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What are the different types of office space in the property market?
There are mainly four types of office space that you will find in the market -- shell and core, semi-fitted, fully-fitted and furnished.
Shell and core offices are basically bare and this type is a raw product but highly recommended for long-term use.
Semi-fitted offices are delivered to the client with either the flooring or ceiling done and the pantry block done as well. Some electrical works will have been done and the tenant has to pick up from there and finish the fit-out as per their own designs.
Fully-fitted offices are ready-to-use units and are what most clients look to avoid the hustle of fit-out. On average, this would be more expensive than the semi-fitted or ‘shell and core’ offices.
The furnished offices are what we call ‘plug n play’ with furniture included; hence, the tenant does not have to worry about even buying furniture. They just rent it today and immediately start their operations.
We always recommend to our clients to take the ‘shell and core’ units if they intend to take the unit for long term, since they will have a one-time cost for fit-out but the rent will be 30 per cent lower than the fitted units, and they can sign a long-time lease at that lower price instead of taking a fitted office and pay the higher rent for the lease tenure.
What are the different kinds of licence for launching a business in Dubai?
The first thing that a client needs to confirm with the broker is whether the operational licence they have or are planning to take is allowed to operate in the area they want to lease the office.
There are different types of licences issued by different authorities in Dubai. Mainly, it will be the DED or free zone authorities like Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Center, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai International Financial Center and Dubai Silicon Oasis, to name a few.
The DED licence is normally issued for the mainland operating companies. Entrepreneurs need to apply a specific trade licence prior to looking for an office space. With the initial approval from the DED, they can embark on identifying an office space in convenient locations. Depending on the type of activity one is applying for, there will be slightly different charges and requirements.
What view should one have for an office unit ideally?
Depending on the building design and its location, the view of every office unit varies a lot.
The best units are always the ones with water (lake, canal or sea) views, park views or iconic buildings’ views like Burj Khalifa that would impress clients. Most of the clients always go for units with floor-to-ceiling height glass, which always gives a wider view and at the same time gives much needed natural light to the office.
How high the unit is always plays a big role in what kind of view you will have. The higher the floor level the better views you get and mostly will be unobstructed by the neighbouring buildings.
How many parking spots should come with the unit?
Office spaces are normally allocated along with parking provisions as per size of the rented space in many commercial properties.
In previous years, the rule was that you will be allocated one parking space per 500 square feet of office space. We are observing that the trend now is that some buildings are offering one parking space for every 750 square feet while others offer a slot for every 1,000 square feet space.
Another trend that was started by some developers is to give buyers of the offices an option to buy the unit with less parking space and get discounts on the purchase price; hence, you find the inconsistency in the allocation of parking.
As per building codes, there must be some extra parking and depending on the building you might find they have some parking spots for rent or for sale. Ask the building management about extra parking spaces as it is a real challenge in many office parks. Ensure you have reserved parking and that the building has some visitor parking as well.
Question of the Week
How much grace period will I be given for fit-out?
Normally, you will be given between two to six months of fit-out period, which is rent-free.
This all depends on the size of office or retail you have leased and the amount of work required. On an average, a full fit-out cycle will take about two to three months for a normal fit-out of an office. The main process of fit-out includes designing its approval by the tenant, landlord and building management; application for Civil Defense approval that takes approximately two weeks; and approval by Dubai Municipality, which takes approximately a week, to start working at the site. This whole process will take about one month or a minimum of three weeks.
Work on the site should take about one to three months, depending on the size and amount of work being done. Cost of fit-out will vary from Dh100 to 350 per square foot depending on the finishes being installed including the shipping and fuel costs from season to season.
If you are doing a basic fit-out without custom-made furniture, then the price will be quite different from when you are making a fit-out with custom-made furniture with marble fittings and other high quality finishes.
As you seek bids from fit-out companies, do due diligence before employing a contractor and look for someone who has a proven track record to deliver high-quality work in tight deadlines.
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Source: Francis Otieno, Special to Freehold
Client Manager at SPF