A landlord will typically conduct a CAT A fit out prior to putting a property to market. This often includes work to the flooring, ceiling, fire and safety facilities, mechanical and electrical services, walls, reception, lift(s), and more depending on the space. In short, all of the essential elements of the building.
Once the CAT A works are finished, the space takes the form of a blank canvas, or “shell” as some like to say. While the space will have all of the fundamentals in place, it won’t include furniture or aesthetic features. Those are left to the prospective tenant, which brings us on to CAT B…
Once a tenant is found the second phase of the fit out process begins. At this point, the tenant will work with an office interior design company to make the blank canvas their own.
This includes, but is not limited to, the implementation of furniture, branding, decorations, breakout spaces and collaboration areas. It also involves configuring the space to ensure it facilitates the tenant’s unique working practices.
The CAT B part of the project is the responsibility of the tenant rather than the landlord. They pay for it and largely have the freedom to design the space how they wish.
As the market has changed, landlords have listened to the demand and are now offering an alternative to the CAT A to CAT B model.
Indeed, with tenants becoming increasingly reluctant to deploy their own capital for a CAT B fit out, landlords have started to present pre-fitted spaces that are ready to move into. Moreover, these spaces available on shorter term contracts, helping to reduce the level risk for those who occupy them.
CAT A Plus spaces come fully furnished and are connected with Wi-Fi, allowing the tenants to easily plug in their devices and crack on with their daily tasks. This is why many people refer to these spaces as “plug and play” offices.
So, tenants get a fully functional office space without having to commit for the long term, which is great for business. And while the traditional CAT A to CAT B fit out model is still very popular (and very rewarding when done right), CAT A+ has established itself as the major alternative.
Looking for some fit out inspiration? Take a look at our office fit out projects here