I was pleased to read your article about office fit-outs (“Call that sustainable?” 26 January, page 50).
There is undoubtedly a huge amount of waste when one lease ends and a new lessee is found. One cause of this is that most modern leases require the outgoing tenant to redecorate and restore the office to the condition it was in at the beginning of the lease.
Typically, ceiling tiles and floor tiles get replaced, and kitchens or refreshment points get dragged out. The office is then left an open space with the cheapest standard of finish that the outgoing tenant thinks they can get away with. Not unnaturally, the next tenant will want a more modern design and finish and will certainly need to reinstate a kitchen or refreshment point.
The outgoing tenant’s alternative to doing the work is paying the landlord for dilapidations but often this is more costly than complying with the covenants of the lease, not least because the outgoing tenant has to pay the landlord’s surveyor for managing the work.