Improving Productivity in the Work Place Through Professional Office Fit-Outs

The ripe environment for economic development and growth that prevails in the Asia Pacific market has prompted companies of all sizes in the region to search for modern methods that will improve their efficiency and effectivity. Forward thinking businesses have discovered the value of focusing on the ability of the workplace to enhance employee engagement, improve experience, and increase productivity at work.

Real estate professional services and investment management firm JLL fully acknowledges this- and has ramped up even further their office fit-out services which they believe is vital for companies working towards achieving these objectives.

With its global reach and expertise, JLL has benchmarked fit-out costs across 19 major cities and geographic hubs around the APAC region for the past two years in a recent study. Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney are the most expensive markets for fit-out in the region, while Manila, Jakarta and Bangalore are the lowest-priced cost locations.

Breaking down office fit-outs

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According to JLL Head of Project and Development Services Calum Swinnerton, JLL has extensively researched and compiled typical cost break-downs for Asia Pacific office fit-outs.  Cost break-downs include Preliminaries; Builder’s Work (Non-structural works such as internal walls, flooring, built in joinery and signage); Architectural Finishing Works; Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection (MEPF) Works; Furniture & Fixtures; Audio Visual, Security and Structured Cabling Installation; Design Consultant and Professional Fees. Based on their findings, Builder’s Work, Architectural Finishing Works, and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection (MEPF) Works are the three most expensive categories for fit-out costs.

Swinnerton explains, “The usual stages of fit-out projects, based on the ‘Traditional Process’, start with Site Selection; Tender and Appointment of Design Consultants; Concept, Schematic & Detailed Design Development in conjunction with Budget Development; Tender and Appointment of Contractors/Service Providers; Fit-Out (Construction) Stage; and Project Closeout.”

The Fit-Out Period of an office fit-out depends on the size of the project and the handover condition of the leased space. A fit-out of 2,000 sqm. and below would take 45 to 60 days but larger projects involving 5,000 sqm. or bigger may take at least three months. Schedules are also dictated by the lead-in schedule for imported items such as System Furniture, Chairs, Carpet and M&E Equipment.

The Cost and Advantage of Professional Fit-Outs

In Metro Manila such as Central Business Districts like Makati and BGC, fit-out costs are relatively the same. For Fit-Outs done outside Metro Manila and in provinces such as Cebu, the costs can be 10% more expensive, and project durations can be about 20% longer. This is due to additional logistic costs, since imported materials & equipment normally have to come to Manila still, and then get doubled handled and shipped to Cebu. Also most major projects in the provinces, utilize Manila-based consultants and contractors, thus adding to the cost.

Outweighing the costs of a fit-out are the benefits to be derived by Companies. For Projects in the Provinces, the Lease Rate are normally lower than Manila. Also energy costs can be significantly reduced with right sizing and design scheme of Mechanical Systems, use of energy efficient fixtures, use of new Technologies. Also a modern & relevant design theme to Offices in terms of finishes, fixtures and layout, will create a happy working environment, increase morale of employees, increase their efficiency and reduce attrition.

Swinnerton highlights, “As the Philippine property market forges on alongside other Asian markets, companies should be able to realize that professional implementation of office fit-out plays a major part in how their business grows. And if the evolution and prosperity of a business is to be achieved, a collaboration with fit-out experts such as JLL should take priority based on our extensive track record & lessons learnt over the past 20 years in the Philippines, and value added guaranteed.”

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