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In the world of hotel construction there is nothing more exciting and terrifying for project managers than seeing the finish line approaching with the design punch list around the corner.  It’s exciting because you can envision the guests enjoying their stay.  It’s equally terrifying because, as they say, “the devil is in the details.”  In hospitality it’s the little touches that make a difference for guests.  Those little touches are your furniture, fixtures & equipment (FF&E). 

What is FF&E?

Essentially FF&E is any accessory which isn’t permanently affixed to the building’s structure.  Some of these items include:
·        Tables
·        Chairs
·        Desks
·        Light Fixtures
·        Shelving
·        Case goods
·        Wardrobes
·        Headboards/Bed Frames
·        Power & Data Accessories

It’s at this time that owners & project managers usually ask themselves the question, “Are my installers really qualified for hotel room installation?”  There’s no doubt FF&E installation takes a considerable amount of planning.  The reason, even in chain hotels, is that not all rooms are identical.

Get Your Installer Involved Early in The Design Process

Optimizing the space is critical to the guest experience.  Once you figure the amount of space required for the living necessities of a room (King or Queen Beds, Dressers), on average there is only 75% of the original space left.  Now factor in other room requirements such as electrical outlets, cable, HVAC, etc. and one can quickly see how every inch count.  All furniture and equipment must easily fit around these requirements and be unblocked and accessible.  For example, we have seen light fixtures on a wall above the bed, but when the headboard is attempted to be installed, it can’t because the fixture is too low…but installed correctly according to the plans by the electrician.

A quality installer will not only be familiar with the construction plans but will also understand potential installation concerns that conflict with the initial designs.  In fact, FF&E will rarely be included in final construction documents.  By having your installation company collaborate early they work with the design team and furniture manufacturer to value engineer the project, providing potentially significant cost-savings instead of overruns.

Select an Installer Who Will Move, Assemble and Install with Care and Attention to Detail

The hotel guests expect that the FF&E in their room will be free from dents, scratches and other blemishes.  Whether your FF&E is shipped to your installers warehouse and delivered by them or shipped directly to the project site by the manufacturer, it is imperative your installer know how to properly document, track and report any issues prior to moving your furniture.  It’s equally as important they know how to move furniture up stairwells, elevators, through room doors and then assemble & install in a safe, efficient and clean manner.

In summary, having your FF&E installer involved in the early phases of your hotel project can help eliminate circumstances unforeseen by the design team, provide areas for potential cost savings, and most importantly be your partner who keeps the guest experience at the forefront of your project.

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