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The rise of the Cat A+ schemes ('plug and play')


If you’re a developer you might be already familiar with the industry’s terms for categorisation of refurbishment and fit-out works, particularly CAT A and Cat B. But a term and project type we’re becoming more and more familiar with these days is the ‘in-between’ option of CAT A+.

Cat A+ scheme in Hamilton House

The difference between CAT A and CAT A+

Developers define CAT A refurbishment in different ways, depending on the type of works needed in order to bring the space to its original, open-plan state after a tenancy ends. The idea of CAT A work is to make the space marketable as a ‘blank canvas’ ready for a new tenant to come in and add their own fit-out scheme. Traditionally the scheme might include suspended ceilings and raised floors, internal finishes and basic mechanical and electrical (M&E) services set to an open-plan layout effectively creating a ‘white box’ ready for the tenants own fit-out.

Often in today’s market landlords want to include more elaborate finishes, feature floors and lighting with exposed services that create a more an industrial style look and feel resulting in a more stylish and inviting space for the incoming occupiers’ design scheme. Our Hamilton House project is a great example.

Self-serviced offices that allow dogs in.

Important features of the CAT A+ scheme

More recently entrepreneurs are looking for landlords to go one step further, and this is where CAT A+ also known as ‘ready to work’ schemes are introduced. This latest shift can be defined as the bridge between CAT A and Cat B project, as once the CAT A+ refurbishment is complete, there are often only minor fit-out works left for the tenant to personalise their space and move in.

As traditional lease models continue to be challenged by the co-working and serviced office market a CAT A+ finish represents a competitive option for prospective tenants. Some of the features of these schemes are:

  • decorations and finishes
  • fitted kitchens with appliances
  • reception space
  • ‘plug & play’ services
  • wellbeing areas (break-out space, showers, cycle storage, sometimes even a gym or outdoor terrace)

Take a look at our scheme Tabard Works.

Plug and play office at Tabard Works.

Cat A+ attracts tenants as it can reduce their up-front costs and decreases the occupancy rates. ”

In today’s competitive rental market, these schemes can be really exciting, well thought out and designed schemes in their own right offering both landlord and tenant the perfect solution.

So, if you’re a landlord, building surveyor or tenant, we can work with you to define what you need a space do, then carefully design, plan and deliver the project to the highest possible standards – whether that’s CAT A or A+.

Why not talk to us about how we can create a space that works for you?

More Cat A+ projects for you:

Whether it’s office or industrial, why not send us a brief for your next refurbishment and fit-out project.

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or call on +44 (0) 20 7240 7711