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Construction glossary.

Biophilic design

Biophilia means ‘love of nature’. Biophilic design is a concept used within the office refurbishment and fit-out industry to connect people and the natural world with numerous benefits to their health and well-being. To create a biophilic environment, the design may include green moss-walls, an abundance of plants, natural wood and unique change in office layout to facilitate these features. One of the first co-working spaces created in Finsbury Park – The Coalface – embraced this concept.


The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the leading sustainability assessment method providing independent third-party certification for the assessment of sustainability performance of individual buildings, communities and infrastructure projects. From new builds to in-use and refurbishment projects, BREEAM recognizes and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle. Last year we achieved a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating for Forbury Court, a Cat A project.

Cat A

Cat A refurbishment is the next step after the ‘Shell and Core’ process. At this stage of a project, the basics of M&E will be installed with toilets, lifts, suspended ceiling systems and raised floors in place ready for the space to be optimised. It’s likely to also be decorated with flooring laid so it’s a ‘blank canvas’ ready for a tenant to complete the fit-out – Cat B – stage so that they have a space that meets their needs.

Cat A+

Usually includes a floor and ceiling finished to industry standard, wall decorations, toilet facilities, fitted kitchens and new or reconfigured M&E services. We called a canvas ready for a tenant to move into and to incorporate its business culture.

Cat B

This process typically follows on from Cat A refurbishment. During a Cat B fit-out, the new tenants work closely with designers, architects and contractors to develop a design that meets their business needs and reflects their company culture. The process usually involves installation of the IT infrastructure and configuration, partitioning the space to create offices, meeting rooms, break-out areas and kitchens. It may also involve additional decoration within the space and the buying and installation of furniture and equipment.


The use of a work space by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so they can share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.


First created in 1960 by Francis Henry Crittal, an ironmonger from east of London, the crittall refers to internal partitions, connecting doorways, and they’re great for dividing up and zoning spaces. Find out how they look in our latest office refurbishment project.

Dilapidation works

In the refurbishment industry, dilapidation works refer to the process of repairing a damaged building, space or unit; the tenant of the space is responsible for repairs as part of their lease.


We refer to industrial when we are refurbishing warehouses units. These can be fully redecorated, following strip out, with varying degrees of structural work involved internally and externally, including ground works. Unit 5a is a great example of an industrial project we’ve delivered.

IPS system

IPS (Integrated Plumbing System) is a fully adjustable steel frame fitted with decorative removable panels and available with a standard range of factory-installed sanitaryware, pre-plumbed and tested, and is supplied as a complete module that requires only to be installed and connected to site water supply and services. Credit here


In construction terms ‘M&E’ refers to mechanical and electrical systems.

Mechanical systems can include infrastructure, plant and machinery, heating and ventilation. Electrical systems may include power supply and distribution, telecommunications, computing instrumentation, and control systems.

Raft ceilings

The rafts consist of a self-supporting frame fixed to the ceiling with an adjustable suspension system and combined with ceiling tiles.

Shell and core

A shell and core process focuses on getting just the essential works on the external (shell) and interior (core) of a building completed ready for a space to be fully refurbished. The basic infrastructure of the building may look finished from the outside but there are likely to be exposed brickwork walls, ceilings and concrete floors on the inside.

Strip Out

Strip out refers to the process in which all the existing fixtures and fittings are removed from an office or industrial space; it can be anything from unwanted broken furniture to a reinforced concrete staircase.

Suspended ceiling system

A suspended ceiling system is a secondary ceiling hung below the main structural ceiling that creates a void between these two structures. In the industry, it can also be referred to as a ‘drop ceiling’, ‘T-bar ceiling’, ‘false ceiling’, ‘grid ceiling’, ‘drop-in ceiling’ and ‘drop-out ceiling’. We created numerous ‘drop-in ceilings’ in Salisbury House.