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12th Jul 2016

The Commercial Fit-Out; A Brand Enhancing Foil

Whether a deli, a recording studio or a coffee bar, a commercial fit-out is always an exercise in good planning and careful scheduling. The finished space should be a head-turning, brand-enhancing foil for the product or service it showcases. 

Our own internal expert, BarrJoinery director Josh Hudson, ran his own commercial fit-out business before joining the Barr Group Companies as BarrJoinery Manager.  Fitting bars, shops and restaurants Europe-wide Josh gained valuable experience, which he shares with us. 

 “It is all down to good planning and communication,” says Josh. 

“Businesses have different needs and we have to do our best to plan around them, to ensure minimal disruption. The key is designing, manufacturing and mocking up as much of the finished product as possible in the workshop.  This ensures there are no surprises when we get to site for reconstruction and fit.

“Working around a busy retail centre, such as Bond Street’s Fenwicks for example, required scheduling labor around the store's opening hours.   The team worked through the night and deliveries were made at the start of the 7pm-7am shift to ensure no disruption to trading. Installations, in the main, were built at the Field Farm site and delivered to the store in a state of readiness.  A fast and seamless on-site fit is essential, whilst ensuring the perfect finish for every element.”  

Work at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is always carried out through the night.  This requires extensive sound testing to ensure that any power tools used cannot be heard from the restaurant and occupied bedroom suites.   The same was true for Abbey Road recording studios, where noise control was fundamental and the team could be asked to down tools for minutes to hours at a time.  Working to rigid site rules and standards is not something new to the BarrJoinery team:  multiple contracts for The National Trust required the utmost respect for the work environment. 

Every commercial site is individual and each location requires a tailored approach. A site survey team works alongside the relevant management personnel (or external contracts administrator where relevant) to identify all potential issues before the planning process begins. Timescales are particularly relevant; a business may not want disturb trading or, if it does close, usually only for a restricted time period.

A rigorous site survey is always essential. The state of all current infrastructure will impact on the job.  Assessment of the condition of existing fittings, power requirements, lighting and existing safety services to the space are fundamental to the planning process.  For most commercial fit outs BarrJoinery work closely with other trades - again good communication is key to ensure every element works in harmony and towards the end goal.

BarrJoinery often receives highly conceptual visuals; the challenge is then to converte these into practical solutions.  From there detailed specifications and production drawings are produced.  Durability is a key consideration due to heavy footfall and the functional requirements of a commercial space.  Installations still need to look fresh 5 years down the line!  BarrJoinery advises on materials and finishes, not only to meet the aesthetic requirements of the brief but also to stand the test of time. If a design element is required, 3D visuals are the only way to ensure that the resulting space meets the functional and aesthetic requirements of the business.

BarrJoinery has experience in office, restaurant, bar and shop fits, as well as schools, churches and public buildings.  If you would like further information contact

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