What’s the difference between a category A fit out and a category B fit out

The process of fitting out a space, be that a commercial or residential building is the level of fitting out that takes place. This is separated into two types, A and B. Often the two are simultaneous and can be difficult to differentiate, on other occasions they are clear cut. The work can be divided between two or more contractors and between landlords and tenants. For instance the landlord would be responsible for category A and the tenants for category B, although this is not always the case and is based on a fit out by fit bases.  

Category A  

This type of fit out revolves around the services and functionality of a space. The wiring, plumbing, smoke detectors and sprinklers etc. The fixtures and fitting that are going to be in place for a long duration and are essential for the space to be practical and safe. This work can overlap with category A as the two can be completed close together or even alongside one another in some cases. Category A includes installing the internal workings of a premises that are often hidden or less visible than other aspects of a fit out such as the cosmetic aspects. Those changes are not part of category A and are instead part of the secondary phase, category B fit out. It can also involve the relocating and altering of ceiling and walls to reconfigure and alter the layout and design of the space to create a different configuration.  

Why is it necessary?  

Category A fit outs are common when offices change use and the requirements of the owner or tenant change, and therefore it is agreed that the interior structure should change to better reflect the new situation. If a building or space is aging or becoming unsafe, a category A fit out will address the underlying issues and support the continued use of the premises with new and modern capabilities, while preventing any issues from developing within the structure. Ensuring that the premises can meet the relevant safety standards while also being able to meet the needs of those who will be in the space and require a suitable and adaptable area to produce their work. With all the necessary applications and fittings able to be fitted in the next phase. Landlords and tenants often co fund the fit out and this can be in the form of both category A and B. The landlord may provide some funds to the tenants to spend on the second category as the secondary fixtures and fittings may be vulnerable to damage and dust, so are delayed into the second category to protect the finish of the space. This ensures that as much of the work is completed before the furnishing and final touches are added to the space. Which minimises the chances of unnecessary and costly damage to the objects and furniture that will be filling the space.  

Category B  

This category is responsible for the visual and cosmetic design of the space including the colour scheme, and choice of furnishing that are non-invasive or structural. This includes decorating and furnishings the space with carpets, paint and partitioning as just a few examples. The work is less disruptive and more aimed at the impact the space can have, both as a coordinated branded and effective area with the secondary fixtures and fittings such as electrical equipment that offices and other premises use to conduct their work. Other examples include light and kitchen fittings and finishes to provide the services and style that the landlord or tenant has chosen to furbish the space and fulfil their vison with the level of quality and attention to detail that has been set out before the fit out has been undertaken.  

When are they used?  

Category B fit outs unlike category A are often completed without a category A fit out having taken place. Whereas a category A fit out is likely to be followed by a category B to make the space habitable and useable. Offices and other spaces are often refurbished and redecorated via a category B fit out as they are able to provide a complete visual rebrand and feel to the space without having to spend a larger sum on both categories when one will be able to deliver the required new look. However, category A may be unavoidable which will probably require category B to follow ensuring that the space is brought back to a safe and usable space and is not left in a vacant and unfished state that category A can create. Category B is so often fitted quickly after the primary work is completed to avoid an unfinished limbo situation within the premises where the space is not used as planned, yet this is sometimes the case.  

Both of these categories are important and for their own reasons essential to a safe and successful fit out being completed in full and ready to be used by the tenants or workers who would be able to benefit the most from the combined fit outs. The landlord can also continue to make use of the premises while providing a renewed and improved premise that highlights both the work of those in the office and the contractors who created it.  

If you are interested in getting a fit out and would like more information, please contact JST construction, whose experience and knowledge of the industry will be able to provide the information you seek.  

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Originally founded in 1995,  but in it’s current guise dating back to 2007, JST Construction Ltd is a ‘hands-on’ family run business that has grown considerably to cement itself as one of the most respected professional building maintenance and repair contractors for customers in the North West & North Wales.

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