Fit Out and Refurbishment Sector in UK Continues to Expand

Growth within the fit out and refurbishment industry in the UK continued last year – despite the looming prospect of Brexit and increased online sales.

In fact the fit out UK sector was up six per cent on the previous year, resulting in a rise of 34 per cent over the past five years. So where was the majority of the growth?


Commercial offices are biggest spenders

More than a quarter – or 27 per cent – of the interior fit out UK and refurbishment market last year was for commercial office design. It’s believed this is due to a shortage of space for new build developments, with the result that companies end up refreshing and remodelling their existing stock. At the same time, the advancement of new technology, more home working and ‘eco’ concerns are, in many cases, proving catalysts for redesign.


High growth within Health and Education sectors

Analysts at AMA, who produced the annual Interior Fit Out and Refurbishment Report, say most of the activity has gone on within the commercial office space, education and leisure & entertainment sectors. Within the public sector it is the NHS rather than local government which has been doing the major commissioning of interior redesign projects (new build’s being much costlier and more disruptive to both staff and patients).

In terms of education it’s the universities and colleges doing the hiring of fit out UK companies. So competitive is the further education sector that smartly refurbished and high-tech facilities are often key to attracting students. And the drive for the most up-to-date facilities isn’t slowing down any time since. AMA Research’s Fiona Watts predicts growth levels of up to three per cent annually for the following three years.


Retail opportunities continue to fall

The biggest sector to suffer when it came to online sales, the retail sector is still struggling. This can be seen in the lack of fit out UK and refurbishment opportunities around. As more customers turn to online shopping channels for convenience, so the nature of the stores themselves are changing with many turning to online-only ’shop windows.’ This trend has forced some of our most famous big shopping chains to cut back on their physical presence in our city centres. Even high street giant Marks & Spencer provoked shock recently when it announced the closure of more than 100 of its long-held stores.

Fit Out UK

Restaurants such as the Pizza Punks Restaurant in Belfast continue to see year-on-year growth


Leisure & entertainment hanging on

Restaurants, clubs and bars may also be high street – or at least city centre – located, but they’re faring better than retail. This is probably due to the fact that more of us are working from home and more ready to socialise at nights and weekends. Then there is also the growth in budget hotels and fitness clubs. In fact, the more optimistic of analysts believe this sector will expand in the coming years.


A guiding light on the horizon

One sector in which there will certainly be growth over the next decade or so is elderly care. Thanks to a longer living population and the resultant increase in conditions such as dementia, more purpose-build (or refurbished) care facilities will be necessary. With public sector budgets also stretched to breaking point, the likelihood is these will be refurbishment projects rather than specially-commissioned new builds.

Get a more detailed analysis of the Interior Fit Out and Refurbishment Report, 2018 by downloading a pdf copy at Meanwhile, find out what, here at SteamPunk, we can do for your interior refurbishment or fit out project. Contact us on 0800 197 2922 or find us via our website We’re based in Perthshire, Scotland but work throughout the UK.