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How Does the Guide Work?

This guide is designed to help you consider how moving into new offices (fit-out) - or changing around existing offices to meet new needs (refurbishment) - can be done in ways that are as mindful of the environment as possible.

It is aimed mainly at project managers, who are normally responsible for coordinating the process and ensuring the right outcome. Your purchasing power also means you can influence the market for more sustainable products and services. Whilst targeted specifically at government the advice contained in this site is equally relevant for all others undertaking refits and refurbishment projects.

This guide will help you consider ways to achieve good practice in the areas under consideration as well as value for money.

There are many things to consider and the 'green' option is not always the most obvious.

Project management for office refurbishment or fit-out may involve anything from commissioning the entire project to selecting materials and buying individual products. Some of the product groups used in office refurbishment have significant environmental impacts associated with their manufacture, use and disposal.

This guide will help you consider and make decisions that include environmental criteria. It:

  • sets out some general principles
  • explains the reasons behind environmental criteria and how they should be considered
  • considers issues from planning and supply chain management through to implementation
  • offers more detailed and technical advice in the form of checklists in some major areas of procurement
  • provides links to relevant information and resources
  • discusses some of the Ministry for the Environment's experiences during our own recent building move.

We recommend that you use this guide at the initial planning stage, alongside other key criteria such as value for money and the image your organisation wants to present.

This guide is not completely comprehensive because buildings are complex with thousands of components, further information will be added to this guide over time, so please continue to visit to access this new information. For now this guide covers what we consider to be the key, highest impact, aspects of office building fit-outs and refurbishments.

Your input will be valuable in keeping this guidance up-to-date. We'd appreciate your feedback and your experiences. You can contact us with these at

Useful resources and information

  • Fitting out and retrofitting are both addressed (with a focus on energy efficiency) in EECA's series Before the First Pour.
  • The Waitakere City Council's 'Better Building Code' on retrofits (PDF 19KB) takes a wider focus.
  • A useful guide to sustainable office design, fit-out and operation is available from the Auckland Environmental Business Network.
  • A useful example of an environmental office rating system is the GreenStar office interiors V1, available from the Green Building Council Australia.