Circular Lighting Report

Will the growth of Cat A+ cut lighting waste?

Cat A + office fit-out

THE GROWTH of so-called Cat A+ office fit-outs is leading to a reduction in the number of newly-installed luminaires which end up in waste streams, say insiders.

Cat A+ fit-outs are designed to be a middle-ground between basic Cat A fit-outs, often designed simply to lease a commercial space, and Cat B, a full fit tailored to a specific tenant.

Cat A fit-outs are often undertaken simply to improve the appeal of an office space to a prospective tenant. But often, when a lease has been agreed, the light fittings and other materials such as the ceiling and carpet are replaced with a Cat B fit and end up as waste.

Lighting manufacturers have sometimes watched in consternation as newly made and installed luminaires are removed from ceiling within months of their installation. Many have ended up in skips.

Cat A+ fit-outs, also known as plug and play due to their readiness for an incoming tenant, are increasingly being seen as more convenient for small companies such as tech start-ups. It also means they don’t have to find the capital cost of a Cat B fit out.

Cat A+ fit-outs are less suitable for premium tenants such as financial and law firms who want bespoke trophy interiors.

Interiors architect Mae Fahzi of MF Interiors says Cat A+ is also more sustainable as there are fewer dilapidations, where a tenant’s Cat B fit-out is replaced at the end of a lease with a new Cat A fit-out for reletting.

‘If you have an occupier who has moved out, you have to take the space back to Cat A,’ says Fahzi.

‘If we come in with a Cat B design which doesn’t tie up with the Cat A, so we start taking out new ceiling tiles and new carpets to be recycled or some of it to waste.

‘I think the model itself lends itself to be really lean on materials and very lean on sustainability. So you’re throwing [material] out as much as you would have with other models.’

• 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.