What is Office Fit-Out?

“Simply the making of an internal space suitable for occupation”

However, this can include things as diverse as installing facilities washrooms to meeting rooms and workstations.

I’ve had many conversations with our clients about exactly what each type of fit out entails, so I decided to put together this post to help more people understand some of the key differences. Knowing your shell from your core and A from your B could help prevent miscommunication and, ultimately, make the fit-out process smoother and less stressful.

There are also many types & stages of fit outs and if you’re a tenant, your space will often be provided as shell and core or CAT A, leaving you to sort the final stages to make it habitable, known as a CAT B fit-out.


Shell & Core

This refers to the metal and concrete structure of the building and is very basic. It will look finished from the outside but will be an empty shell inside with bare concrete walls and floors. The building still needs to have a CAT A & B fit-out before it can be habitable!



There is no standardised definition for a CAT A fit-out but think of it as a typically basic landlord fit out that gives the tenant a blank canvas.

A Cat A fit-out normally includes:

  • Raised floors
  • Suspended Ceilings
  • Basic mechanical, electrical and plumbing services
  • Fire detection
  • Internal surface finishes
  • Blinds



This is you moving in and putting your stamp on the building to create a bespoke workspace that works for you. It takes into consideration your business, your culture and your people as well as supporting your business needs and future goals. By dividing up your office space and furnishing it with everything your business needs to grow with, you can boost productivity and strengthen culture.

A Cat B fit-out normally includes:

  • Partitioning
  • Carpeting
  • Lighting
  • Furniture
  • Air-conditioning
  • Café, Tea points, Kitchen areas
  • Receptions, Meeting rooms and Breakout space
  • IT and Audio-visual
  • Finishes and Branding


Where does refurbishment fit in?

Fit out and refurbishment are often used interchangeably, however a refurbishment refers specifically to an existing office space that’s being re-done, therefore it normally involves ‘stripping out’ and replacing with an improved CAT B fit-out that works better for you.


Turnkey Fit Out

Accolade specialises in taking responsibility for converting a concrete shell to a fully functioning office workspace – fusing all stages of a standard fit-out into one.


The benefits:

  • You only have one point of contact so ↓ miscommunication.
  • Greater consistency of workmanship throughout
  • Full ownership taken of the project so no passing the buck
  • Quicker turn around as more can happen simultaneously
  • ↓ cost thanks to ↓ duplication e.g. basic flooring and services from a Cat A fit-out may have to be moved to suit the design chosen for the Cat B.

So there we have it. Hopefully, I have helped to clarify exactly what category A and B fit-outs are, and how they interrelate.