9-11 May 2023
ICC Sydney

Moving your business – relocation and fitout advice


Choosing the premises

Give yourself ample time before the existing lease ends and practice negotiating with confidence. Commercial leases run for years, so lock in the best deal you can get.

  1. Create a brief of the requirements: Floor area, length of lease, parking availability and rates, public transport, local facilities, signage opportunities, IT needs such as a dedicated server space, existing fitout, outgoings.
  2. Always have a checklist ready for each premise you visit. This checklist should include the following:
    1. Existing fitout and storage facilities
    2. Building condition: carpet, lighting, painting, HVAC, blinds, plumbing and hot water
    3. Security systems
    4. Special needs access
    5. General building presence
  3. Negotiate Heads of Agreement (HOA) or submit a letter of offer, but bear in mind to factor in time for the negotiation process.
  4. If substantial fitout is required, ensure that the initial stages of fitout planning are brought forward to identify specific challenges to the design.


Planning and design

Once the HOA is signed, the design process can begin. Always ensure you have a fitout brief that meets the specific needs of the business. This brief will guide the design process and should take into account growth opportunity, open plan office requirements, meeting spaces, storage facilities, break-out and kitchen spaces and dedicated IT spaces e.g. Server rooms.

  1. Create a timeline and budget including contingency for unexpected expenses. If possible, hire a consultant with extensive fitout-experience to guide you through the process. The extra expense at this initial stage can help prevent further expenses due to ill-prepared planning
  2. Management should make it a point to be actively involved in the design process.
  3. During the design phase, key stakeholders within the organisation should meet with suppliers. Client input on signage, IT requirements, security and specific needs will help suppliers during the installation stage.
  4. Don’t forget to get formal landlord approval before starting any actual work.
  5. Open plan offices are all the rage, but take into account issues like acoustics and privacy. A consultant can provide guidance on services that can resolve these issues in an open plan office.


The move… and settling in

Tender and appoint a relocation supplier. If the budget permits, use a commercial removalist. Commercial movers understand the requirements of a business move. Use a domestic removalist to save money if the move is small and simple.

  1. Have a relocation guide ready for staff. This guide should be brief, but comprehensive. Include packing instructions, label requirements communal areas for packing and instructions on the new premises for example, parking, access, contact details and mail redirection details.
  2. Have a staff meeting to go through the relocation guide. Ensure staff are clear on the processes and everyone should know what is required leading up to the day of the move.
  3. IT relocation: This is probably the most difficult aspect of an office move, regardless of the size of the business. Servers require extra care and special attention when moving and a corporate removalist will have specialised equipment to assist with moving IT-related items.
  4. Check access, i.e. stairs, lift dimensions. Ensure that the removalist is familiar with the old and new premises to prevent delays and extra cost incurred by delays.
  5. Mark and label everything clearly. This involves less searching and double handling after the move.


Relocation is stressful for both management and staff. Handled poorly, a relocation can be expensive and inefficient, resulting in a negative work environment and impact productivity. Get staff excited about the move and keep them informed on developments from the start of the process.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack key essentials for the first day at the new office – coffee, tea, milk and sugar, cleaning materials and toilet paper. A welcome breakfast for staff in the morning is a great way to start in new premises.

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