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What is CAT A+? Understanding the Language of Office Fit Out

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Rap Interiors

What is CAT A+?

Understanding the Language of 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.

office design and Cat B refurbishments Manchester office design and Cat B refurbishments Manchester

The CAT A to CAT B Fit Out Model

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.

What is Coworking?

If you haven’t heard of coworking then it is a workplace where different works, (freelancers, start-ups, self-employers or small businesses), work in the same environment.

They all share the same facilities to save on costs while benefitting from the features of the workspace and connection with other people for collaboration opportunities.

As a landlord, it’s important you create an inviting environment that attracts these workers to work in your workspace rather than working from home.

Therefore the office needs to be functional as well as attractive, just like these 5 cool coworking workspaces in Kent 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.

Commercial Office Design with Frovi Furniture Designed by Rap Interiors Commercial Office Design with Frovi Furniture Designed by Rap Interiors

Riverbridge House Office Fit Out

We were asked by the landlord at Riverbridge House to design an interior workspace for prospective tenants.

Our interior designers included a number of design features to create a functional and attractive workspace for incoming tenants to view that included an open plan office, two meeting rooms, a breakout space and a reception area.

The office was let out quickly by Engie Impact who relocated their office from the third floor, where we carried out their dilapidation works, to this newly designed ground floor office space.

By leasing this office space they saved on costs and their Office Manager did not have the stress of the fit out works as they were already carried out prior to them moving in.

Check out the full details of this case study here.

a commercial office reception design with soft furniture and a glass meeting room a commercial office reception design with soft furniture and a glass meeting room

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 free design consultation, please email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk or call 0333 600 1234.

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