We are doing everything we can to ensure we have continuity of business, while heeding the very latest Government advice. We monitor this daily and adapt our procedures and messaging immediately to any changes that are required. We would like to express our sympathies to everyone who has been affected and continues to be affected by the COVID-19 virus.

We would also like to show our support to our teams and key workers who are working tirelessly across the country.

For more about how Willmott Dixon group are responding to the everyday changes of Covid-19 please click here.
-27 Sep. 2017

The Difference Between Cat A and Cat B Fit-outs

Every area of work or industry has its own language and this can make it very difficult for people to understand and know what is being talked about. The construction and refurbishment  industry is no exception.

This article identifies  the differences between Commercial Cat A and Cat B fit-outs, so you can be more confident at knowing what these are, and what each entail.

An example of Willmott Dixon Interiors Commercial Cat A project

What is Cat A

In short, Cat A is the very basic fit-out which a commercial building  undergoes during refurbishment. Many people describe this as the ‘empty shell’ phase as it is simply essential works and construction done that generally do not add to the aesthetic, function, or usability of the establishment.

Types of works which are carried out in Cat A fit-outs include, but are not limited to:

  • Installing electrics and other mechanical items – this includes lighting and air conditioning and ducting systems which need to be ‘tucked away.’ These kind of things are not normally seen by the individual at the end product, but are often taken for granted that they exist and are in working order
  • Toilets shells and associated areas
  • If the building is to have a lift, then work will be to done to ‘house’ the facility at this stage
  • Floor and ceiling work: this could include raising the floors or adding suspended ceilings where necessary
  • Fire facilities – these are very important  to comply with both health and safety and building regulations. You will normally find that any fire related works are conducted at the Cat A stage.

What is a Cat B fit out

An example of Willmott Dixon Interiors Commercial Cat B project

Cat B commercial fit-outs are the ones which most people are familiar with and certainly something that everyone can relate to. Generally speaking, Cat B fit-outs are everything that Cat A fit-outs are not, but it is far more than this. If you imagine that with a Cat A fit-out, the blank canvas has been completed and the ‘foundations’ of the structure have been set. Cat B then is moving this along to include the fitting of the fabric of the building or space. A good and alternative way to imagine this is to think when you relocate offices  and the place is completely new and empty, with just the office space  in its  existing form.  You could then come along and install partitioning, flooring, IT and service infrastructure  other decorations to develop  your office requirements and place your own corporate branding . This is essentially what Cat B fit-outs are.  

Cat B is all related to fitting out a new or existing office space based on customer requirements and personal choice. Some of the types of work which can be specifically undertaken during a Cat B fit-out include:

  • Furniture – and fixtures and fittings related to this
  • Reception areas and any meetings and conference rooms
  • Internal doors and small scale partitioning systems
  • General decorating including branding of the company or business.

Again this is not an exhaustive list, and there is great scope for works within a Cat B fit-out.

Now explanations of both have been explored, it is easy and simple to see what each mean and the differences between them. This will help it to become easier to understand which fit out may be required based on the stage of any project.

To find out more on this topic, visit our interior fit out section, or if you need more particular information read our Cat A or Cat B pages.

Contact Us

Do you have a Cat A or Cat B question or project in mind?

Please contact our Commercial sector specialist Connie Robson-Velaetis

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