What to look out for in a fit-out contractor
23 August 2016

A great commercial fit-out can give new life to your building, increase occupier satisfaction, attract great quality tenants, extend occupant retention, and boost the owner’s bottom line. It’s also a lot less expensive when compared to major works, like a complete rebuild. According to Bill McClelland, Total’s Estimating Manager, Interiors & Facility Maintenance, “A new fit-out is about coming into a building and providing a breath of fresh air. You must be adaptive to every client’s requirements, whether that’s ripping apart the internals, building or upgrading a new lobby, upgrading services to BCA standards, even putting in new handrails or compliant glass.

“In a big, commercial environment, one of the most important client deliverables is a happy tenant. You have to ensure they are safe while works are underway, and that they are able to perform their daily tasks. That means working around office hours if need be. As far as the tenant is concerned, you want a situation where the builders are hardly seen or heard.

“If I could offer one piece of advice to any owner or developer who was considering a fit-out, it would be to choose a builder that truly understands about working in a live environment. Choose someone with an impeccable delivery record.”

Bill is also keen to note that, by engaging construction expertise on smaller projects like fit-outs, clients get a chance to decide if the contractor can be relied on to deliver. In the contractor’s favour; if they can prove themselves at this level, they can leverage that good experience to build a solid relationship with the owner/developer and become involved in even bigger projects.

“Total is very familiar with the design and construct process,” says Bill. “Essentially, we handle projects from concept to completion. Our Interiors & Facility Maintenance division is about facilitating that process on a smaller scale. The other advantage for the client is that, even though these are comparatively smaller projects, we are backed by quality assurance, systems and infrastructure that aren’t available to a smaller builder. You get to the finished result more quickly, and it’s often a better result.

“The thing that’s important to any owner/developer is that their contractor never loses its client focus. The moment we lose the ability to understand the client’s expectation of the end product is the moment we have lost our way. When the client has an issue or a project, I want them to ring us. You shouldn’t accept mediocrity.”

Got any fit-out tips or advice to share? Comment away!