Have you decided to refurbish your office? Or perhaps you’ve moved into a new space and need to fit it out. If that’s the case, there are a few things you (or more specifically, your Sydney office fit-out contractor) need to think about.
Naturally, you’ll be thinking about costing, office design, timelines… and plenty of other project aspects. But another, important part of an office fit-out is managing the waste that inevitably occurs throughout the process. Here’s how to do just that.
What does an office fit-out involve?
An office fit-out consists of a number of stages, depending on the existing condition of your workspace. If you’ve decided to remove an existing fit-out, the first stage will be stripping out your office. That usually includes removing:
- Floor coverings like carpet and floating floors
- Temporary ceilings, such as ceiling tiles
- Some lighting fixtures
- Any fixed workstations
- Heating and cooling solutions.
It’s important to have a professional Sydney office strip-out company on this project because if you don’t, you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
Once the strip-out is complete (if applicable), we’ll then begin the process of fitting out your new workspace, assuming we’ve already discussed and settled on your chosen design. The fit-out will then follow a process similar to this:
- We’ll begin by installing boxes beneath your floor for cables and electrical components, an essential feature of any functional office. Simultaneously, we’ll install your ventilation, heating, and cooling systems and run power to all required components, including your underfloor boxes.
- The next step involves installing any fixed partitions, which are secured with metal studs. Around this stage, we’ll also fix off plumbing, and install CCTV and other security measures, along with several other crucial features of your office space.
- Lighting will be installed in the next stage, along with skirting, wall trims, doorways, and then flooring solutions such as carpet tiles. At this stage, we’ll also lay the floors in your kitchen area, which may be vinyl, tiles, or floating wooden floors. The rest of your kitchen will be fitted out at this stage.
- The last step involves laying acoustic solutions and installing your office furniture such as workstations, storage units, and joinery. Then, the rest of your furniture will be moved in and a final clean will be done. Once that’s complete, your Sydney office fit-out is complete!
Explaining this process in depth allows us to highlight how much waste can be produced throughout a typical fit-out. All of the materials we mentioned, such as cables, trims, skirts, floor coverings, and more, can become waste items during the fit-out. If there is excess material, slightly damaged pieces, or off-cuts, that can become waste.
Common waste materials
As mentioned above, a fit-out project can create a wide range of waste materials. The most common materials we find ourselves dealing with are:
- Timber (off-cuts, excess material)
- Cables and wiring (off-cuts)
- Floor coverings (excess carpet tiles, vinyl off-cuts, etc)
- Old electrical items
- Plastic piping
- Plastic packaging from building materials.
There is clearly plenty of waste that can be produced during an office fit-out project and it’s what you do with it that counts.
What action can we take?
Reduction of materials
Eliminating waste can only be done at the source, by reducing the amount of each material used. By using only the necessary amount of timber, tiles, carpet, partition, and whatever else is included in the fit-out, you’ll be achieving a zero-waste result. This must always be the priority.
Accurate measurements and ensuring that you don’t over order are the best ways to reduce the materials used and therefore, manufactured. What’s more, during the design stage steps can be taken to ensure that your office fit-out is using fewer materials than necessary and therefore, eliminating waste where possible.
Reusing materials and worst case, recycling
Did you know that often, you can return excess materials if you over-order? Many suppliers will accept returned materials that haven’t been damaged or used at all, especially if they have a sustainability policy. However, you should check before ordering and purchasing any materials.
If you do end up with leftover materials and are unable to return them, selling them to another building contractor or business is a possibility too. The market for second-hand building materials is growing and if they’ve not been damaged at all, you won’t struggle to find a buyer for carpet, tiles, partitions, and any other leftover items.
The worst-case scenario is taking leftover materials (damaged and unusable) to certified recycling facilities. There, they will be turned recycled into fresh materials for use in new projects, or repurposed for other uses.
On-site, try to be creative with offcuts and other bits and pieces – there are plenty of ways to make use of these materials if you take a few moments to think about it, and design smartly.
Conserving other resources
During a Sydney office fit-out project, there will always be other resources at play. For example, power tools will require electricity, while you might be using water for certain applications, silicon when tiling, and glue when plastering. It’s important to approach the use of these resources with sustainability in mind, which is why we use power-saving and water-saving measures throughout every project.