The destination is the same, but the journey experienced by the client is vastly different

Custom office design vs traditional fitouts

When it comes to office renovations in Sydney or Melbourne, you have the choice of design and construct or traditional office fitouts. The destination is the same, but the client journey is vastly different. Let’s explore these two options for office fitouts so you can find the best plan for your workspace.

Traditional office fitouts

With a traditional office fitout, the client needs to consult with several involved parties on their own. Clients must manage the architect, interior designer, IT consultant, project manager, furniture consultant, and mechanical consultant, with none of these parties interacting or planning together. That’s a lot of resources to manage, and it can get overwhelming at times.

Design and construct office fitouts

With a design and construct (D&C) company, there are fewer parties involved. It’s just the D&C specialist and the client, offering comprehensive solutions to achieve the best office interior design. Design and construction companies are known for speeding up the process to deliver streamlined and customised office renovation solutions.

Breakdown of project efficiency


With the traditional method of office fitouts, there are many steps, including:

  1. Concept planning and architect selection
  2. Preliminary design
  3. Final design
  4. Bid
  5. Rebid as over budget
  6. Permits
  7. Select contractor
  8. Construction

The design and construct method is 33% faster, according to, with several steps moving forward at the same time:

  1. Concept planning and select D&C firm
  2. Preliminary design and cost estimate
  3. Final design and permit
  4. Construction

Key points of comparison

It’s easy to see that the D&C method offers a much simpler, more efficient project model, but the differences do not end there. Let’s look at the full comparison to get a complete picture of both traditional and D&C office fitouts.


In a traditional fitout, construction costs are initially unknown and may not be indicated until the end of the design process. Clients may experience higher fees due to disconnects between design and construction, as well as any variations to their plans. There may also be contract variations throughout construction. With design and construction, the construction cost is realised throughout the design phase with the fixed cost established by the end.


As part of traditional office fitouts, clients need to control the design and construction phases, with coordination and management falling back on the client. D&C requires less client experience and resources, with one team responsible for control of the entire project to achieve the best office interior design.


Traditional fitouts usually have longer schedules because design and construction are sequential. The timeline may be extended if the design is over budget and value engineering is required. D&C can cut that time by one-third through progressive budgeting during the design phase. This ensures a satisfactory design that meets the budget, so it moves forward quickly. The construction can overlap design completion to reduce project schedule and costs.


In a traditional office renovation, the client retains the risk of consultant/contractor non-performance. There is also the possibility of a disconnect between the design and construction team. A design and construct company offers reduced risk and liability with a single, unified team. The entire team is accountable for every aspect of the project and responsible for delivering project objectives.

Design and communication

A traditional office fitout company focuses on billable hours and meeting the client brief. The owner acts as an arbiter for any design or construction issues that arise. Meanwhile, a D&C company focuses on delivering the client brief within the agreed budget to ensure buildability. There is a single point of contact throughout the project with collaboration between the design, pre-construction, and construction teams.

Quality and value

Traditional projects require a reliance on the construction team to deliver a design they have no part in, as value engineering occurs after design phase when the contractor is awarded. In comparison, the D&C construction team delivers the design with clear understanding and intent from the very beginning. Value engineering occurs during the design phase and is tested with the market continually.


Lastly, a traditional office fitout is very contractual with limited flexibility of client-side variations. While clients can add time to the project, it will change timelines and incur greater costs. D&C office fitout companies are agile and quick to amend client-side variations, with designs and costs produced simultaneously.

Office fitout

Ready to achieve the best office interior design in Australia? Schedule your free consultation with Crest Office Interiors, the leaders in workplace strategy, design and construction for a modern office fitout.