Ascentis Office Fitout

Cat A and Cat B office fitout explained

Considering a change to your office but don’t know your Cat A from your Cat B fitout? You’re not alone! In this post we look at the differences between the types of office fitout and share our top tips for negotiating the office fitout world.

What is an office fitout?

Before we get to the different types of office fitout, we wanted to briefly explain what a fitout is. Office fitout is the end-to-end process of transforming a building’s shell into suitable space for working in. While office design is the process of designing a workplace, a fitout brings the design to life physically.

Typically at Opus4, the design and fitout go hand in hand, although we are able to work to the designs and specifications of others if you already have an architect, surveyor or project manager on board.

Types of office fit out

There are different terms used for different types of office fitout. The most used are Cat A and Cat B but there are a couple of other terms that you might hear too that we’ll discuss below. Different types of fitouts reflect the level of an office’s completion. Interestingly, there’s no industry definition about what is included in each level but here’s what you can generally expect:

Shell and core

A shell and core fitout provides the very basic internal structure of an office. The office building will look complete from the outside, but the inside will be a shell without any polished finishes. A shell and core fitout might include staircases, lift shafts and loading bays but will not include any lighting or facilities. Think exposed brickwork and concrete.

CAT B-Shell & Core

Cat A

Cat A fitouts are generally commissioned by landlords. They create a functioning space but are often a bare-bones finish that can be treated as a blank canvas for office design specialists and interior designers. A Cat A project will include floors and walls finished to a basic standard but little else. Think raised floors and plastered walls.


Cat A Plus

This type of fitout is a midpoint between a Cat A and Cat B fitout. It includes some basic amenities such as fitted kitchens, meeting room partitioning and even, in some cases, furniture. However, these fittings and fixture will be generic and not be tailored to the needs of your business.   

Cat B

A Cat B fitout follows on from a Cat A and includes everything from office layout and types of working environments to the sofas you’ll have in the reception area and the colours on the walls. A Cat B fitout is tailored to your business and brand. It includes custom design elements that embody your office culture and provide an end product that’s perfectly unique.

When we’re designing a Cat B fitout we make sure this is a collaborative journey. We work with you to understand your business to deliver an office space that represents everything that makes you and the culture of your organisation special.

Ascentis Office Fitout

Where do I start?

Planning an office fitout or moving into a new space can be a daunting task. As we mentioned above, there’s no official definition of the different types of fitout and standards can differ vastly.

If you’re about to sign for a new office space as either a shell and core or a Cat A, be sure you’re clear on exactly what will be included. Bear in mind, some landlords may also require offices to be returned to their original state when you move out.

If you’re considering a Cat B fitout, make sure you work with a trusted office design and fitout specialist. 3D visuals and 3D video walk-throughs give you the opportunity to explore your new environment before the build starts.

If you’re interested in transforming your office space, why not take a look at some of our recent projects for inspiration. We work closely with our clients to provide and carry out Cat A and Cat B office fitouts. Get in touch to learn more.

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