Shell and core fit outs are pretty much what it says on the tin. As the first stage, it deals with the fundamental structural, electrical and mechanical elements of an interior space. It is a fit out in its most basic form but it plays a key part thereafter in ensuring that a space is up to scratch, safe and suitable for use. Not all fit out projects require this back to basics level of fit out, however, it is commonly used on projects where a space is being completely repurposed for change of use. An example of this would include a commercial office being changed into a residential property.

Cat a is the next level of fit out. At this stage, specialist contractors enter the project to complete work such as fitting suspended ceilings, partition walls and raised floors. There may also be some additional mechanical and electrical work, such as fitting sockets, plugs and light fixings. It’s a very basic level of finish, yet one that transforms and a shell and core space that looks rather industrial into something that can be used for a range of purposes. Commonly, many landlords request that commercial spaces are returned to category a condition before handing back the property when a tenancy is terminated.

Cat b fit out is the final office fit out stage. This is where clients see their space come to life, as there’s an opportunity to add corporate branding as well as the chance to create functional areas that work for the business and their people. At the end of the category b phase, employees are ready to move into their new workspace. The detail is in the design, and fit out contractors such as Axis, will be able to provide the finishing touches such as installation of work stations and IT, air conditioning, heating and power points, design and decoration, provision of soft furnishings as well as the installation of fully functional office amenities such as kitchens, WCs, meeting rooms and breakout spaces.