Your guide to the three main stages of tenant fit-outs

A tenant fit-out is the process of making a space ready for occupancy by a tenant—whether for office space, retail stores, restaurants and cultural or entertainment venues, or development for other purposes. Fit-outs, however, take place over three main stages, and the stage at which a tenant enters into the process is a factor in determining the scope of the work that needs to be done by the tenant.

The following is a brief guide to the three main stages of tenant fit-outs:

Shell and Core

Shell and core is the first stage of a fit-out, and refers to the basic foundation of the building, or its shell. Typically, a shell and core fit-out establishes the basic structure, the cladding, common areas like lobbies, and external structures like parking areas.

Cat A

The next stage of a fit-out is known as Cat A. Cat A fit-outs bring the property from the most basic structure up to a condition that is closer to readiness for occupancy. While what’s included in a Cat A fit-out can vary, often it will involve building upon the basic structure to incorporate basic  electrical and safety systems, as well as the ceilings and floors. By the time a Cat A fit-out is complete, most buildings are equipped with lighting, HVAC systems, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems.

Cat B

Cat B is the final stage of a tenant fit-out, and it’s where all of the customization takes place. Once the basic structure is in place and it’s been built out to a point where the main elements of occupancy have been taken care of, it’s time for tenants to make the space their own.

Just as with Cat A fit-outs, there’s not a set list of items that are always included at this stage, but many Cat B fit-outs involve adding personalized touches like fixtures, décor, the partitioning of space into designated rooms or offices, IT infrastructure, and more.

Understanding terms like shell and core, Cat A, and Cat B can help tenants approach fit-outs with the knowledge they need to make informed and budget-conscious decisions. A.F. Alber has over three decades of experience guiding clients through the fit-out process, contributing expert insight and value from day one of their involvement in the project. To get the most value out of your next fit-out project, contact A.F. Alber today.