Demystifying Commercial Fit Out Costs in Australia: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating through commercial fit out costs can be daunting. You’re always trying to get the best fit while saving on cost.

Whether you’re setting up a new office, retail store, or restaurant, the expenses associated with creating a functional and appealing environment can vary widely. Understanding these costs is crucial for effective budgeting and decision-making. So, let’s delve into the factors that influence the cost of commercial fit-outs in Australia.

Custom booth seats covered in leather vinyl, bespoke curved walls and coastal terracotta neutral colour palette for this medical fit out for Sycamore Health, Total Fitouts Sunshine Coast South

Factors Affecting Commercial Fitout Costs

Location: The location of your commercial space plays a vital role in determining fitout costs. Major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane typically have higher costs due to higher demand and property prices.

Commercial Design and Customisation: One key aspect which is often overlooked in relation to the cost of a commercial fit out is the significant value gained from enlisting the expertise of a commercial interior designer. As Danny Gould  from Total Fitouts Malvern succinctly puts it, “Spending 10k on commercial design at the front end of the fitout project, can save your client 40k through the job.” This quote underscores the immense potential for cost savings that come with investing in professional commercial design services. While the initial expenditure may seem daunting, the long-term benefits far outweigh the upfront costs.

A skilled commercial interior designer can navigate the complexities of space optimisation, material selection, simplify communication and enhance the project management experience for clients, ultimately leading to substantial savings throughout the fit-out process and a happier fit out experience for everyone. By leveraging their expertise, businesses can achieve optimal results while maximising their return on investment.

Exposed high beam timber ceiling, concrete and exposed brick walls and rustic warm timber colour palette for this winery hospitality fit out for Shingleback Winery, Total Fitouts Adelaide Central

Size and Layout: The size and layout of your space directly impact costs. Larger spaces require more materials and labour, while complex layouts may necessitate additional commercial design and construction work.

Building Condition: The condition of the building you’re leasing or purchasing can influence commercial fit out costs. Older buildings may require more extensive refurbishments, structural upgrades, or compliance modifications.

Compliance and Regulations: Australian building codes, regulations, and compliance standards must be adhered to, adding to the overall cost. Accessibility requirements, fire safety measures, and environmental standards may necessitate specific features or materials.

Services and Utilities: Installing electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and other services are essential components of a commercial fitout. The complexity and scale of these installations impact costs significantly.

Exposed black high ceiling, bespoke cylinder timber panelled service counter and neutral and green branded colour palette for this hospitality fit out for Tim Adams Cafe, Total Fitouts Sunshine Coast South

Furniture and Fixtures: The quality and quantity of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) required for your space contribute to costs. From office desks and chairs to retail displays and kitchen equipment, each item adds to the overall expenditure.

Project Management and Contingencies: Factoring in project management fees and contingency funds is crucial for handling unforeseen expenses and ensuring the smooth execution of the commercial fit out project. Read more on Project Manager Annet from the Total Fitouts Wide Bay office as she shares her journey in a Project Manager role within the commercial fitout industry.

Timber wall panelling and framing, custom LED light signage and neutral colour palette for this hospitality fit out for Lulus Coffee and Japanese Kitchen, Total Fitouts Wide Bay

Average Cost Estimates for a Commercial Fitout

While precise cost estimates can only be provided after thorough assessment and planning, it’s helpful to have ballpark figures for budgeting purposes. In Australia, commercial fit out costs typically range from $500 to $2,000 per square meter, depending on the factors mentioned above.

  • Basic Commercial Fit Out: A basic fitout, consisting of essential finishes, lighting, and services, may cost between $500 and $800 per square meter.
  • Mid-Range Commercial Fitout: A mid-range fitout with moderate customisation, quality finishes, and standard amenities could fall in the range of $800 to $1,500 per square meter.
  • High-End Commercial Fit Out: For high-end fit outs featuring premium materials, intricate designs, and advanced technology integration, expect costs upwards of $1,500 to $2,000 per square meter.
Custom branded signage, timber wall and ceiling panelling and vibrant colour palette for this medical fit out for Pop Up Health, Total Fitouts Adelaide Central

Tips for Managing Commercial Fitout Costs

  1. Define Your Requirements: Clearly outline your requirements and priorities to your commercial design and construction team to ensure alignment and avoid unnecessary expenses.
  2. Plan for Contingencies: Set aside a contingency budget of around 10% to 20% of the total project cost to cover unexpected expenses or changes during construction.
  3. Consider Long-Term Sustainability: Invest in energy-efficient fixtures, sustainable materials, and flexible layouts to reduce operating costs and future-proof your space.
  4. Engage Professionals Early: Involve architects, commercial designers, and project managers early in the planning process to leverage their expertise in optimising space utilisation and cost-efficiency.
Wainscoting kept for heritage local feel, wall pendant lighting and black and white neutral colour palette for this wellness and beauty fit out for House of Derma, Total Fitouts Perth South

Navigating the costs of a commercial fitout in Australia requires careful consideration of various factors, from location and commercial design to compliance and furnishings. By understanding these factors and leveraging expert guidance, you can effectively manage costs while creating a functional and visually appealing workspace that aligns with your business objectives. Remember, investing in a quality fitout is not just an expense but a strategic investment in the success and longevity of your commercial venture.

Looking for a commercial fitout done by shopfit experts? Inquire with us today.