The 6 stages of the Fitout Design and Approvals Process

Fitout Design and Approvals

Planning a fitout might seem like a huge undertaking, and it is, particularly if this is your first time. There are several things that go into the fitout design and approvals process and if you are not sure of what to do, it could seem like a very chaotic maze, which is why I’m here to guide you through the process.

As a shopfitter with close to three decades of experience, I know all there is to know about the fitout design and approval process and today, I’ll share this with you. But to assist me in creating this guide, not only will I draw from my experience with Brisbane fitouts, I’ll also draw from the fitout manual of one the largest shopping centres in Queensland. Therefore, you can be assured that this information is current and that the fitout design and approvals process will be the same or very similar in any Brisbane shopping centre.

Keep reading for the six stages of the fitout design and approvals process.

Stage 1: Your Landlord’s Approval

It is your responsibility to get approval for your design from your landlord’s Retail Design Manager BEFORE a Brisbane fitout firm begins working on your project. There will be certain criteria your retail designer or architect must meet and these include their years of experience and qualifications, their ability to provide complete design documentation to the standard required by the landlord, and meet relevant national standards among others. Ask your landlord for their requirements.

If your design requires structural alterations to the building, you will need to employ a suitably qualified Registered Professional Engineer Queensland (RPEQ). Experienced Brisbane fitout firms like Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery can usually recommend such a professional.

At this stage there are certain design parameters you will need to meet, be sure to find out what they are from your landlord and also get to know the relevant compliance certificates you will need to submit.

Stage 2: Relevant Authority Requirements

You can’t begin any work on the premises until you have the consent of the relevant authority. To assist you with that, your landlord should provide you with a “Consent to Lodge” form, with which you can submit the relevant applications.

There are cases where the authority might ask you to get a Private Certification of your work by an accredited certifier. In such cases, you are required to provide a copy of such certification to your landlord before you can commence work on your fitout.

Once you have made your application, the next step is to pay all the relevant fees, deposits and charges.

Stage 3: Documentation and Your Responsibilities

Your designer needs to submit certain documents to the landlord for approval. Some of the documents include, coloured 3D concept drawings for review; architectural, structural and building services drawings and specifications to a standard where your shopfitters can carry out your work and where it can be reviewed by the landlord; copies of submissions and certificates to the relevant Authorities for all approvals and necessary permits.

You also need to get all the licenses, permits, consents, approvals and certifications necessary and pay all relevant fees. Ensure that you adopt safety in design principles and integrate Corporate Responsibility aspects in your design documentation.

Stage 4: Preliminary Concept Documentation

Certain documentation such as the prospective sketches, floor plan, samples of materials and finishes, etc., make up the Preliminary Concept Documentation. This must be submitted to the landlord who will then review them and either ask for more information or stamp “Approved” and subject to any comments or issues raised that need to be addressed in the Final Design Documentation.

Stage 5: Final Design Documentation

When preparing the final design documentation, your designer will need to address all the comments and questions raised by the landlord on previous submissions in relation to the Preliminary Concept Documentation.

Note that the Final Design Documentation must be fully dimensioned in relation to the grid lines and should include some key documents.

If the Final Design Documentation is approved, the landlord will stamp it and mark it with “Approved – Final”. If it isn’t approved however, you will need to make all necessary changes and resubmit the documentation within 7 calendar days or earlier. After which you generally have 6 months from the date the Final Design Approval of the Handover Date was granted to begin construction. Failure to do so will mean you’d have to resubmit the drawings to the landlord and pay a further design and services review fees. Of course, this will differ slightly between each Brisbane shopping centre.

Stage 6: Shopfitter Appointment

Most landlords will require that you only work with a reputable Brisbane fitout firm, like Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery. We have a proven track record and several years’ experience in designing and creating masterful fitouts in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and a portfolio like ours will reassure most landlords.

The work can’t begin until your shopfitter has met with the landlord to confirm all elements of the design and the fitout process.

At this stage, even if you are not project managing the fitout, you still need to make sure that your Brisbane fitout firm works from the stamped approved Final Design Documentation and complies with the handwritten notes and changes marked on the drawings by the Lessor’s Retail Design Manager.

Conclusion

The stages of a fitout design and approvals process for a Brisbane shopping centre is straightforward: you get the landlord’s approval, get relevant authority requirements, fulfill all the documentation requirements, get the Preliminary Concept Documentation and the Final Design Documentation, finally you appoint the fitout firm.

For your Brisbane fitout, why not work with an experienced team of shopfitters who can help you navigate through the confusion. Contact Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery for a new fitout today.

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Zac Latham

About Zac Latham

Zac Latham is co-owner of Xtreme Shopfitting and Joinery and has been a shopfitter for more than 30 years. He has a vast array of knowledge and experience in manufacturing fitouts that increase customers and revenue.