In your lease document and within the industry, we call everything that you bring to the property your furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E). Before you can think about moving out of your current property to the new one, you must have the new property functional and ready to receive your FF&E. We’ll briefly discuss your IT, furniture, and equipment as it pertains to moving day.
Cloud-based infrastructure replaced most onsite servers over the past decade in the majority of offices. There is usually a need for onsite server space for internal networks. Additionally, the internet of things (IoT), connects multiple components of the operation to the internet and each other. Robotics, automation, security, warehouse management systems, RFID scanners, printing presses, 3D printers, CNC machines, water jets, laboratory equipment, bottling machines, temperature sensors, automated roll-up door censors, thermostats, workplace seat management software, etc. As manufacturing, storage, production, distribution, and logistics companies continue to adopt new technologies, the digitization of the operations increasing the focus on IT preparations.
Network cabling for internal office networking, computer improvements, server room, and racking occurs while the walls are open because cabling lines will be run through the walls and up and over the drop ceiling grid if there is one.
Internal IT departments of companies, third party IT consultants, and internet service providers usually need extra time to properly budget, coordinate, and execute their parts of the system setup. IT department’s interconnectedness requires multiple stakeholder approvals, which can take additional time. For example, IT contracts for new equipment procurement might involve a contract that needs internal IT approval, finance approval, legal review and input, and executive approval before being fully implemented. Then the equipment needs to be ordered, received, and installed. Installation is just the beginning. People will require training on these systems. The concept of improving your operation while you move also means that you might have new methods to learn during the process. While this is an opportunity, it is also a source of turmoil if not thought through.
IT contracts are also where a program manager and move manager can be of utmost value. They can keep each component piece of an IT-related project moving along as well as provide an independent opinion when you are in crunch mode. The name of the game here is zero downtime.
TV’s are installed along with other audiovisual equipment at this time as well. TV’s are also about personal preference. Some offices have one in every office while others have computer monitors installed on the wall for presentations. Other companies are devoid of TV’s thinking that they are purely for entertainment and don’t serve a purpose in the office. Audiovisual equipment installation usually covers the reception area and conference rooms.
Most tenants think about furniture in broad terms of inventorying their existing furniture and approximating whether they have enough to continue their operations with some room for growth. Many tenants believe that they can have their mover break down their furniture, transport it, and then reassemble in their new space, with minimal adjustments. Rarely is this the reality.
For example, any relocation including at least several thousand feet will inevitably include a rearranging of office personnel to fit into this new space. Architect and furniture vendors excel at this task and will save you multiple headaches.
Furniture has notoriously long lead times. Trying to time the completion of construction, the receipt and installation of furniture, IT, the relocation crew, and the start of rent payments can be daunting to even the professionals. Still, without professionals, the room for error is rather large.
Where is the new furniture going to be delivered to and when? You don’t want your new furniture delivered too early when the contractors are in the building, and you don’t want the furniture delivered too late when you are rushing to meet deadlines, so scheduling is essential. Your mover can usually be a lifeline for you here in that they can hold furniture within their warehouse until the building is ready to receive it. This is the best option as early delivery allows you to stay on schedule.
Installation can take multiple days and even weeks, depending on the amount of office. The installation will also be the time where your planning will materialize, and you will find foreseen surprises that require modification. You might find that a particular desk location means that powerful sun glare from the neighboring building is unacceptable and requires reworking. You might find that all the glass offices are attractive aesthetically but require additional sound dampening and privacy screening.
Once fully moved in and operational, you will schedule one last walk-through with your contractor to touch up parts of the building scuffed up during the move in. You can address any other outstanding construction and clean up concerns here.
Let us not forget about the artwork. Some people new get this far while others have full-blown murals that cover an entire wall within their space. What you choose is all about the people in your organization and what speaks to the company culture. You’ll want all artwork installed after the furniture installation, but perhaps before or after your contractor punch list, depending on how invasive the installation process is for your artwork.
Equipment Moving Concerns
Let’s shift to the warehouse as companies that use industrial buildings have special needs here. One such consideration is the moving of racking, forklifts, machines, lab equipment. Relocation specialists will help dismantle, crate, load, transport and install machinery as needed.
Machines can require specialized movers and moving techniques. These movers are called machine movers and/or riggers. The most prevalent machine and equipment moving concerns are machines that require precision calibration, Underwriting Laboratory safety certification, concrete footings, mezzanine installation, and temperature control.
Machinery moving and rigging is a cottage industry, and there is usually only a handful of players in this space in any geographic area. Who you decide to work with will depend on the size and complexity of your operation, and geographic distance of the move.