Circular Lighting Report

Time to scrap Cat A fit-outs, industry told


The British Council for Offices is urging building owners and property developers to scrap the practice of Cat A fit-outs, which can see unused luminaires end up as waste.
The organisation is recommending that it is eliminated from office fit out unless specified by the incoming occupier.
Where Cat A is needed, the BCO says virtual reality (VR) could be used as an alternative approach to showcase the potential of the space or, if needed, fitting out only one floor to Cat A standard as a showroom.
Cat A fit-outs are often undertaken to improve the appeal of an office space to a prospective tenant. But then, when a lease has been agreed, the light fittings and other materials such as the ceiling and carpet are replaced with a bespoke Cat B fit out to the client’s requirements. The materials often end up as waste, with lighting manufacturers watching in alarm as newly made and installed luminaires are removed from ceiling within months of their installation.
The BCO is also calling on property agents to work to avoid Cat A strip-outs by matching occupiers, developers and building owners early in the process to ensure that the first time the office is fitted-out the occupier’s requirements are being met.
The recommendation is included in a new report, called Circular Economy in Offices, which urges the property industry to ‘retain, extend life and reduce impact’ to futureproof the office sector.
The report also recommends that lighting and other manufacturers create ‘the infrastructure to enable take-back schemes to become a more common feature of the market’. It suggests the application of material passports to enable occupiers to understand the materials that are contained within their ownership.
The construction sector is one of the largest consumers of materials and produces more waste than any other sector in the UK. Offices account for 15 per cent of the total commercial property sector’s waste and 44 per cent of the construction sector’s waste.

• Recolight has established a cross-disciplinary working group on Sustainability in Cat A Fit-outs to explore ways in which waste can be minimised. Register your interest by contacting its chairman Ray Molony at

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.