Office Fit Out Project Timeline

Office Fit Out Project Timeline

One of the most common mistakes with any office relocation, is starting to plan too late, either evaluating your office rental needs, selecting the best office leasing agent to find the right offices for rent, and selecting the design and fit out team. Setting the right timeline before starting the process is critical for a successful project outcome.

Important Note:

To reinstate your current office premises can take between 2-6 weeks and fitting out usually takes 1-3 months. Ordering of materials before fitting out can take over 1 month and settling the legal paperwork can take longer than many expect. On average you should start to plan your office relocation 7-12 months in advance, depending on the size of your requirement.

Typical Project Timeline

for standard 5,000 sq ft office move
Project Timeline to move from lease expiry date including design and fitting out stage, site selection and review period of office spaces.

Start Initial Review

Narrow down your search criteria (Size, Location, Budget). Study all available options, and consult office team internally to get some consensus on optimum space. Select buildings for further investigation / site visits.

Site Inspections

This will usually involve 3-4 site visits. Most tenants inspect 8-12 buildings which they have shortlisted. Average number of viewings at any one ‘sitting’ is around 6-7 properties, so two initial viewing tours will be needed to cover all. The final shortlisted options should be inspected once again, to help make final selection, and it will be important to identify one or two back-up options as well, just in case.

Start Negotiations

Your agent should make the initial offer with a letter of Intent. This will not be binding, as is always marked ‘Subject to Contract’. The landlord will revert with a counter-offer. There are usually two to three rounds of offers / counter-offers. At the same time, your interior designer should be confirming the size is appropriate (not too large or not too small) with initial cost guides, to avoid any awkward shocks later. They should also highlight any roadblocks / major problems possibly ahead.

Letter of Offer

This will be prepared by the landlord and most landlords insist on sticking with their standard template for Letters of Offer and Leases. The terms need to be checked and the draft lease approved ‘in principle’ at the same time because this will be mentioned in the Letter of Offer and will be legally binding.

Have a local legal expert review the lease, and have the space surveyed if you can (the size of all subdivided spaces will always be ‘subject to survey’ but might not be ready in time – Beware).

Upon signing, all payments will need to be made e.g. security deposit, advanced rental, landlords legal fees and stamp duty etc.

Signing of the Lease

Around the time of signing the lease, your interior designers should have been appointed by now and be in an advanced stage of getting the design floors approved by the landlord and statutory bodies such as the FSB (Fire Safety Bureau) and ordering materials.

Take Possession / Fitting Out Period

Congratulations – you are finally in, but far from finished!

At the time of taking possession, it is always recommended, that your interior designer be present, to record the condition of the premises at the time of handover. Any pre-existing defects that are highlighted to the landlord should be rectified by the landlord, but those not recorded will be the responsibility of the tenant. Tenants will need to organize power supply, water supply (if required / allowed) telephone and internet connections etc.

The fitting-out period is always rent free because the tenant cannot use the space during the fitting out process. If the fitting-out process is finished before the lease commencement date, tenants are often allowed to use the space under license, subject to confirmation.

Move into the New Premises

By this stage, the tenant should be able to start reinstatement works on their current offices before the end of the passing lease, unless a replacement tenant has been found.

Lease Commencement

This will always be at the end of the fitting-out period, regardless of whether any rent-free period has been granted.

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