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What is a CAT A+ Office Fit Out?

In recent years, we have witnessed a change in the traditional office fit out and letting model.

Normally, a landlord would acquire a space, fit it out to a basic level and then begin the search for a tenant. The new tenant would then sign a lease — usually on a fixed, long-term basis — and complete the rest of the fit out according to their needs.

But the model has started to change.

In the current market, many tenants are seeking shorter term contracts that offer more flexibility. Furthermore, many tenants simply can’t afford to pay for a fit out, so there’s been a rising demand for a cost-effective solution.

This has engendered new fit out model, known as CAT A +, where landlords offer pre-fitted spaces to tenants on shorter term deals.

In this blog, we provide a detailed overview of CAT A Plus, looking first at how it compares to the traditional CAT A and CAT B fit out model. We then go on to list the benefits to help you decide if CAT A Plus is right for you.

Read also: Understanding the Jargon of an Office Fit Out

The CAT A to CAT B Fit Out Model

Cat A Fit Out

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…

CAT B Fit Out

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

The Benefits of CAT A+

We’ve already spoken a little about the benefits of a CAT A+ fit out. Here we look deeper into the benefits from the perspective of the tenant and the landlord…

Benefits for Tenants

Reduced Costs

Given that tenants don’t foot the bill for the fit out or furniture, CAT A+ spaces are extremely cost-effective. One big benefit of this is that tenants can re-invest the saved money into another area of the business to support growth.

Flexible Leasing

With a long-term contract comes a big financial commitment, which can look very risky for a lot of companies — particularly those still establishing themselves. Flexible leasing mitigates the risk and, in turn, makes tenants feel more confident moving forward.

Greater Privacy

You may have already heard of co-working spaces, which offer a similar set-up to CAT A+. The difference is that co-working spaces are open to the public and therefore shared by a community of entrepreneurs and small teams. With CAT A Plus offices, however, tenants can have the space to themselves and operate independently.

Less Hassle

CAT B fit outs can be a lot of hard work, so the CAT A+ process cuts this out of the process. Furthermore, when tenants move out of a traditional space, they usually have to fund repair work in accordance with the lease agreements, known as “dilapidations”. Read more on dilapidations here.

Benefits for Landlords

Fast Letting

Once a landlord obtains a space, it can be a long time before they find a tenant due to the financial commitment. This means the space can be left unoccupied for a long period — time in which no rent is being paid. But as the demand for flexible contracts grows, landlords are more likely to find tenants faster with CAT A Plus offices, ensuring that their investment is worthwhile.

Higher Rent Charges

As CAT A+ offices are let out on shorter-term contracts, landlords often charge higher rents. Even though they won’t get the financial commitment of a long-term contract agreement, the growing demand for more flexible arrangements means the space could be used by a number of tenants over many years.

Are You in Need of an Office Fit Out Company?

We hope that our blog has given you a good overview of CAT A+:

  • If you’re a landlord, then this could be a great way to capitalise on a rapidly changing market and make the most of your investment.
  • If you’re an ambitious company looking for affordable office space, then this could be just the thing to help you find a home and get ahead of your competitors!

With over 30 years’ experience conducting fit outs across London and the UK, Rap Interiors offers an exceptional level of expertise to its clients.

If you need help with your fit out project — whether it be CAT A, CAT B or CAT A Plus — then Rap’s team of dedicated experts can help.

To book your design consultation, please email or call 0333 600 1234.