It is important to identify premises that provide sufficient space for current and future operations, access for staff and clients, cost effective fitout and maintenance and with lease provisions that will allow for the optimal ongoing operation of the business.
Size and Location
Space Planning. The trend from enclosed private offices to open plan offices or activity based workstations has resulted in offices that are smaller and more cost effective to fitout and maintain. Although the total areas may be reducing, in accordance with Australian Standards, there is a requirement for a minimum of 10m2 per occupant with an average of 15m2. The TKO Office Fitout Calculator is a handy tool for preliminary investigations into the floor area and indicative cost to fitout an office.
Accessibility. Getting to and into a premises is an important consideration. Proximity to public transport and parking for staff and visitors should be available. Note that planning laws dictate that the number of car parks required is based on the type of business so if a change of the type of business occupying a building occurs then the number of car parks required may also change. If insufficient parking is available then additional car parks or “payment in lieu” of car parks may be required. This can be a significant additional cost.
In multistory buildings you may want to consider if the lifts are adequate to service the number of organisations/personnel in the premises and/or the floor you plan to locate your business.
Disabled access is now a requirement for office blocks, education facilities, retail outlets, entertainment venues and buildings used for commercial activities.
Future Expansion. Ideally, your business should occupy premises that allow for future expansion. Such expansion could either be into adjacent areas or, for multi-story buildings, on floors above or below the initial lease area.
Location. The best location for your business will take into consideration the balance between costs and proximity to/availability of:
- walk in customers and clients in general
- public transport
- parking for staff, contractors and clients.
Councils operate under differing Town Planning Schemes which have differing zoning categorisations and requirements. This can be a concern, for example, when planning to convert a warehouse to an office space. You should investigate that the proposed use of a new rental property does not contravene the local zoning or health regulations by checking with the local council and state government departments such as the Health Department, Department of Planning and Infrastructure, WA Planning Commission, Department of Main Roads; and heritage registers. The local council should be aware of any heritage or state government legislation/planned activities/restrictions in relation to the proposed use of a lease area; however, this is not always the case.
Additionally, a business licence may be required.