What To Consider When It Comes To Office Fit-outs In Singapore

February 13, 2019 | Commercial Real Estate

When it comes to commercial office fit-outs, planning is crucial, no matter where your office is located.

There are some aspects that will be common wherever you are in the world and others that are specific to certain markets. In this article, we’ll look at both the general and specific characteristics of office fit-outs in the Singapore market.

General considerations

Before starting a fit-out, it is important to remember the old saying that ‘those that fail to plan, plan to fail’.

Wherever you are, consider the following:

1) Get key staff members involved in the process.

Ask your employees for suggestions and ideas to improve workflow and communication – after all, they are the ones who will be using the space on a daily basis.

2) Consider workplace trends.

Studies show that around 50% of office workers consider their work environment as one of the most important factors when selecting a workplace. What’s more, around 20% of office workers would consider quitting a job if the workplace becomes too ‘old-fashioned’!

These figures go to show how important it is for employers to keep up on top of the latest workplace trends.

Image of a modern workspace with computer and phone | Singapore fit-out article

3) Balance your short, medium and long-term needs.

If you’re signing a long-term lease, balancing your current and future objectives can really feel like a juggling act.

Be sure not to allow short-term goals, such as budget and schedule, to completely quash long-term objectives like attracting and retaining talent, branding, improving staff morale, productivity and collaboration, reducing outgoings, technological integrations and more!

4) Set a budget for the fit-out (and make sure you stick to it)

This is crucial and will require a bit of consideration – from the type of fit out you need and technical requirements, to the number of staff you need to accommodate (both now and in the future). Be realistic about what you can afford and take your time planning so you do not run into any nasty, costly or time-consuming surprises.

5) Hire a strong design team and a good project manager to ensure quality work.

A professional fit-out company will be able to help you accurately work out what you need, what it will cost and how long it will take. They will also discuss other points that you may not have considered, including making the most of your floor space (space optimisation).

Image of a modern office fit-out | Singapore fit-out article

Singapore-specific considerations

Costs

Office premises in Singapore may come bare, partially fitted or fully fitted. If any fit-out work is required, the tenant bears all the cost. This could include:

  • internal partitioning work
  • providing furniture
  • carpeting
  • altering building or ceiling boards for fire protection
  • modifying air-conditioning, mechanical or electrical systems.

Any modifications are subject to the landlord’s approval.

In Singapore, the cost of an office fit-out really depends on the quality and extent of the work.  As a general guide, expect to pay the following rates for furniture, materials, and professional fees:

  • Low range – S$60-$80 per square foot
  • Medium range – S$80-$100 per square foot
  • High range – S$100 per square foot and above.

Timing

This depends on factors like the scope of the work and whether imported or locally-made materials are used. As a ball-park, fit-out projects typically take between four-to-ten weeks.

Insurance

In Singapore, it is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain appropriate insurance cover during the fit-out process, such as fire and perils coverage.

Renovation deposit

In Singapore, it is common for tenants to provide their landlord with a renovation deposit to cover any potential associated fit-out costs such as:

  • a contractor needing to rectify any damage caused to common areas of the office building
  • removing debris
  • complying with building regulations and gaining the necessary approvals.

This renovation deposit is refunded if there are no additional fit-out costs.

Reinstatement

It is also common practice for tenants to be required to reinstate their commercial space to its original tenantable condition (fair wear and tear excepted) upon the expiry of their lease. This may mean reversing some of the fit-out work if this is requested by the landlord.

Image of skyscrapers in Singapore | Singapore fit-out article

How we can help

The Tenant CS Singapore team brings over 20 years of experience in the Singapore market. We can help you to plan and manage your fit-out project and take the time to understand our clients’ fit-out needs so we can provide the best possible advice. We represent tenants exclusively, so we have no conflicts of interest.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you!

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