What is a CAT A+ fit out and is it right for your organisation?
The CAT A+ office has been rising in popularity over the last few years and is a viable alternative for many companies to co-working spaces. But what is it, who is it for, what are the benefits?
A CAT A+, or Category A+ fit out, is essentially the middle ground between CAT A and CAT B. It provides a CAT A fit out of a building with some basic design features that get it ready for a business to move into. Because of this, the CAT A+ office is now considered to be a viable alternative for both landlords and tenants to co-working spaces.
Landlords have been looking for new ways to challenge the rise in coworking spaces, a market which continues to grow. Between 2015 and the first half of 2019, the volume of flexible workspace in the United Kingdom has increased dramatically, from 55.4 million sq ft to 87 million square feet. It is forecasted to double in size by 2023(*1).
Tenants have raised their expectations for workspaces too, expecting flexibility and shorter leases. As SMEs and small enterprises make up 99% of the UK’s businesses(*2), typically looking for around 10,000 square feet of space, CAT A+ offers a plug and play office for businesses who might not be able to commit to a full CAT B fit out.
There’s also a trend of occupiers reducing real-estate and making their spaces adaptable to larger teams, meaning that landlords have more empty space to fill.
With this in mind, we explore CAT A+ and explain the benefits to landlords and tenants alike.
What does a CAT A+ fit out include?
- Fitted kitchens and toilets
- Partitioning including meeting rooms, offices and breakout spaces
- Furniture and workspaces
- Re-routing air conditioning and power points
- IT installation and infrastructure
What are the benefits of a CAT A+ fit out?
There are benefits to this option for both the tenants and the landlords. A CAT A+ fit out gives tenants the opportunity to move into a space with minimal adjustments and investment. It reduces the upfront costs, and gives them the ability to move in quickly, and easily with little fuss.
This option also gives tenants the ability to move into a workplace and add flashes of their brand personality and identity, something that a co-working space wouldn’t. However, although the initial outlay will be lower, over the long-term fees will be higher for tenants.
A CAT A+ fit out is a great option for landlords. It will often allow them to attract a wider range of prospective tenants than a CAT A space, as it allows for immediate occupation, meaning the space will be empty for less time, making it much more attractive to prospective tenants.
Landlords can also target a wider variety of tenants with a range of lease terms for the different spaces in their development. And, although the initial investment will be higher, CAT A+ offices will have a higher profitability in the long-term due to higher rates and shorter rent-free periods.
Lease terms are also typically more flexible, which gives benefits to both sides. As the space will largely stay the same from one tenant to the next, landlords can have a quicker turnaround, whilst tenants no longer have to sign up to long-term leases. At the end of the tenancy, it becomes easier, cheaper and often more civilised to hand everything back over.
From a sustainability point of view, it’s also less wasteful as there’s no need to remove everything and completely refit the space since a freshening up could make it ready for the next tenant.
Workplace [R]Evolution: Issue 3
With many organisations now viewing hybrid working as a competitive advantage, it’s more important than ever to engage with people, to guide workplace decisions.
In this third issue of the Workplace [R]Evolution, we’re bringing you the latest data, exploring how to lead with employee experience and sharing the latest examples of hybrid workplaces.