The benefits of Cat A+ projects

In the office fit out industry ‘Cat A and B’ are terms to describe projects’ levels of specification within a project’s refurbishment or fit out. In recent times, a new concept, known as Cat A+, is being proposed.

Category A describes an approach by a landlord whereby a ‘blank canvas’ office space is provided, to appeal to a range of potential occupiers. Accommodation usually includes floors and ceilings, wall finishes, toilets and completed mechanical and electrical services. An occupier and possibly their designers then add their furniture, enhanced finishes and rearranged layouts to suit their occupation.

Darron Owen

Category B describes an office space which has been fitted out by the occupier/tenant, to provide an environment which is ‘oven ready’ for their staff to move into and use. The fit out is designed to reflect the occupier’s specific requirements linked to the operations of their business, and can include facilities such as meeting rooms, a reception or welcome space, kitchens/kitchenettes and breakout space, with furniture and fittings selected to suit the use of these areas. Lighting to suit the business use, AV and IT solutions and space dividers are also sometimes provided.

Category A+ sits somewhere between Cat A and B and can be described as ‘ready to use’ or ‘plug and play’. Landlords’ instructions are to provide a fully designed space which is attractive to potential occupiers, who see that they can move into a space which is ready for early occupation. This approach can particularly appeal to smaller businesses, who may not have been able to afford to fund a refurbishment or fit out and who are then forced to consider sharing space, possibly with other businesses in a co-working environment, instead moving in to their own fitted out and usable office space.

Landlords are increasingly looking for new ways to market their properties, to stand out from other providers, who may offer a more generic ‘Cat A’ approach, which can take more time for tenants to secure and move in to. With Cat A+, upfront costs are reduced for tenants, who can benefit from increased flexibility in lease terms and lengths and can relocate or locate quickly and efficiently, whilst providing landlords with the opportunity to quickly attract tenants, decreasing vacancy rates, whilst in most cases charging a good level of rent.

Cat A+ is becoming a popular choice for landlords looking to deliver office space which stands out from others, with tenants increasingly looking for opportunities to move in to or relocate to ready space with lower up front costs. We expect occupiers to be reviewing their current work place post-COVID, when it is expected that more employees will be working remotely, with the consideration of revised work place requirements linked to lease events. We are currently working on a number of projects where landlords have decided to enhance their offerings, with a Cat A+ approach increasing project costs, but with advice received suggesting that early interest will be forthcoming for the refurbished and fitted out space, with good rental levels anticipated.

If you are looking to refurbish or refit your space, contact Darron at darron.owen@tridentbc.com, or call him on 07720 822778.

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