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Navigating Urban Fit-Outs: Mastering the Art of Modern Office Transformations

Despite a general perception that demand for office space is reducing, the demand for flexible, multi-functional innovative office spaces has never been higher. 

Owners, investors, and developers of commercial office buildings are increasingly looking to reconfigure their floorplates to attract new tenants and meet the evolving needs of the modern workforce.

But carrying out construction and interior fit-out projects in urban environments comes with its own unique set of challenges. So a specialist, interior fit-out construction contractor who knows how to provide interiors that allow seamless transformations for multi-functional spaces that enable hybrid working, and has experience managing these obstacles — the fast track programmes, and the logistics of working in occupied buildings —  is an important partner for your procurement team.

Urban Construction Challenges

  1. Logistics and Coordination of Trades

Urban environments pose significant logistical challenges. From restricted access, to the need for precise scheduling to prevent conflicts among various trades, these projects require meticulous logistics management and coordination of all trades and stakeholders to ensure smooth progress.

The ability to adapt and innovate is key. 

The office reconfiguration of the third floor at Windmill Lane for SCOR involved working within an existing layout to adjust larger office spaces and optimise efficiency in lighting, heating, ventilation, and electricity usage.

Being on the third floor, this project presented particular challenges when it came to access for personnel and materials. And along with restricted drilling times and the absence of build drawings, this project required a thorough assessment of mechanical and electrical systems before any work could go-ahead. 

“This is what we do on a daily basis,” says Barry Keenan, Built Interiors Founder and Managing Director. “Our team is dedicated to delivering fit-out solutions that not only meet the demands of today’s tenants, but also anticipate the needs of tomorrow.”

2. Stripping Out Existing Offices

The process of stripping out existing office spaces requires careful planning and phasing, especially when dealing with older buildings that are subject to conservation regulations and may contain hazardous materials.

And in the adaptation of smaller spaces, there’s also a focus on occupant wellbeing. This means employing sustainable practices in the strip-out process to ensure materials are either recycled, or disposed of responsibly.

The Spaces office reconfiguration project required extensive experience and flexibility, as well as a deep understanding of construction intricacies. 

3. Waste Out and Materials In

Efficiently managing the removal of waste and delivery of new materials is crucial in minimising the environmental impact and ensuring the timely completion of projects. 

Logistics methodologies must be designed to mitigate disruption and employ just-in-time delivery systems to reduce onsite material storage needs.

4. Working in Occupied Buildings

When refurbishing office spaces in occupied buildings, there has to be a focus on minimising disruption to the other tenants.

Here, an approach involving a detailed phasing of work, flexible working hours, and constant communication with all building occupants and involved parties is key to ensuring business continuity.

“Our clients love us because we can go into an occupied building, we can phase it, we can segregate it, and we can carry out the work with minimal disruption to the client,” says Barry Keenan. “A lot of customers wouldn’t even know there was construction work going on.”  

Office transformations tend to be smaller jobs that require a more skilful and flexible team of experienced contractors.

At The Spaces project at Donnybrook House, a team with a diverse set of skills and a deep understanding of construction intricacies were instrumental in fulfilling Spaces' vision for a dynamic, functional and collaborative workspace. 

5. Health and Safety

The compact nature of city sites, along with traffic and pedestrians, heighten the importance of health and safety measures when planning an urban office transformation.

Continuously adapting to the specific challenges of each site, and implementing rigorous safety protocols — to protect both the workforce and the public — are paramount.

The refurb at David Lloyd Leisure consisted of refreshing and repurposing an area of approximately 42,000 ft2 within a live, existing leisure facility and children’s play area. 

With 7,000 club members coming and going each day, constant vigilance was required by the  Built Interiors on site team. Checking, and double checking that all hoardings and segregations were in place and secure, and that any hazard — even the smallest screw in the carpark — wouldn’t be left about to compromise the safety of members’ cars, or the families on the premises.

6. Time and Cost

Time and cost pressures are also a challenge with urban fit-outs, with clients expecting quick turnarounds to minimise downtime and maximise rental yields. 

Lean construction techniques need to be employed to ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget — without compromising on quality or safety.

A thorough knowledge of fit-outs and a proactive problem-solving approach were crucial to keeping the SCOR project on schedule. 

Drawing on insights from past projects, the Built team were able anticipate and resolve potential design and build challenges to manage the project timeline and ensure a seamless execution.

Our Expertise: Your Advantage

Our experience spans a diverse range of projects, from sleek, modern office spaces designed for collaboration and flexibility, to sophisticated, high-end environments that embody corporate identity and culture.

Because of the Built Interiors team’s combined experience, they can deliver innovative office design and construction solutions tailored to the evolving needs of modern workplaces. 

When challenges arise with design, delivery or certification, the Built team has the experience to mitigate risks before they arise. 

Partnering for Success

Choosing the right fit-out contractor is critical to the success of any office reconfiguration project. Our approach is collaborative and client-focused, ensuring that we fully understand your vision, challenges, and objectives. 

We are a team that is committed to excellence, innovation, and sustainability.

“I’m 40 years in construction and every day is still a learning day. Every day I enjoy the challenges and everyday I enjoy what I learn.” — Martin Bradley, Senior Project manager

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