Office Fitouts Vs Office Refurbishments - Which Is Better?

Part of the: Office Fitout Collection

If you're not familiar with construction industry terms, you may easily confuse an office fitout with a renovation. It's common to encounter the phrases used interchangeably, but they're not the same thing.

Below is an explanation of the two terminologies to help you grasp the distinction. If you're about to embark on a project, this will save you from embarrassment and allow you to easily convey your ideas to fitout and design professionals.

a well balanced office fitout

The Office Fitout

Simply described, an office fitout is the process of converting a vacant interior into usable space. Several sorts of fitouts occur at various phases of the process. 

The first phase is called Shell and Core. It pertains to the establishment of the fundamental construction before the use of the area, which often comprises lobbies, elevator shafts, masonry and metal frames, and mains water systems.

Next comes the CAT A office fitout. This is the fundamental finishing of the building's interior that is normally commissioned by the landlord. Suspended ceilings, partition walls, air conditioning, and toilets are all examples of this. When finished, the facility will be a clean slate ready to be put up for sale to find a tenant.

Finally, the space will undergo CAT B office fitout once a tenant has been found. At this point, the interior design of the space is adjusted to the tenant's specific demands and style. Furnishings, décor, space design, branding, finishing, and breakout rooms are all included.

The CAT B fitout is the most similar to a refurbishment, but it is not the same concept.

The Office Refurbishing

An office refurbishment takes place later on when the area is already in use. Often, the workplace has been occupied for several years or longer, necessitating a refurbishment or re-design.

A corporation may require a refurbishment for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • when there are internal changes, such as when tenants may be seeking to hire additional people and will require new space design, furnishings, and equipment to accommodate them,
  • when the tired interiors are showing, or when the space appears worn and antiquated, it needs to be updated. A renovation at this point might be critical in keeping and recruiting competent staff, or 
  • when a rebranding is happening, as a refurbishment provides a chance to adopt fresh branding. This is essential for ensuring consistency across all marketing aspects and may aid in the creation of a brand experience for workers and visitors.

The extent and complexity of a renovation are determined by the tenant's budget and needs. While it comes as no surprise that a greater budget will allow you to indulge in more amenities, a smaller budget may also go a long way. A new carpet and a fresh coat of paint may completely transform a space and enhance staff morale.

So, what Is the Difference Between Fit Out and Refurbishment? 

To summarise, an office fit-out is the process of transforming a concrete "shell" into a liveable area. It unfolds in stages, starting with shell and core, then CAT A, and finally CAT B, before a tenant moves in.

A renovation of a workplace, on the other hand, occurs later. It usually occurs when the area is appearing weary and antiquated, or when it has to be modified to allow transformation.

Therefore, the long-short of it is no, there is no one better than the other. It all depends on the point of time and the needs of the space.

Food for thought?

Sign up to receive product news, special offers, newsletters, inspiration and so much more from JasonL
Email address  *
First Name *
Last Name *
*Required fields
Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your data will be completely confidential.
View digital catalogue

No Floor Plan?

Feeling overwhelmed and dont know where to start? Book an onsite consultation with an expert! We will measure and provide a 2D floor plan & quote within 48 hours of the site visit.

Get a complete quote today by emailing sales jasonlcomau or call 1300-527-665

We enable people to do great work

Fitouts can be complex, but at JasonL we have Australia's largest stocked range coupled with top expertise to make it all simpler for you. We assist you through every step of the fitout process.
  • Office Layout
    & Design

  • Tailored Set of
    Stocked Products

  • Project Management
    From Start to Finish

  • Complete Assembly
    & Delivery


We've done fitouts for some of Australia's biggest brands and many more of all shops,
sizes & budgets. Proof? We do more return business every year than we do new.

Get our FREE easy-to-use office fitout checklist

We’ve put together the ultimate checklist to ensure you next office fitout hits all the right notes from design, to budget.

What Our Customers
Have to Say

James Norquay

James Norquay

@James Norquay - 19day(s) ago

The team installed 2 big phone booths in our office, and I found the communication to be good. the guys who installed it...

Adrienne Van Denderen

Adrienne Van Denderen

@Adrienne Van Denderen - 1month(s) ago

Have used JasonL a few times over the years and always been very happy with the quick delivery window after ordering. My new...

Jayke Tazzyman

Jayke Tazzyman

@Jayke Tazzyman - 2month(s) ago

JasonL sells high quality components. Communication at every point of the transaction and delivery process. I opted for only delivery, very fast. Arrived...

Take the next step

We’ve done fitouts for some of Australia’s biggest brands and many more of all shapes, sizes & budgets. Proof? We do more return business every year than we do new.

Articles we think you might like