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Fit Out

Questions to ask when shortlisting office fit-out contractors

Questions to ask when shortlisting office fit-out contractors

If you’ve been asked to shortlist office fit-out contractors or appoint a fit-out partner, it can seem like a sizeable task. Particularly in the North West, a quick Google search will bring up a long list of office design and fit-out contractors.

So, what questions should you be asking when shortlisting office design and fit-out contractors?

There will be countless questions and concerns when looking to appoint an office fit-out partner – and more will no doubt follow throughout the process – but the following list is a good place to start.

How much experience do they have?

It’s important to hire an experienced contractor – the Aztec team is regularly called in to fix problems on other firms’ projects caused by inexperience, poor craftsmanship and corner cutting.

An experienced contractor will be able to prevent budget spiraling or delays occurring – few office fit-out projects encounter no challenges at all, so it’s important that yours is led by a team with the experience to navigate them effectively and prevent issues occurring.

Will you have a dedicated contact?

It’s important to establish whether you will have a day-to-day contact for the duration of the project – someone you can call any time to have questions and queries answered and to set your mind at ease should any concerns arise.

A credible contractor will give you confidence that you’re in the right hands.

Are you able to see examples of recently completed fit-out projects?

Ask to see examples of recently completed projects – an experienced contractor should have no problem showing you a back catalogue of office fit-out projects successfully delivered by their team.

Make sure that examples are recent and relevant and don’t be afraid to ask them to talk you through them in more detail. Ask about any delays that occurred and whether they were delivered to budget.

Are recommendations available?

Ask for recommendations from recent clients – written testimonials are great, but credible contractors will also be able to arrange a convenient time for you to speak with past clients to cross-check testimonials should you feel the need to do so.

Are contractors employed directly?

Query whether contractors – painters and decorators, electrical engineers, plumbers and joiners – are employed directly or hired as sub-contractors.

At Aztec, many years ago we decided to employ all our contractors in-house – the only way for us to truly control the timescale of a project, fix budgets and to prevent delays. If one contractor has an issue or can’t start the job when planned, the timescale could be pushed back as a result.

If possible, you should aim to hire an office fit-out partner that employs contractors directly.

Will they work out of hours?

When completing an office fit-out project, you must also consider neighbouring businesses, particularly if you share floors and lifts.

Establish a contractors’ policies on working around employees, respecting other tenants and working out of hours for particularly noisy, troublesome works.

Will aftercare be available?

Good aftercare is essential.

There may be further questions around working new technology or systems installed as part of the fit-out – make sure that your office fit-out partner is willing to respond quickly to fix any snags or answer any queries. Some contractors will be more willing than others to do so. Be careful that aftercare doesn’t incur additional costs.

We wrote a blog about good aftercare following an office fit-out if you’re interested in more information on this topic:

With more than 30 years’ experience and with 90% of our work coming from referrals and recommendations, you can be sure you and your office fit-out project are in the right hands with Aztec.

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