Educational FF&E Consultancy
As a consultant, I often work with educational furniture facilities to design, specify, and procure FF&E. There are numerous ways to accomplish these tasks, and each has its own set of challenges. In this article, I’ll look at three common issues.
Designing with FF&E needs in mind
Using FF&E in the design process helps ensure that the furnishings and equipment are fit for purpose, functional, and meet your specifications. It also provides a more human-scaled look to your space, allowing for a more realistic client expectation.
FF&E is an integral part of a school’s design, as furniture and equipment play an important role in the functioning of the building. School districts are often faced with many decisions during the construction phase. In addition to the building’s physical structure, decisions may include issues related to health, safety, and environmental sustainability.
An architect’s ability to design for flexibility in a limited amount of space is a critical factor in developing architectural floor plans. However, designers must also be involved in the procurement process. They must choose furnishings and equipment that will not wear out, but will be durable and flexible enough to accommodate the demands of a busy school.
Designing with education FF&E needs in mind is essential for responsible budgeting. Without a careful budgeting plan, the project could fall well short of the client’s expectations.
Providing a digital Owner’s Manual
A digital Owner’s Manual linked to an as-built Revit model is the ultimate in FF&E consultancy. Not only is the content ubiquitous, but the cost and effort required to compile, store and share this information is minimal. Using a bespoke software solution such as the one found at Xavier Consulting Group makes the process a no brainer. Having a single source for the relevant data is the best way to ensure that the resulting documents are of the highest quality. This includes a dedicated team of experts who will keep your content on the cutting edge of technology.
The company also provides a suite of tools to help you implement, manage and protect the content. This includes an online portal for accessing, storing and sharing files in a secure environment. Keeping your digital documents on a secure network is the best way to ensure that your information remains in the hands of the right people at all times. Whether you are in the middle of a large rebranding exercise or just need to update your content on a dime, Xavier will get the job done right.
Meeting compliance standards
Educational FF&E consultancy is an integral part of developing and maintaining a safe and productive learning environment. While the process may appear to be relatively simple, the complexity of the regulations surrounding public education mean that it can be difficult to ensure compliance. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help you navigate the intricacies of the process.
In general, the process of designing and delivering FF&E will involve a team of people. The design process is likely to include a designer who will develop a digital floor plan and present concepts to the client. This can be a lengthy process, with the architect or designer working closely with the client to identify the most important features.
After the floor plan has been designed, the next step is to procure FF&E items. Some FF&E can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or through a third party. However, it’s often difficult to keep track of all the different types of FF&E.
Communicating project data
The communication of project data is critical to the FF&E process. It is a multi-party, collaborative process that includes the involvement of a number of people, such as the architect, FF&E Manager, and FF&E consultant. Managing and sharing project data is important, and can be challenging, particularly if the information is scattered across different platforms. However, a flexible database tool connected to Revit can help streamline the process.
Several data types can be tracked throughout the FF&E process, including specifications, vendor requests, and item approvals. Some methods are straightforward, such as updating a spreadsheet or generating a report. Others are more complex, such as using estimating software to pull quantities from a model.
Using a flexible database tool to capture and organize project data can eliminate the need for a spreadsheet. It can also connect to Revit, so all parties can share the information. For example, a designer can upload cut sheets, FF&E items, and other FF&E related data. A notification system can be set up, to ensure that the consultant is aware of when items have been requested.