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A fit out is the development of an internal space from start-to-finish, transforming the shell of a concrete and featureless structure into a functional work environment. It involves two general stages of finish and installation according to the client’s requirements. Although there is no standard industry definition for a Category A or B fit out, and specifics can vary among developers, there are some standard features you will expect to see in each stage.

Category A (or CAT A) fit out

This is the basic finish provided by a landlord, essentially leaving your office space as a ‘blank slate’. For example, CAT A normally gives you suspended ceilings, raised floors, as well as industrial finishes to internal walls and floors, reception lobby, and lift areas. Electrical and mechanical services, such as air conditioning ducts, lighting sockets, and fire detection systems can also be included. The standard CAT A space looks rather neutral and basic, typically involving a shiny raised floor, grid ceiling, and fitted lights.

Features usually included:

– Suspended ceilings
– Raised floors
– Finishes to internal surfaces
– Electrical & Mechanical services (basic)
– Fire detection / protection systems
– Air-conditioning / ventilation services
– Toilets

Category B (or CAT B) fit out

This is where you fill out the ‘blank slate’ and work with a contractor to imprint your branding and corporate culture onto the workspace. CAT B fit outs deliver a highly finished space, ready for immediate move-in and staff set up. Through collaboration with a fit out contractor, including designers, architects, and property consultants you can tailor your workspace to the unique and specific requirements of your business. This often involves planning how to optimise productivity through both function and style. For example, the fit-out will normally include partitioning the space into offices or meeting rooms, as well as finishing the internal floors, walls, ceiling, and doors to your individual texture, colour, and design concepts. IT infrastructure, AV systems, power outlets, furniture and workstations will also be arranged and installed to suit your company needs.

Features usually included:

Partitioning (offices, meeting rooms, conference rooms, and breakout spaces)

– Full kitchen facilities
– Lighting
– Workstations and furniture
– Installation of IT and audio visual equipment
– Design and brand finishes
– Carpeting

Remember, there are no industry standards. But now the jargon has been busted, make sure you understand exactly what will be included in your Cat A or Cat B fit out when you next sign the lease for your new office or workspace.

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