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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Facilities > Facilities for government > Office Accommodation Management Framework > Guideline 3: Fitout > 1.0 The fitout process and framework

1.0 The fitout process and framework

The office fitout project delivery process involves:

  • development of the fitout project brief and budget
  • formulation and monitoring of a project program
  • design and documentation
  • tendering and construction.

1.2 Framework

These components fit into an overall framework of:

  • best practice
  • approvals
  • probity and accountability
  • compliance.

There may be opportunities for other innovative project delivery options depending on individual circumstances. The generic fitout model is shown below.

Generic framework for fitout

generic framework for fitout 

View a larger version of the above generic framework for fitout (PDF, 104KB).

1.3 Project brief and budget

The fitout project brief is a description of the client's workplace requirements in functional terms and defines the project's purpose, objectives and scope. It is also the benchmark against which the success of the project is measured. Consideration should be given to the inclusion of ‘green’ initiatives in accordance with Sustainable Office Policy (refer Guideline 4: Occupancy). The budget is an indicative cost based on the estimated scope of works and approved fitout benchmarks per square metre.

1.4 Project program

The project program allocates a time period for undertaking each stage of a fitout project in sequential order. Each stage is given a start and finish date depending on its scope and complexity according to the project definition and the project brief. The project program includes milestone dates, including a 'design freeze' date, and a continuous timeline for all project activities.

Timeframes are generally linked to:

  • the needs of each agency (e.g. commencement of a new service delivery initiative, funding availability, lease commencement date, etc.)
  • master programming for whole-of-Government accommodation strategies that involve a series of interdependent, sequential projects and relocations
  • lease expiry dates.

1.5 Design and documentation

The design and documentation process includes:

  • definition of project scope
  • brief development and client sign-off
  • formulation of the project program and client sign-off
  • schematic design and client review
  • developed design and client review/interim approval
  • design freeze
  • contract documentation and client approval
  • Building Act approval
  • building owner approval.

It is the responsibility of the client agency to arrange for timely reviews, sign-offs and approvals at all stages of the design and documentation process in order to adhere to the project program.

It is the responsibility of the designer to ensure that the design and documentation is legislatively compliant and follows best practice. It is the joint responsibility of the designer and client agencies to ensure that the design is consistent with Cabinet-endorsed government policy and satisfies applicable guidelines and benchmarks. Design proposals that exceed guidelines and benchmarks must be formally endorsed by the client agency's Director-General or CEO. Building owner approval must also be obtained for the proposed project work.

When accommodation projects are wholly or partly funded through the Office Accommodation Program, the Department of Housing and Public Works (HPW) requires that the project's design and documentation be carried out by Project Services, HPW.

1.6 Tendering and construction

Fitout projects can be undertaken using traditional or non-traditional project delivery methods. Traditional methods use separate stages of design, documentation followed by tendering and construction, whereas non-traditional methods can incorporate a range of combinations, up to and including, design-and-construct from the project brief. Expert advice is necessary if a non­traditional fitout project delivery method is proposed or under consideration.

Fitout projects in government-owned office buildings are generally carried out by traditional delivery using HPW’s construction services and a negotiated fixed price. Fitout projects in space leased from the private sector may also be carried out by HPW but might also be carried out by an agency's contractor or by the building's owner.

Fitout in buildings in which space has been leased under a pre-commitment arrangement is sometimes delivered wholly or partly as a design-and-construct component of the building's construction, based on the tenant-agency's brief.

In the case of new office buildings, it is desirable that fitout projects are integrated into the building's design and construction program in order to save time and cost, maximise environmental performance and to minimise risks.

Time and cost can be saved by installing building elements and services once only in the final positions required for the fitout design instead of installing them ‘generically’ and later relocating them to meet the requirements of the fitout design. Benefits are also gained through integration to minimised resources required for construction and associated environmental considerations.

Risk can be minimised by having the building head contractor and subcontractors carry out the fitout work to avoid the potential problems of voiding warranties or disputes between subcontractors. Formal building owner approval needs to be integrated into this process.

Fitout projects that are carried out after a building's completion are also required to meet the requirements of the building's owner. The building's owner can require that the building's original consultants be used to either design the fitout or to check and approve the design. In some cases, the original building-services subcontractors must be used for building work.

When fitout projects are funded wholly or partly through the Office Accommodation Program, HPW requires that the construction be managed by QBuild.

1.7 Best practice

When fitout projects are funded wholly or partly through the Office Accommodation Program, it is preferred that the construction is delivered using HPW’s construction services.

1.8 Approvals

Office fitout projects involve approvals as follows:

  • client agency approvals are required as part of the fitout project design and documentation process
  • technical assessment and approval for each project is required under the approval procedure for government office accommodation projects initiated by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and administered by HPW
  • building owner approval is required for all fitout projects, whether in government-owned buildings or in leased space in private-sector buildings
  • Building Act approval is required for all fitout projects, whether in government-owned office buildings or in leased space in private-sector buildings
  • financial approvals are required according to the funding source and value of the project. Approvals and approval processes are described in detail in ‘7.0 Approval processes’.

1.9 Compliance

Three levels of compliance are applicable to office fitout projects as follows:

  • Legislative compliance is mandatory. It is the responsibility of the design and documentation consultant to achieve compliance with legislation such as the Building Act 1975, the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995. It is the responsibility of agencies to facilitate compliance by acknowledging legislative requirements in project briefs.
  • Compliance with government policy is also mandatory unless formal exemption is obtained or written approval is obtained to vary policy requirements. Advice from HPW should be sought if policy variation is under consideration in relation to office fitout projects.
  • Agencies and consultants should comply with best practice in relation to office fitout projects. Best practice includes achieving consistency with standards, procedures and benchmarks approved by the Government Office Accommodation Committee (GOAC). When special requirements that may not be consistent with guidelines and/or benchmarks are proposed, agencies should consult with HPW to obtain advice as to whether formal endorsement of the variation by a Director-General or CEO is needed. HPW has also developed supporting documents to promote and support best practice in office fitout design and will also provide expert, best practice advice on request.

1.10 Probity and accountability

The objectives of the State Purchasing Policy are applicable to all office fitout projects. These objectives are to:

  • advance the government's priorities
  • achieve value for money
  • ensure probity and accountability for outcomes.

In all dealings with external consultants, contractors, landlords and agents, probity and accountability are key considerations. Fairness, transparency and equal competitive opportunity must be applied to all such dealings related to the office fitout process.

Last updated 10 July 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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