How to recognise a credible fitout company?

24.04.18

How to choose a reliable fitout company

If you work with the right team, your project flows well, is delivered on time and in budget  but how do you find the right team? Choosing a reliable fitout company for your office, restaurant, hotel or bar launch or renovation can seem daunting. Fortunately, by asking a few key questions you can quickly spot whether a company will be the right match for your project.

Have you done a job like this before?

While you don’t need to find a company that’s done an identical job, its important to choose a company which has experience in your field and has worked on jobs of a similar scale so they can offer accurate cost estimates and timings. This is as important when speaking to large, established firms as small newcomers as the larger firms may treat jobs more casually than you, as the client, would like, and may assume that their general contractors can easily hop from building schools to fitting out a restaurant while in fact you might prefer a specialist firm for your bespoke work.

Does your designer have a particular style?

While good designers will always listen to the client, many have particular styles which can show through on every project. At Fernwood, we turn this potential problem into a strong selling point by carefully matching our designers to our clients to ensure that the natural style of the designer is a great fit for the project. This means you get an enthusiastic expert designing your project with passion every time.

Who will be in charge of my project?

Bringing a project in on time and within budget is a key for both client and construction team, yet all too many construction firms don’t bother to offer project management expertise for fitout jobs, as they are relatively small and simple. At Fernwood, we provide detailed project planning, ongoing cost reporting and weekly on-site progress meetings, ensuring that youre kept in the loop when things are going well as well as when we discover a stumbling block.

Who do I contact if things are going wrong?

Having a dedicated team means you know exactly who to contact if you have any qualms, concerns or spot a problem on the site.

Do you have all the skills I need?

General building companies often offer fitout services as an extra to their clients, and this can mean that they simply sub-contract a fitout company to do the work. At Fernwood, our experienced in-house fitout team is supplemented by specialist contractors giving us access to the skills we need to tackle any job. As an example, when working with listed buildings, we can draw on the skills of experienced stone workers, architects and conservation experts to ensure that the character of the property is maintained while also meeting modern building regulations and conservation guidelines.

Can you show me some work you’ve done?

Established companies like ours will have a host of satisfied customers, many of whom may have written references or be happy to talk to you about how their project went. If you’re looking through look books or online references, check that the company has done work in a similar style to what you’re looking for. If you’re talking to previous customers, ask what went wrong and what was done to fix it, every project hits a snag or two and its how a company deals with these stumbling blocks that really counts.

Are you insured? Do you meet health and safety standards?

Last but not least, its important to confirm that your fitout company meets legal requirements, including having adequate insurance; complying to health and safety standards; and meeting employment law. As you wont be an expert in these areas, its worth getting a specialist lawyer to read through your contract and explain any jargon and clarify your liability before you sign. At Fernwood, we aim to be jargon free and communicate in plain English, but we are always happy to hear that our clients have asked for a second opinion as we want to make every project run smoothly from start to finish.

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