After the many months of planning, development, design and construction, the time finally comes at the end of construction and it’s Capstone Interiors’ turn to help make the new building feel like a home away from home for incoming student residents. During a typical year there are many pieces of the puzzle that need to come together before we can install furniture. Due to trickle down effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, labor shortages and natural disasters, our furniture installation schedules are experiencing even greater pressures and challenges this summer. Thanks to strong vendor relationships, great communication, planning ahead and other best practices, all indications (and installs to date) show that we will overcome all these installation schedule pressures and open for the fall semester with fully operational and furnished projects-on time or ahead of schedule. If you were caught off guard this year in your new building opening, we hope these tips can help you in the future.
Make a Plan
Prior to the first day of furniture install, there is quite a bit of prep work done by team members so that we are all ready when it is our turn and the time comes for installation. In the months leading up to the furniture install date, Capstone Interiors prepares separate, detailed installation documents for the furniture that is to go into each unit type as well as amenity spaces. Typically, the unit furniture vendor is different from the amenities furniture vendor so it is important to coordinate each of these vendors’ schedules to minimize conflicts associated with elevator use and/or simultaneous installation of all furniture packages. A pre-installation conference call is scheduled in advance of the first installation date with meeting representatives from the developer, university, contractor, management, and furniture vendors. These calls provide everyone an understanding of expectations and an opportunity to discuss the project installation schedule and the site’s specific logistics and protocols, such as security, PPE requirements, identification of truck unloading areas, elevator use and trash removal processes.
Effects of the Pandemic
The months of lockdowns and production shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to many industries, including the furniture industry. Many municipalities are experiencing a backlog of building inspections and thus delayed scheduling inspections necessary for the issuance of a building TCO (temporary certificate of occupancy) or a CO (certificate of occupancy). This delay on inspections often creates a ripple effect to the initiation of the furniture installation process. As such and perhaps more than ever before, our furniture vendors have had to be extremely flexible with installation schedules and demonstrate a willingness to accommodate what seems to be ever-changing schedules. These changing installation dates have compounding impacts as furniture vendors plan for install months in advance based on production capacities, when the factories are scheduled to ship the furniture and then building in when furniture is to arrive at a project site as well as when to line up installation crews. Thankfully, as we look at several new projects opening this Summer and several furniture installs to juggle, our vendors have been up to the task of rearranging their schedules and with good, constant communication have proven both highly cooperative and effective!
The Pandemic lockdowns along with some natural disasters that have occurred this past year have also caused a shortage of foam material which is a component in mattresses and upholstery furniture. If anyone has personally tried to order a new sofa or lounge chair for your home, you probably know firsthand about furniture delays! Fortunately, Capstone Interiors’ recommendation to order furniture many, many months earlier than usual is paying off this Summer and our project installations are not being substantially affected by the foam shortage.
While not all installations have started as originally planned this Summer, in anticipation of a challenging year, our project schedules have provided adequate time and we are currently on-track for all furniture installations to be completed well prior to students moving in. Whew!