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Cat A vs Cat B Office Fit Outs

What is an office fit out?

When it comes to defining different types of fit outs, one cannot be very specific. The reason is that one type of fit out can include some finishes, which for someone else would typically fall under another fit out category. Therefore the most standard definition that can be offered in the field of commercial building fit outs is the Shell and Core fit out, Cat A and Cat B fit outs. The former typically refers to a building’s shell – there are no additional features and amenities other than the basic framework of the building.

The Differences Between Shell & Core, Cat A & Cat B Fit Outs: Image credit: Oktra

Cat A and Cat B go some steps further, and this is just what we shall be discussing hereunder.

What is a Cat A fit out?

This is quite a basic form of fit out too. It goes a bit further than Shell and Core as besides the concrete and metal framework, this type of fit out will also include certain electrical services, suspended ceilings, toilets, and some basic finishes. In the case of a commercial building one would expect to find industry standards compliant fire detection systems, the internal walls, the lift, the lobby and reception area also completed.

What is a Cat B fit out?

In this type of fit out we go beyond a Cat A fit out. This is because there will also be several other finishes with the aim to make the space more unique. So there will be discussions about the type of style and how to achieve it. As a result this type of fit out will include the floor finishes, the doors, any partitions, the lighting facilities, any equipment that will need to be installed such as air conditioning and audio visual equipment, as well as the furnishings. Thus a Cat B fit out will make the building complete, inside and outside.

Deciding which fit out is best

There will be conflicting ideas as to which type of fit out one will opt for. Needless to say, different people will have diverse preferences. Some will want the building to be completed from a to z, so that they will not need to worry about anything. The developers will be entrusted to finalizing the commercial building both in terms of the exterior as well as the interior finishes. The price will obviously be higher as there is so much that will need to be seen to. However the lack of stress and hassle in seeing to the works in progress, acquiring materials and hiring different service providers to see to the various jobs, might ultimately pay off for the higher price of a Cat B office fit out.

On the other hand there may be clients who are obsessed with realizing their business’s brand image in a specific way. In such a case they would prefer to monitor and administer the interior decor and finishes on their own. This is where a Cat A fit out would make more sense.

Reactive Maintenance vs Planned Preventive Maintenance

Which commercial maintenance plan suits your business?

When you own a building, you do not just buy it and use it for your business operations. You also need to maintain it and its contents in good running order. A commercial building or an office will include several pieces of equipment and machinery, which need to be maintained in good condition. Just imagine failing to retain your machines, equipment, computers and other assets in proper condition. The result would be that you lose hundreds or thousands of dollars within a few years’ time. You would need to replace these items, as otherwise you will not be able to continue operating either. So, it is evident that maintenance is simply imperative and it needs to be carried out every now and then.

There are in fact two main types of maintenance, namely, reactive maintenance, or planned preventative maintenance, sometimes referred to as “proactive” maintenance. We shall be discussing the differences between these two types of maintenance in commercial offices and buildings in more detail.

The Vicious Circle of Reactive Maintenance. Image credit: STR Software

What is Reactive Maintenance?

Reactive maintenance refers to the maintenance that is carried out only when a machine or piece of equipment breaks down or develops some sort of fault or error. Reactive maintenance is thus often referred to as breakdown maintenance. The main intent is to restore that piece of equipment or machine to its normal condition so as to regain operation as soon as possible. This will include repairing faulty parts or components, or replacing them.

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive or proactive maintenance is an approach which, as the name itself implies, makes sure that repairs are avoided by being proactive. Certain maintenance procedures will be carried out on a regular basis in order to minimize the possibility of faults and the need for reactive maintenance.

5 Key Metrics that Affect Operational Efficiency. Image credit: CVP

What approach should your business take?

Needless to say, there are different reactions and opinions to the type of maintenance that one should choose. Some feel that the best option is to be proactive, as apart from saving money in the long run, one would also be increasing the life span of the assets as well as guaranteeing efficient productivity as breakdowns can be avoided. Others feel the reactive maintenance makes more sense since it is less time consuming than reactive maintenance, and there will be no need to excessive or useless maintenance being carried out at regular intervals which again, can be expensive.

Obviously both of these approaches have their respective pros and cons and it is not easy to choose between the two. There are various factors to take into account, including costs and time involved.

Establishing a clear and regular maintenance routine sits well with those who have a large commercial building or office, where there are dozens of computers, machines and equipment. With a regular evaluation being carried out, there will be a proper amount of time allocated to each machine. The evaluation will be carried out with the intention of checking the various components and ascertaining areas that require fixing, replacement or repair, so as to prevent the machine from breaking down in the near future. Preventive maintenance helps to divide the maintenance tasks over a period of time, and this makes the process a bit easier and less problematic.

For instance, one will schedule an inspection of all computers on the ground floor during January, machines on ground floor during February, and equipment on ground floor during March, and then proceed in a similar manner for the subsequent floors. In this way the tasks will be carried out at a leisurely pace, unlike the pressure involved when breakdown maintenance has to be carried out as quickly as possible. Preventive maintenance will also help to pinpoint problems and resolve them in a cost effective manner, thus reducing chances that these will become unmanageable and beyond repair in the future. So a well-rounded maintenance strategy will have these advantages. However, it is also rather difficult to execute since there would need to be the proper amount of time, skill and expense involved in carrying out on a regular basis.

On the other hand, with a Reactive maintenance approach, one would be focusing on repairs only when problems arise. This requires fewer staff as most repairs will simply be outsourced. There is no need for planning, or to employ technicians for such tasks either. However, with reactive maintenance there would be the problem of having to rush the repairs so as to try to continue operating. Unless repairs are carried out quickly there will be a loss in productivity which leads to a loss in sales as well as other expenses. Repairs may end up being very costly, and chances are that the problem ended up being aggravated and thus more expensive to resolve. There may also be safety issues, and generally speaking the life expectancy of assets is reduced with such an approach.

The decision as to which approach to take will depend on various things, and ultimately it is a matter of preference. However it is important to be aware of the differences between the two approaches so as to try to choose the one which strikes the best balance between costs, efficiency, productivity and convenience.