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Why You Need Written Specs or How to Avoid Sawing Off Bed Posts and Other Common FF&E Problems - By Deborah Harris

When the pressure is on to quickly complete design and purchasing functions in an effort to open a property by a designated date, it may be tempting to bypass the part of the process that results in formal, written specifications. This is a serious omission that can cost even more time and money as a project moves toward completion.

HTrends An easily overlooked detail, such as the height of a canopy bedpost, can mean the difference between fitting the bed through the guestroom door and sawing off the posts to get it in. Not only do specifications need to be written to ensure the purchaser and manufacturer are clear on the designer's intent, they also need to address all details impacting appearance, functionality and price.

Differences in terminology and individuals' frames of reference affect the interpretation and execution of product details. Vigilance is the order of the day for designers and purchasers - chairs must fit under tables, fabrics must conform to local FR codes, edges must be straight, eased, bullnose or ogee. These finer points may not get our full attention in the initial rush to design and purchase a project in eight weeks, when there are hundreds of product selections needing to be made and scores of purchase orders needing to be placed.

Here is just a very small sampling of important and often-overlooked details that have a big impact on look and function:

• Direction of COM (fabric) application

• Apron height

• Seat Cushion Fill - foam or down/feather combo

• Veneer wood species

• Sofa sleeper mechanism

• Lamp switch - line, socket, ADA-compliant

• Bulb wattage

• Chair arm height

• Bed skirt and coverlet drops

There should be no short cuts in the design and purchasing processes when reputations, money and a quality end result are at stake. As professionals, designers and purchasers are obligated to ensure FF&E requirements are adequately documented before the purchasing phase begins. There are enough unexpected surprises in every project; precisely written specifications are a good way to keep those to a minimum.

About the Author
Deborah has been managing multifaceted, high-dollar value FF&E procurement and installation projects for twenty years. Her expertise in costing, sourcing, product specifications, scheduling and installation has contributed to the successful completion of four, five and six-star projects throughout the United States and abroad.

e-mail: deborah@memorablesolutions.com
website: www.memorablesolutions.com/deborahharris.htm

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