For commercial fit-outs, time is of the essence. The longer it takes to trade, the less clients are able to make. Having been in the industry for 16 years, this is something of which Gordon Smith, owner and operator of Alba Interiors, is acutely aware. “Every day that a business isn’t operating, that increases costs,” he explained. “The client is paying rent, so the landlord is making money while the client can’t make anything back.”

These aren’t just empty words. Alba’s latest project, in a restaurant downtown Auckland’s Snickel Lane, took 10 weeks – from start to finish. From the design brief with the client to the completed job, this involved all drawings, council consents, quotations and the final delivery of opening day.

With the new venue being part of an established precinct, steps had to be taken to ensure that it would fit in with the character of its surrounding. The fit-out has an industrial, rustic feel – in keeping with the Snickel Lane aesthetic but also allowing the character of the restaurant for shine through.

“It’s not about sacrificing quality, it’s about the organisation and the skills of the people involved,” said Smith. “The cabinet-makers, plumbers, builders – we only deal with the best, and they’re willing to bend over backwards to make sure they get things done on time for us.” Price is also a factor when it comes to fit-outs. “The entire process is as open as possible,” said Smith. “If we know the budget right at the start we can find the right suppliers and materials to work with what the client wants.”

Working with Alba is a collaborative process. Once the client has provided the design team with a list of what they would like to see in the space, that information will be interpreted and transformed into specifications, plans, elevations and service drawings. The process is made up of a series of stages which need to be signed off progressively, meaning that all parties are well informed of any changes that may need to be made. Smith’s experience in both the interiors and food industries means that Alba is well-equipped to deal in commercial kitchen builds.

The fit-out of a coffee shop down the road, completed by a rival company, had 45 defects, all of which needed to be fixed at extra cost. The fit-out in Snickel Lane, Smith proudly explained, had zero.

Alba Interiors offers a full service from start to finish, including finance options. For more information call 0800 525 244 for a free consultation quote