Physical facilities changes services related to furniture needs

Single vendor will be used; departments will be charged for services

In an effort to use university resources more efficiently, the physical facilities department is making changes to services related to furniture assets.

Moving forward, the university will use a single vendor for all furniture purchases, repairs and moves with limited exceptions. The standardization of furniture assets will also take effect immediately.

Furniture purchases

Individual items of furniture have been standardized in order to save money by eliminating time and resources used for design selection, service, warranty and repairs. Physical facilities staff have preselected office and classroom furniture and certain other items based on functionality and durability. All new furniture will conform to these standards.

Departments will be able to purchase office furniture through Buyway without the need for physical facilities staff. This includes task chairs, desks, desk returns, bookshelves, drawer pedestals and guest chairs. Design services for the layout of furniture can also be procured through the vendor for a fee as part of the purchase process in Buyway. Users will receive quotes so they understand all costs prior to approving purchases.

Physical facilities staff will not be used for small scale furniture layouts, which were previously done at no cost. They will be focusing their resources on major capital projects where their time will be paid for through project budgets. This is seen as a better alignment of resources and appropriate burden of financial responsibility.

Systems furniture (cubicles) will continue to be supported. This service will be provided through the vendor for a quoted fee. Existing systems will be repaired and supplemented for small amounts if parts are still available. Larger needs will be fulfilled with the new design standard.

Public area furniture, lounge furniture and other furniture that is more unique in use or functionality will be selected from predetermined manufacturer lines with the assistance of physical facilities staff. This will allow standardization for repairs but design flexibility to create departmental identity.

The implementation of the new design standards will result in some buildings having different furniture from one office or classroom to the next in the short term. Eventually the standard will become pervasive, and the university will realize significant savings.

Furniture service

The vendor will service, repair and move existing furniture. Buyway will be used to initiate the process. This means all users will pay for those services, including departments that previously received those services at no cost.

There is a set of predefined services that have a predetermined cost. Examples include a chair fix of the castor or pneumatic stem, bunking/debunking of a bed, a broken chair leg, or a broken drawer handle. These will have a unique selection in the vendor’s Buyway catalog.

For other repairs and moves, the user will start the process in Buyway and be contacted by the vendor to understand the scope of work and provide a quote. Larger or more complex services may require the vendor to make a site visit before providing a quote.

All requests must be initiated through Buyway. If users call the operations center or submit a work request through the physical facilities website, they will be directed to Buyway.

The vendor should accept the request within one business day. Accommodations have been made for emergency service to be responded to quicker when safety or security is threatened (e.g., broken bed, unstable bookshelf).

At this time there is no plan for the university to provide surplus furniture storage. Departments can store items in space that is already assigned to them. If they have furniture that doesn’t fit in the space assigned, they can send it to the auction. If the auctioneer deems the asset of no value, it should be disposed of.

Furniture moves

The vendor will handle furniture moves and provide quotes to users. When an office or department is moving, the vendor can move contents/loose items in addition to furniture. If there are items that need to be moved independent of furniture needs, the vendor can provide a quote for moving services.

If sensitive equipment (e.g., microscopes, calibrated measuring devices) or unique items (e.g., statues, large items) require moving, the user should contact physical facilities to determine the appropriate method.

What’s next?

More information will be distributed in the coming weeks. Physical facilities is already implementing standards and using the vendor for services. As the timeline is solidified for when users can contact the vendor directly through Buyway, more information and guidelines will be shared.

Users will be able to see the cost of direct purchase items once the Buyway catalog is created. This shift is expected to occur in 4-6 weeks. Physical facilities staff are currently reaching out to users who have a large volume of furniture service needs to discuss the impact of these changes.

If you want to discuss how the changes will affect your department, please contact Tracey Soppanish, senior interior designer, at