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  • Writer's pictureLynsey Woods

Office Fitouts - How Much Do They Cost?

What we do know now is the collective experience of the past two years has left a lasting imprint that has fundamentally changed how we define the role of work in our lives; this has had a seismic impact on the physical office as leaders currently puzzle over the purpose of the office, and how to make hybrid work, work.

Are you thinking about a relocation, upgrade, or reconfiguration like the rest of us – but not sure how much they cost? Well, you’re in the right place. In short, there isn’t a definitive answer as it’s not one size fits all; there are a range of aspects to consider with many variables at play (more on that later), and the budget will be uniquely defined by size, location, and specifications.

This blog provides you with a basic budget guide, factors that can influence your budget, and tips that could save you money.

According to Thought Hub, research shows that 70% of small business owners do not adequately plan or budget for the fit out of their commercial office space, which can be a big (and expensive) problem when it comes to crunch time. Yep, we’re not going to lie, reimaging your office (in any shape or form) is a costly exercise, however when executed correctly, the result is a beautifully formed and functional space delivered on time, and to budget, that will set you up for success.

You’ve made it this far, so the chances are you are a little unsure (or maybe a lot) of where to start? Here is our two-part answer:

  1. Start by reading this blog, and

  2. Engage a professional that can help you make informed decisions, including budget and process #hereforit

Disclaimer: the following is to be used as a guide only, and we recommend chatting to an expert.



Your timeline will shape your costs. The shorter the timeline, the more out of hours and weekend work you’ll require = can be expensive. A typical fitout for $1M/ 800m2 project can take 8 weeks to construct, with lots of juicy fun stuff that needs to happen before works commence – interior design, contracts, approvals, furniture selection (to name a few), and this can take up to 8 weeks – so you’re looking at 16 weeks after you’ve signed your lease. Permits, structural compliance, and relocation requirements can delay your project, and an experienced professional should know how to navigate murky territory like this (again, #hereforit) and mitigate any challenges as they (almost always) pop up.

Scope Of Works


In our post pandemic world, the impact of effective office design has been reinforced as we’ve seen a rise in progressive layouts and office environments where health, wellness, and connectivity are being prioritized. Bench-style desk seating, outdoor space for work, and play, a high ratio of huddle rooms, and dedicated wellness/ quiet rooms are just some of the trends we’re seeing today. Businesses are becoming more strategic in understanding what their people need to be productive, and safe, and how to optimise their space, this is where an experienced interior designer comes in to bring the big ideas to life and incorporate the thoughtful and human-focused design elements that will last the test of time.

How Much Work Does Your Space Need?

This is an important budgetary consideration as the cost impact could be significant. Depending on your objectives, there are turnkey solutions that businesses can literally plug into and go with minimum changes required (these are called speculative suites); and on the opposite end of the scale – there are vacant premises (called a made-good) that offer more flexibility to tailor to your business, this option will require design work, and a complete build, with many shades of grey in between. Older buildings may require more remedial works, and newer buildings can have complex building management systems that may need specialist contractors. Not sure what’s right for you? A Commercial Real Estate Agent can talk you through all the options, including budget so you can make the best call for your business.


Based on the recent Work Trends Index 2022, the top two reasons employees have left their job in the last year – personal wellbeing or mental health (24%), and work-life balance (24%) which is why health, well being and balance is of critical importance in the office. A fully functional breakout space, outdoor spaces, and end of trip facilities (to name few) can add to the overall employee experience, promote wellbeing, and can say a lot about how you value culture, and your people; however, these options are almost always custom, complex, and cost more money. In our opinion trimmings like this pay for themselves in the form of employee retention, engagement, and empowers people to do their best, so worth the investment if you ask us.

GBST Commercial Construction Project


We recommend starting with a space utilisation assessment to make data driven decisions about how much space you need for your company to operate. According to The Age, Australian’s now work an average of 2 days a week from home; therefore businesses have been busy reimagining the purpose of the office with many opting to downsize, reconfigure, or move based on their new ways of working. In accordance with Australia Standards, a minimum of 10m2 per occupant is required for all offices, with the average being 15m2. Understanding each industry is different, and every business has unique requirements, you can start with this basic space calculator here. Our biggest tip in this space is – factor your company’s growth so you don’t run out of space in 2 or 3 years.


Mainly influenced by the hybrid working model, the integration of technology is at the top of the priority list for businesses. To create a frictionless and connected ‘work from anywhere’ experience, tools and technology should be part of the early spatial planning conversation as they will determine your ability to be flexible, productive, and collaborative in today’s market. Wireless services, desk booking, mobile options, and multimedia capabilities are just some of the areas we’d cover when talking through the must haves, the nice to haves, and how to get the most out of your budget.

GBST Commercial Construction Project

Furniture Requirements

Standing desks, acoustics, and task lighting are just some of the unique factors that are often overlooked when budgeting for furniture. With the workplace experience being a key factor in the return to office and engagement strategy, companies are paying more attention to the health and wellbeing of their staff, so ensuring your people have the right tools to perform, in a comfortable setting should be a priority, and furniture plays a big role in this. The good news is we leave no stone unturned, meaning, we’ll talk through all the options, the 1%ers, and the latest industry trends so you can decide what’s best for your people, and space.


  1. Do the leg work – and by this we mean spatial planning so you’re not literally paying for it later

  2. Reuse furniture – an easy cost saver

  3. Sustainable options – lighting, water, and temperature measures save your bottom line in the long run

  4. The kitchenette – sometimes less can be just as good as more

  5. Hybrid working – hot desking could be the right option for you, meaning less desks, and space needed

  6. Location, location, location – explore a few locations to give you an idea of what’s top of the pops, and what’s more affordable

  7. Plan with the future in mind – are you set up for growth?


As we highlighted above, she’s a bit of a process that can be really overwhelming with many moving parts. Engaging an expert will save you time, money, stress, and will make the best use of your space. If you are still reading (#thankyou) – we’ve had 20 glorious years of experience in this space, and we love what we do, so you’re always in safe hands with us. At PALM, we provide a concept to completion service, that includes:

  • Spatial planning

  • Workplace strategy

  • Interior design

  • Furniture, fixtures & equipment recommendations

  • Budgeting and value engineering

  • Project management

  • Contingency planning

Just don’t take our word for it, you can check out the many projects we’ve delivered, and if you’d like to start the conversation about where to next with your space – please contact us today.

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