The Commercial Renovation Process

The Commercial Fit Out Process

There is an air of excitement around planning a new office fit out that really gets people interested and highly engaged. This is the same inexplicable pleasure that most people have when they are buying new stationary.

Planning a commercial fit out not only involves imagining just how big your business can grow, it also involves checking out cool office designs on the internet and making a vision board of ideas.

You are probably excited about your upcoming commercial fit out and the wealth of possibilities available to you, but you may not actually know what such a fit out will actually entail.

Knowing the steps involved can help you to plan and anticipate problems, as well as keep your cool when things don’t go to plan.

The specifics of each commercial fit out will vary of course, but most will follow these steps…

Time Management

You will be restricted by time when it comes to fitting out a new office and moving into it. Financially you are best off with the least amount of time paying two leases, so you want your planning done and construction ready to go as soon as possible after you sign the new lease.

The fact that everything will probably take longer than you think should be factored into your planning right now.

Plan Your Brief

For more tips about going through this stage, see our article on preparing for a commercial fit out.

Again this stage could take longer than you think, so start doing your thinking and planning now, talk to your staff and create a vision board and budget.

This could be an excellent time to bring in an expert in interior design and commercial office fit out, who can to help you with all aspects of your planning, including:

  • space planning and flexible office options
  • interior architecture
  • use of natural resources
  • storage needs
  • data capabilities
  • recommended contractors to work with
  • location and building recommendations
  • and so much more.

Finding The Right Space

Following the completion of your brief, you should be able to find an office space or location that will best match your needs and wants. A space that allows for the functionality of your business and it’s staff, and a space that invites movement, creativity and allows nature to shine in.

Find A Project Manager (or individual contractors)

You will either contract a commercial fit out company to project manage your renovation, or you could manage it yourself and contract individual contractors to do the work.

At Interior Flow we can do the interior design and drafting, as well as manage the build and associated contractors. Ask us for a quote. 

It’s helpful to maintain a document with all of the contractors names, contact details, costs involved, and expected commencement and completion dates for easy access and administration.

Initial Concept Design

Allow time for this stage, depending on the project it can take a few weeks. First give your brief to the interior designer, then get a quote on the work and costings.

When you receive your quote, ask questions about anything you don’t understand or any grey areas. Review contract requirements and other legalities before proceeding with the drafting stage.

Get legal advice if you need to, and make sure that your chosen contractor provides you with a timeline of how the work will progress, including design, approvals, work, adjustments, and handover.

Comprehensive Design and Approval

Allow 3-6 weeks for this stage as it is very important that you get this stage right.

Following the contract approval the interior designer will draft your construction plans and present colours, fixtures and fittings for your approval.

There will be building regulations that you need to comply with as well as local council permits which can also drag out the time frame at this stage. You may also need to provide details of any proposed works to your landlord and get their approval before getting started.


You need to keep on the ball during this stage and communicate with your contractor or project management regularly. Any changes to time-frames, costing or work should be run by you before anything is carried out.

Keep track of your project timeline to maintain your budget.

If you are managing independent contractors and your builders are less communicative, be wary of this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is running flawlessly. Make sure they talk to you regularly.

Approvals and Rectifications

Once the initial work is done you may need further approvals from councils, building commissioners, landlord, health inspectors and more. There may then be further work needed to complete the job as needed. It helps if you and your interior designer agree to the list of rectifications and cost before any further work is commenced.

At this stage your project manager should take you through a proper walk-through of the property to note anything requiring amendment prior to handover.

Practical completion and handover

This is when your new office is fitted out completely and ready for you to use.

As part of this stage, your interior designer or project manager should provide documents detailing the following:

  • Design drawings
  • Test certificates and statutory approvals
  • Instructions and training on any equipment installed
  • Maintenance information for materials used
  • There may also be more depending on your specific fit out job.

If anything doesn’t work as you agreed with your contractors then this should be rectified in a reasonable time after this date. If anything seems faulty or not as you requested it, then you should contact your contractor about this as soon as you notice it.

Commercial Fit Out: What To Keep On Top Of

This is obviously a very general guide that will vary from renovation to renovation. It will also depend on your specific business and industry, the size of your works, and your budget. But it will help if you keep on top of the following:

  • Proper research and consultation
  • Prioritising your needs and wants
  • Your time management
  • Your budget
  • The legalities of your building contracts and
  • Any external regulations you need to be following
  • Clarifying anything that you don’t understand
  • Communicating with your contractors
  • Keeping your cool

For more information on what you need to know about the steps of a commercial fit out for your business, make a time to talk to Interior Flow.


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Krystal Sagona

With over 10 years experience as a residential & commercial Interior Designer, Krystal has built a strong reputation in the design industry. Award winning designer and highly intuitively creative, Krystal has the innate ability to understand and deliver your creative brief. Krystal is a registered Draftsperson with the Victorian Building Board and a qualified Feng Shui consultant with the AFSC (Association of Feng Shui Consultants) International.