Giving your workspace a facelift can be a great way to boost morale, improve productivity and make your space work harder for the business. A great working environment is important in attracting and retaining the best talent.
Whether you’re refurbishing your current office or relocating, you need to be sure your office fit out project will serve the needs of the organisation and the people who work there.
An important ingredient in ensuring the success of your project is working with the right team of commercial building contractors. With lots of businesses out there seemingly offering a similar list of services, how do you choose the right contractor for your office fit out project?
Having worked in this industry for over 40 years, we’ve got a pretty good idea of how it all works! So here are a few tips on how to sort the great contractors from the average, or downright dangerous…
1. Check them out by reputation
You’re likely to be able to pull together a list of potential contractors by conducting online searches, speaking to local companies and asking your contacts for recommendations. We suggest the next step is to whittle these down to a short list based on reputation.
Talk to their past clients and look at past projects. Any contractor worth their salt will be proud of previous work and happy to share it. Request references and ask some simple questions such as:
- Have you managed projects of a similar size before?
- Can I visit a previous project?
- How long have you been in business?
- Who owns the business?
If you’re happy with the answers you receive, that contractor can go on your shortlist.
2. Compare lists of services
Your office refit project is likely to encompass a number of different services including consultancy, design, project management, supply and fitting, relocation and move management, compliance.
Be clear on which contractor can provide which services. Sometimes a turnkey solution, where a single contractor provides everything, can make your life easier. Others may prefer to speak to specialists to get the very best in each field. Either way, having a list of who can do what will help you compare your options.
Some contractors will outsource packages of work to sub-contractors. The more thorough amongst you may want to know where this is happening.
3. Check their credentials
All building contractors should have certain policies, qualifications and accreditations in place to give you the reassurance that they will do a good job. These may cover compliance, health and safety and the environment, as well as industry-specific skills.
In most instances, there will be a register or member lists that you can check to ensure these credentials are all genuine. This is an important step as not having the right accreditations in place may invalidate insurance.
4. Complete a financial assessment
The financial health of the contractor has a direct impact on the level of risk inherent in the project. Look at your project budget and compare with their annual turnover. Can they really afford the resources for your project? Do they have the purchasing power to negotiate for materials on your behalf? Ask for evidence of a healthy balance sheet.
Check that the company is insured to cover the level of work involved – check on their public liability, professional indemnity and contractors’ insurance.
5. Get a detailed quotation and understand what guarantees there are
Alongside the work you did in step 2, this is the stage where you can determine the true value for money offered by each contractor. Make sure that you’re happy with the level of detail on the quotation.
Look for guarantees around delivering on budget and to a fixed schedule. Make sure all sides are clear of their responsibilities when it comes to delivery of the project.
6. Ask lots of questions!
A credible company will be more than happy to address any concerns you may have. It’s better to ask before the project gets underway if there’s anything you’re unsure of.
7. Trust your gut
You should have enough concrete information to be able to judge the strength of the contractors on your short list. Price will more than likely be a big driver in your decision making. But there may be some softer considerations too.
Does their approach align with your own company vision? Have they prioritised the same aspects as you? How has their communication and attention to detail been so far? These may prove to be decided factors where costs are comparable.
We’ve worked on hundreds of office fit out projects across East Anglia and we’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have about our approach and scope. We’re really proud of our past projects and happy to share examples of our work. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.