The pandemic has fundamentally changed the role of the office. No longer is it a space designed purely to keep staff working there as long as possible, it’s now a space where people come to collaborate and connect with internal and external networks.
Against this backdrop, the quantity and quality of options facing companies looking for a workspace have never been so broad. From co-working spaces and serviced offices to full-scale Cat B fit outs, prospective tenants have never had so much choice.
In recent years, one type of office fit-out has become increasingly popular: Cat A+, or Cat A Plus, fit out. Read on to find out what it is, why it’s good (or not), and whether it’s for you.
What is Cat A Plus Fit Out?
Cat A Plus fit out is somewhere between Cat A (the fit out of essential utilities within a workspace, such as raised access flooring, air conditioning and lighting) and Cat B fit out (a fully-fledged workspace carried out by the tenant, unique to them, right down to the little details). It’s basically a plug and play workspace provided by the landlord before they even know who the tenant is.
Cat A Plus typically includes fitted tea points, receptions and workspaces, including furniture and IT infrastructure. All the tenant needs to do is move in their IT, equipment, staff, and any nonstandard equipment. It is quick, easy and removes a lot of hassle for the tenant.
The Benefits of Cat A Plus Fit Out
Tenants can move into a space with minimal adjustments and investment, reducing the upfront costs, and giving you the ability to move in quickly, and easily with as little hassle as possible. Lease terms are also typically more flexible, given the space will largely stay the same from one tenant to the next, so it’s less hassle for landlords to switch occupiers (more on that later).
Landlords will also have the design expertise and insight to create modern, effective workspaces that cater for the requirements of the changing requirements of the workspace. Multiple Cat A Plus spaces are also often located on the same floor of one building with some shared facilities, creating a natural networking hub for similar size companies.
One of the key factors in the lower costs and greater flexibility is the lack of dilapidations. In traditional fit out, the space has to be fitted out from Cat A condition at the start of each lease and returned to its original condition (dilapidations). With Cat A Plus, there is no need, given the same equipment can be used for multiple tenants. This efficiency also increases sustainability, given the reduced wastage.
The Drawbacks of Cat A Plus Fit Out
While Cat A Plus has lower upfront costs, over time it often costs more. Think of it like renting versus buying a house: renting is cheaper initially, but more expensive in the long term, and much less long-term security.
Another key downfall of Cat A Plus is the lack of customisability. Landlords often have very strict rules on what can and can’t be done to the space, which tend to be restrictive. With the modern office’s heavy emphasis on culture and experience, and the rise of hybrid working meaning engagement is more important than ever, the need for companies to have a workspace where their staff feel at home has never been more important. This is very hard to create in Cat A Plus workspaces, which tend to be generic to appeal to a variety of potential tenants.
The flexibility offered by Cat A Plus spaces can also be an issue, given the lack of security it offers. Shorter lease terms and lower switching costs for landlords mean you are much more likely to have to change office space more frequently than you want, given the amount of disruption it can cause your business.
Is Cat A Plus Fit Out for me?
In today’s current climate, the flexibility of Cat A Plus has many advantages, providing companies with a short-to-mid-term solution while they assess their long-term future. Cat B spaces on the other hand provide a workspace that is custom-designed to your needs and wants and is unique to you. No other company is in your situation, and no one has the same requirements as you.
So much has changed in recent months in the workspace, and making the right decision for the future of your company has never been so important, or difficult. That’s why we’re here. If you have any questions about your future workspace or need help to know what to do, get in touch or call 020 3916 5005