Office Refurbishment & Fit-out Costs.

by zhoosh_admin | Nov 14, 2019

This is a question that we are asked frequently — how much does an office fit-out cost? There is no simple one-size-fits-all answer. However, we can provide pricing guides and cost indications for some of the variables that are encountered in a commercial fit-out project.

Like anything involved in business solutions achieved through building improvements, a fit-out project is primarily determined by what you would like to achieve for your business. To assist you in your decisions, we can provide the typical costs involved in the four main areas of a commercial office fit-out or refurbishment project.

NOTE: All costs listed below are possible examples and are exclusive of GST.

Basic Refurbishment Design Costs:

Typically for a basic commercial refurbishment, there is no alteration to the specified systems of the building. This means that the need to obtain a building consent is unlikely. However, there are occasions when a landlord may require a building consent exemption, and that typically costs around $500 in council fees.

In addition to the cost of the consent exemption, a fire engineers report must be factored into your budget, a fee that typically ranges from $1800 – $2500. Further, the cost for the ventilation report can vary from $700 – $3000 depending on the scale and scope of the refurbishment.

Additional design time will be required to compile the consent documentation, and this typically costs $2000 – $3000. This particular design time is over and above the concept designs and construction drawings that are detailed below.

Almost all office refurbishments will require some level of planning and design. These may include selections of interior finishes and design schemes, colour coordination, construction drawings, and detailed plans. As a standard rule of thumb, a basic office refurbishment would require a floor plan, finishes plan, electrical and data plan, elevations, and construction details. This results in a design cost for an average office of 400m2 that would range from $4,000 – $7,000, depending on the complexity of the individual project.

Major Refurbishment or New Fit-Out Project Design Costs:

A new building consent will be required for the following circumstances:

  1. A more complex refurbishment.
  2. A more extensive project that contains proposals to change, alter or modify specified systems such as new or modified fire protection, ventilation, sanitary works, or structural changes.

Below are the indicative design costs associated with a new or major refurbishment project:

  • Architectural and interior design $80/m2
  • Ceiling design and engineering $13/m2
  • Ventilation design & engineering $6/m2
  • Fire design & engineering $12/m2
  • Furniture layout design $4/m2
  • Council consent fees $18/m2

Construction Costs:

In this section, we will look at the typical building costs for a refurbishment or fit-out project. As with the design component, any indicative costs listed in this section are to be regarded as a rough guide, and they exclude GST, project management fees, preliminary expenses, and general costs.

In a typical refurbishment, the general scope allows for new or altered partition walls, generally with floor-to-ceiling glazing. Further, the refurbishment typically includes upgrades to electrical and data systems and a repaint of the internal walls. This results in an average office interior cost of around $140-$240/m2.

Additional costs to update or modify the following:

  • Lay new carpet tiles $80/m2
  • Install new suspended grid ceiling $65/m2
  • Update lighting $50/m2
  • Fire protection upgrade $80/m2
  • Ventilation modification and upgrades $50/m2
  • Furniture supply & installation $140/m2

Project Management & Preliminary & General:

Several items are frequently included under the title P & G or contractors’ margin. However, to simplify things, we have bundled those items together as one item in this guide.

Project management costs are the main contractor’s fee for managing the project. These costs include the coordination of the sub-contractors. Further, the project manager is responsible for maintaining health and safety and ensuring quality, project budget, and timeline.

P & G or Preliminary and General are costs such as waste bins, temporary power supplies, cleaning of buildings, temporary hoarding, protection of fencing, access, or any other project-related expenses that are not directly related to any one trade in particular. The main contractor usually allows for these costs to save each trade from the need to charge individually for their own items.

As a rule of thumb, the P & G project management cost for a simple refurbishment project is between $15-$20 /m2


To summarise, there are usually one of two scenarios:

  1. A basic office or commercial fit-out that modifies an existing space, reuses existing furniture, and is comprised of work that would not require consent.
  2. A new fit-out or major refurbishment where consent would be necessary, and new office furniture would be purchased as part of the project.

Scenario 1 – A basic refurbishment would typically cost $250 – $400/m2

Scenario 2 – A major refurbishment or new fit-out could cost between $650 – $900/m2

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