Which Fit Out Is For You: Cat A vs Cat B

From the title, you might be wondering what in the world is a fit out and why does it involve a cat. We can tell you what a fit out is, and we can certainly also tell you that there are no cats involved nor any other animals. As consultants ourselves, we know how difficult it can be when first exposed to the jargon of construction work. Rest assured that we are here to break those terms down for you, starting with ‘fit out’. 


What is a fit out?

Simply put, an office fit out means the process of making an internal space appropriate and suitable for occupation by your employees and yourself. In other words, renovating your office space to be occupiable. From the grey slabs of concrete floor and red brick walls to the comfort of a minimalistic office space separated into specific areas. 


What does fit out include?

There are several other specific fit outs such as an office furniture fit out, a tenant fit out, a shop fit out, an interior fit out and a commercial fit out. This is where the cats come in. There are three types of office fit outs that this article entails: Shell and Core, Cat A and Cat B in this respective order. What we mean by that is how the office space is presented to you by the landlord. Shell and core refer to the space being its rawest form; concrete walls and floors with no finishing whatsoever.

However, there are different shell types as they would provide certain aspects. Generally, the shell and core are your bases. The space is up for your complete creativity. Let us break it down even further to what Cat A and Cat B refer to.


What are Cat A and Cat B fit outs?

Cat A has much more compared to a shell and core fit out. It has a simple, basic finish above the shell and core of the space such as electrical services, suspended ceilings and raised floors. Air conditioning and fire alarms are usually provided too. A neutral colour palette adorns the wall and floor, making it easy for office owners to match to their liking. Simply put, A Cats are completed to an industrial standard. 


What does Cat A include: 

  • Raised flooring
  • Suspended ceilings 
  • Mechanical and Electrical services (e.g air conditioning units, lighting, power, etc) 
  • Fire alarms 
  • Basic finishes (e.g painted white walls, levelled floors, etc) 
  • Refurbishment of common areas (e.g toilets, kitchens, etc) 

Cat B is the complete and final look. It is a workplace you can move into without worrying about the mechanics and finishes. The concept is similar to co-working spaces. They have everything you could possibly need in an office and all you and your team would have to do is move in. Of course, you will still get the opportunity to choose your floors, layout plan and what not to reflect your brand image. A B fit would essentially cover the planning and installation of your new interior. 


What does Cat B include: 

  • Partitions 
  • Doors and floor finishes 
  • Floor coverings 
  • Basic office furniture (e.g desks, chairs, meeting booths, etc) 
  • Specialised lighting and safety systems 
  • Mechanical and Electrical services 
  • Private office rooms 
  • Conference rooms 
  • A reception area

Do note that these lists vary according to your landlord and the nature of your business. 


What are the pros and cons of each?

Cat Fit A 

Pros  Cons
More customisability & flexibility Temporary
Cheaper May need to revert back to the way it was depending on your landlord


Cat Fit B 

Pros  Cons
Ready to move in Less customisability 
Functional  May be costly to plan and install 
Aesthetically pleasing
Greater brand identity 


What is a Cat A refurb?

A refurb or refurbishment refers to a specific space or area in the office that is being re-done. Cat B refurbs are more common as not all business owners would like what the landlords have chosen for their Cat B. Hence, you might want to strip down an existing Cat B and replace a new one that fits your brand image. Just as a Cat B refurb, Cat A would refurbish back to a shell and core base before replacing the space or area of your choice. 

The cost of a refurbishment project or a fit out cost is typically about $15 to $20 /m2. There is no fixed cost as it depends on what space and the size of the space you want to refurbish. Additionally, there are construction costs, interior costs and design costs. It is best to gather quotes from different constructors to get a better gauge and set your budget accordingly. 


What is a spec fit out?

Also known as the Speculative Fit Out, these are built by the landlord. A spec fit out is designed to accommodate a wide range of tenants with the purpose of giving their property an edge in the market. As a business owner, you would want a functional yet stylish work space that requires little to no work on planning and installation on your end. With a spec fit out, landlords are able to boost their property image much better as you would already be moving into a fully furnished office. 


Which one is the right one for you?

Depending on the nature of your company and the industry it is in, the type of fit out construction varies. An important note to keep in mind is that if you perform a Cat B fit out on a Cat A fit out, it is likely that your landlord wants it to be returned back to Cat A at the end of your lease. 

If you wish to move in without worrying about the hassle of looking for furniture and building specific rooms for meetings and whatnot, Cat B is highly recommended. While the leasing cost may be higher, you are eliminating moving stress and time. However, if you are prioritising your brand image more, you may want to opt for Cat A as there is still room for customisation. 


Who can help with your fit out needs?

It is always an exciting time to make changes to your office space into a place you and your team will enjoy. While it may take time, with the right steps and guidance, you will be achieving your desired fit out in no time. With The Office Fitout Professionals, you can rest assured that you will be provided with some of the best tools, designers and commercial interior builders that meet regulations. Finding the right cat fitting has never been easier! Contact us today to get a headstart on your desired office fit out with the right construction renovations.