A fitout, whether it is for a shop, office, cafe or restaurant, can be one of the biggest expenses your company will incur. It is therefore imperative you get it right the first time – from choosing the right company to nailing the look & feel, to functionality and branding.
To get it right – planning is fundamental and asking the right questions is crucial.
To help you in this endeavour, we have compiled a list of key questions you should be asking your fitout company from the get go.
1. COMPANY BACKGROUND: How long have you been in business?
A company that has extensive experience will instil confidence that they will be able to deliver the right solution. Obviously, the longer a company has been established, the more likely it is they are reliable and trustworthy. So find out their background & how long they have been working in this field.
2. COMPANY EXPERIENCE: What kind of experience do you have in building the kind of fitout we need?
Find out if the company has done similar work to your project and ask to see project examples. Ideally you will want to choose a company that has already completed at least one project that is similar to yours.
3. TIMEFRAMES & DEADLINES: What is the expected timeframe for completion?
Before you commit to anything, it is imperative to be clear about timeframes & deadlines as unexpected delays can have a huge impact on your business and sales.
Understand the different phases of your project and get confirmation of timeframes at the start of your project – if possible, in writing!
4. COMMUNICATION: How will you communicate with me & keep me up to date with the project?
It is important to have open communication regarding the project both in the planning and construction phases.
Knowing upfront who the contact person is, how they will communicate with you and what is their experience will help inspire confidence and allow you to rest easy during what could otherwise be a stressful experience. You should also find out what kind of information the company needs you to provide at the various project phases to keep the project moving.
5. INSURANCES: Do you have the necessary licensing and insurances in place?
If anything unforeseen happens insurance will protect the fit-out company AND your business – so before you commit ask if the company has the required insurance and licenses in the state they are operating, and check they comply with local building and safety regulations. You need to make sure you are covered if anything goes wrong.
6. PAPERWORK: What approvals do I need for my fitout and will you help me lodge them?
There are various compliances and approvals you will require prior to beginning and throughout the duration of your fitout. For your project you may need to apply for CDC, DA or OC. These are often time-consuming and complicated. Find out if your fitout company will manage these submissions for you.
7. WARRANTY: What warranty do you offer for the services you are providing?
After your project has been completed, it is important to know how defects will be handled. Find out what warranties are in place for both works & materials.
8. PAYMENT: What are your payment terms?
It’s vital to get the payment terms agreed upfront so everyone is clear on expectations. This includes any progress payments and a documented process of approvals, so everyone is on the same page. It is also important to know how unexpected things are accounted for during the fitout process.
9. GREEN: How can we be more ‘Green’ with our refurbishment?
There is a growing trend towards sustainable fitouts. If this fits with you and your company ethos, you may want to ask your fitout company if (and how) they prioritise green issues such using eco-friendly materials, providing responsible waste management or making your new fitout energy efficient.
Plan the Basics:
The best thing you can do before setting out on a commercial fitout, is to take time to plan the basics and this starts with asking the right questions. If you’re looking for a reputable office fit-out company for your next project, get in touch with Liteco – we have thousands of successfully completed projects!