
  • Great communication and interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm for the project at hand

The Finance Manager

This person will be responsible for handling the financial side of your office fit-out, from procurement to grants, capital allowances and other government financial incentives. Your finance manager will need to have a solid understanding of the various payment, contract, and finance options.

In some cases, this can be a senior finance official from within your company, however, if your company does not have the skills in house, there are a number of external sources that your company can look to, including specialist fit-out financing companies.

Now, this might sound daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve done this many times before, and we’re here to help. Our fit-out experts will guide you in the right direction and help you to understand what you need to do at each stage of the project

The People Person

Your ‘people person’ may come from the HR department, or perhaps Marketing and Communications. This person will be responsible for ensuring that your corporate culture is reflected in every aspect of your new office. They’ll also oversee change-management initiatives and ensure a constant stream of communication between your wider staff, the internal fit-out team and the external fit-out company. Through this, they will make sure that your people are at the forefront of every decision made.

The Project Steering Group

This specially selected group of people will be the ones that take part in workshops with our workplace consultancy team, and report back to your own wider team with any information and knowledge gained. This team will usually include one or two of the previously mentioned roles (namely your ‘people person’ and ‘project lead’) along with a select group of other team members.

A key piece of advice when choosing your steering group is to enlist the help of enthusiastic volunteers who genuinely want to help create a great place to work and will become advocates for the project among their peers. It’s also a great opportunity to include some who are more resilient to change, as the workshops provide people with a new perspective and help kick start the change management process itself.

The External Fit-Out Team

Your external fit-out team is made up of agents, specialists and consultants that you most likely won’t have within your own team. These can be split into two sectors, the first are the ones which you will source yourself, and the second are the ones that we (or another fit-out company) will provide you with. Let’s start with the ones that you will need to bring on board.

External Project Manager

An External Project Manager will be there to help you navigate the sometimes tricky world of contract and construction law. Some larger companies may have this knowledge in-house, but for those that do not, this person, or company, will help you to make sure that your construction plans fall within the confines of the law. They will have the general specialist construction knowledge to aid you and keep your project on track and will ensure that you have the relevant permissions and permits needed to undertake your new office fit-out. Helping you to avoid any potential legal shortcomings.

Landlord

Speaking of legal permissions, if you are making any serious structural or cosmetic renovations to your project, you will need to obtain a ‘License to Alter’ from your landlord. These such renovations include:

  • Changes to the existing heating system
  • Breaking down, moving or otherwise altering internal walls
  • Creating new windows or openings
  • Adding extra bathrooms, showers or toilets

This list isn’t all-inclusive, nor is it certain that all of these will require permission, as this is all down to your individual building lease. (This is something that your External Project Manager can help you with!)

Principal Designer

Now you might be thinking “aren’t you guys the designers?” and, you’d be correct! We have a team of highly talented designers at Blueprint, but contrary to their name, a Principal Designer isn’t really a designer at all (or at least in the generic sense).

It is a legal requirement that all companies undergoing an office fit-out enlist the help of a Principal Designer to ensure that the fit-out company are mitigating the necessary risks to health and safety in the design of an office space. The Principal Designer will need to regularly visit the office site in order to establish any potential hazards, access restrictions, accident mitigations and so on.

We centre everything that we do around the people that will be using the space, and safety is a major part of this! So we make sure to let all our clients know at the earliest opportunity that they need to hire a Principal Designer to keep safety in check.

Design and Fit-out Partner

This is where we come in (if you choose us, that is!). Your office fit-out partner will be there from start-to-finish, to help you in each and every stage of your office move/fit-out. This is where the majority of your office fit-out spend will go, so you need to make sure that you’re making the right decision at this step.

We would always recommend looking at a company’s past projects, case studies and galleries to get a good feel of the type of job they provide, and then request a consultation meeting (in-person is always best in our opinion!) to see if they are a good fit.

Want to get started on your office fit-out project?

As well as enjoying beautiful workspaces, our clients see a tangible commercial return from their investment in fitting out their workplace.

If you want to discover what it’s like to have an office full of happy and motivated people who know their health and wellbeing is looked after, visit us at WorkLife Central.

Author:

Chloe Sproston

Creative and Commercial Director