The construction industry is full of abbreviations and jargon. When making decisions about acquiring premises and equipping them, it helps to understand the terminology. When dealing with commercial premises the use of the terms “Cat A” and “Cat B” “Fit outs” is common. So, what does it mean and how can understanding the terms help with making the right choices?
Cat A and Cat B defined
When reading about premises, (for example to locate new offices,) there are a number of terms that will feature in descriptions. They will all refer to the state of the premises, what level of completion they are in, and what additional features they offer.
Understanding Cat A and Cat B Fit Outs is not complicated. In very basic terms Cat A fit out refers to premises located in structures that have been externally completed and which provide a weather-proof interior with services such as drainage and electrical and water supplies, heating and lighting. It is a very basic interior. A Cat B Fit Out is ready for use featuring floor coverings, partitions, air conditioning and other refinements. It is worth remembering that there is no set specification for a Cat A Fit Out.
What to expect from Cat A Fit Outs
A Cat A Fit Out will mean the premises should have been made waterproof and secure and will have drainage, water and electricity. There should be basic plumbing, lavatories and ducts and spaces for air conditioning. Electrical supplies should be complete as will be heating. There also should be finished floors and ceilings and the walls will be ready for decoration. Lighting will be fitted and so too should be a fire detection system.
What there will not be are any refinements that turn a blank bare space into a comfortable, working environment.
What to expect from Cat B Fit Outs
Premises that have been subject to a full Cat B Fit Out are pretty much ready to go. They will be the equivalent of the house described by estate agents as being suitable to ‘move in.’ In other words, there will be carpeting and floor coverings, partitioned areas, sophisticated lighting, air conditioning, fully equipped kitchen areas, separate meeting rooms, offices etc. All of the furniture and fittings expected in for example commercial office spaces should be there. There will be little to do except make changes to suit personal choice.
Of course, each individual company or individual moving into new premises will want to make the space unique and even if a full Cat B Fit Out has been undertaken, there are likely to be changes to be made to give the space individual identity.
Making use of the differences
Knowing the difference between Cat A and B Fit Outs assists in planning. Cat A will require considerable expenditure to decorate to suit taste, furnish and equip premises, whereas Cat B will require less unless a complete refurbishment is desired.
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