No matter what sector or industry it’s in, every aspect of a business needs to reflect its branding and ethos in order to achieve longevity and profitability. But when it comes to office design, your business ‘home’ also needs to incorporate functionality, aesthetics and the customer experience.
Getting the balance right is certainly no easy feat and it’s definitely something best left to the experts. Here at buildgen we’ve had many years’ experience in fitouts, refurbishments and relocations of London commercial property, and we believe it’s our integrated approach to managing the practicalities of budget, working practices and client expectations that sets us apart.
If you’re taking on the task of enhancing, relocating or completely overhauling your office design, you should definitely consider working with a professional design and build specialist. The opportunity to have multiple experts working as an integrated team on your project – i.e a ‘one stop shop’ – has advantages that cannot be overstated.
While many people do ‘go it alone’ and take the traditional approach, if you’re asking yourself whether you really need to make this kind of investment, allow us to explain why the answer is nearly always ‘yes’.
What is the design and build process?
When you make the decision to refurbish, or undertake a completely new commercial fitout and/or office design, it’s important to understand it’s not just a matter of purchasing some new furniture, putting up (or knocking down) a few walls and choosing some paint colours. If the project is to be successful there’s a huge number of aspects that need to be considered, planned for and, ultimately, implemented in a timely and coordinated manner. These include:
Engineering and mechanical services
A host of other, smaller aspects that arise during the process.
From the inception of the concept to the final completed office design, there are countless steps and stages along the way – and if these aren’t completed in a correct and timely order, the entire process risks being delayed (which can be very costly) or totally falling over.
In an integrated process, the architect, designer, project manager, builder and every other contracted worker involved works alongside one another with a common goal. If any changes or issues arise, they can be dealt with quickly, effectively and usually much more economically, because there’s one point of contact overseeing the entire running of the job. So, rather than having to communicate with project managers, designers and builders separately, you (as the client) can take any questions or raise any issues with just one person who is monitoring every aspect of the project.
In addition, because the initial appraisal, concept, construction and fitout all come within the same budget, things happen faster, more flexibly and in a streamlined way. On occasion there are elements that may even overlap, which can save valuable time. An ‘integrated approach’ means exactly that: everything and everyone works together rather than disjointedly, to their own schedule and, as all too often happens, at odds with one another.
What is a design and build company?
Put very simply this kind of company offers the ‘full package’. This includes:
Appraisal and quote
Health, safety and compliance certificates
By bringing together the planning, aesthetics, project management and construction under one roof, with one central contact, a good design and build company will commit to providing the ideal balance of efficiency, creativity and functionality for a commercial client.
Here at buildgen, multiple experts, including the project manager, designer and project director, work as a team at every stage – and the beauty for our clients is that they have just a single point of contact to answer queries (at any time) about every stage, from inception to completion.
We assist in the search for an appropriate space if necessary, then carry out a survey and prepare costs and budget planning. We’ll then work closely alongside a business in order to understand their brand identity, carry out storage and furniture audits, and discover exactly what they want to achieve from and within a new office design. We then create a comprehensive brief which is presented to the client.
Why is design and build popular?
When it comes to refurbishing, relocating or creating a completely new office design, the streamlining of the creative and construction elements of a job allows for greater control in terms of budget, timings and flexibility. The most popular reasons a commercial, corporate or retail business will come to us to take on a project are:
Reduction of stress: no dealing with multiple contractors
Single point of contact for everything
Time management issues
Minimise impact to working practices
Minimise disruption to customer experience
Ensure compliance with regulations and legislation
Expertise in planning: optimising space, intuitive design and functionality.
One other very important aspect that more and more businesses are recognising as a vital consideration in their success, is that it’s been proven that the environment in which staff works can have a huge impact on both their well-being and performance. Enhancing or remodelling work spaces with cutting-edge technology to create a truly bespoke working environment can transform a workplace, work practices and, in turn, a workforce.
But achieving this requires highly specialised expertise, because uninformed decisions at this level can cost a business dearly - both financially and emotionally. The raison d’être of firms like buildgen is that we are skilled at designing, implementing and managing the ‘big picture’, and taking the stress away from a business owner or manager – allowing them to remain working in and on their core business.
While there are many and varied reasons to choose to partner with a reputable firm for your commercial, retail or office project, it can be distilled to a few key advantages.
Flexibility: There are very few jobs that don’t need tweaks or even major changes along the way. However, when you’re dealing with just one contact for everything, it’s much easier to implement changes in an effective and timely way.
Cost: A budget is agreed and everything is clearly detailed from the get-go, so there are no hidden or unexpected costs.
Timeliness: An integrated structure ensures efficiency and co-ordination of workflow, meaning there are no costly delays.
Quality and accountability: Because everyone is working together (designers, project manager, project director, contractors) there’s no passing of responsibility. Everybody works together to achieve the highest quality outcome for the client.
The ‘traditional’ approach to office design entails a huge amount of legwork long before any work begins. You need to identify, research and employ a variety of contractors and consultants, which may include any or all of the following: architect, designer, project manager, interior designer, electrical consultant, quantity surveyor, structural engineer, sustainability specialist and a construction team. That’s just the start – then the real work begins as you try to coordinate and oversee the project while keeping to a budget.
Put that way it’s not really that hard to see why one-stop design and build firms are so popular, is it?
Remember: one size does not fit all
At buildgen we believe the key to our success is our commitment to clear and focused communication with each and every client. Our many years of experience has shown us that designing and constructing office space is not a one size fits all process, so our team works very closely alongside a client before any decisions are made, in order to get a deep and thorough insight into their brand identity and company ethos.
This kind of truly bespoke service is absolutely invaluable to ensuring that the final result not only looks great and serves a brand’s identity, but also provides intuitive functionality, promotes staff well-being and productivity and fits the precise and individual needs of a business.
What to look for in a design and build company
It’s important that you, as a client, feel comfortable working alongside your chosen company – because this is a relationship that, by its nature, needs to endure throughout what can be a long, costly and sometimes frankly challenging process. You need to be completely confident that the firm with which you’re entering into a contract has your best interests at heart, and has the skills, expertise and credentials to take a project to its successful completion – and beyond.
As well as being able to deliver on the technical aspects, it’s important that you feel at ease with the budget and timescale the company is proposing. Open, two-way communication is vital and you should feel comfortable that any questions or issues you may encounter will be dealt with in an easy to understand, jargon-free manner.
Ideally you should insist on a face-to-face meeting so you can get to know who you’re dealing with and ascertain they’re a good fit for your particular project. The key attributes you should be able to tick off include:
Clear and focused communication
Health and safety plan
Regular progress reports
Plan to minimise disruption to customers and staff
Ability to provide an integrated service
Single point of contact
In a meeting with a potential build and design company, as well as finding out the steps involved in the project, you should also check to ensure that once it is completed, every last detail is taken care of. An official handover process should include:
Testing and safety certificates
Maintenance and operation manuals
Buildgen: get in touch
If you’re looking to engage the services of a specialist design and build firm to take care of your bespoke office design or renovation, feel free to get in touch with our passionate and experienced team at buildgen. We’re extremely proud of our reputation for delivering high quality concepts and fitouts in London and we’re dedicated to ensuring your bespoke workplace is enhanced by our creative concepts – promoting maximum wellbeing of your staff and inspiring productivity and profitability.