What is Cat A office space and what are the benefits?

When starting the process of finding new office space, there’s a chance you’ll hear a fair bit of industry jargon. 

If you’ve reached the stage of discussing and deciding on an office fit out, there are two main types: Cat A and Cat B. In this article we look in more detail at what Cat A is and the benefits of this type of office space.

What is Cat A office space?

 

Cat A or category A office space is a condition of office space left by the landlord in preparation for an incoming tenant. A Cat A space generally has an accessible but unfinished floor, lighting and air conditioning installed and capped off services for a tenant to install their own kitchen/tea point. 

A recent Cat A+ fit out we worked on for Akoya

 

What’s the difference between Cat A and Cat A+?

 

Over the last few years there has been a rise in what is now called Cat A+ space. This is where the landlord speculates on what an incoming tenant may want in their office, fitting it out accordingly. 

This helps avoid large future cap-ex spend by the tenant, thereby making the office space more desirable. While this increases the tenant’s rent over the term (3 or 5 years generally), the cost becomes more of an op-ex spend across a 5 year lifecycle. This is more appealing to some corporations. 

For more details on the different types of office design and build, check out our detailed guide to Shell and Core, Cat A, Cat A+ and Cat B fit outs.

 

What are the benefits of Cat A office space?

 

Customisation 

 

The key benefit of a Cat A space is that the office space is a blank canvas. If your business has unique needs or you suspect you may have some niche requirements, taking a Cat A space is often the best route forward. 

Often brands who need something out of the ordinary or want to create a unique, campus-type feeling will procure this category of office space. The monetary spend and time on the project is much higher, but the end result can be stunning. 

 

Furniture

 

Another benefit is the freedom to purchase your own furniture. This can be an asset to the business going forward as opposed to leasing landlord-installed furniture, paying for it during your tenure, then not being able to take it with you at the end of your office lease. 

 

Modifications

 

With your own modifications to a Cat A space you are also able to ensure everything is done to the standard you desire. This might mean the A/C has controls in the meeting rooms, the meeting rooms are fully soundproofed and the AV is integrated into your current systems and set-up. 

It’s almost impossible that a pre-fitted space will have this level of refinement when it comes to smaller details. This is important to remember as it can lead to capex spend you were trying to avoid. Small details are huge! 

 

How much does a Cat A fit out cost?

 

The cost of an office fit out has increased in recent years, particularly for Cat A spaces. At Soul Spaces, fit out only costs still sit between £45-£60 per sq. ft, depending on your business and your needs. As a rough guide, £1,500 per person for furniture is generally accurate. 

In our experience, smaller businesses tend to find time constraints more inhibiting than expenditure. If this is the case, we recommend employing a client side project manager or consultant to assist on the project.

Yes, more cost! But more time for you to do what you are good at. If they are good at their job, they should save you most of their wage over the next 3-6 months by driving hard bargains with all suppliers involved and offering practical advice that only comes via experience. 

 

Find out more

 

At Soul Spaces we are unique in offering true 360 service. We have unrivalled experience in both finding and fitting out Cat A office space in London.

For more information, get in touch and a member of our office space team will reach out to find out more about your requirements.