Steps in Purchasing Furniture
Purdue University has developed office furnishing standards and polices to promote efficient use of space and operating funds. Click here and scan to Furnishings to read Purdue's furniture guidelines. Consistent application of these standards will:
- secure a degree of uniformity and versatility in moveable furniture
- ensure the selection of furniture is properly scaled to office sizes
- promote consistent treatment of University faculty and staff
- assure the quality of items purchased
- comply with ADA accessibility guidelines, fire regulations, and ergonomic guidelines.
Our preferred furniture suppliers, (Productive Business Interiors - Steelcase, Commercial Office Environments - Haworth), have been selected based on their commitment to the University’s recommended furniture standards. They have agreed to and support the following:
- Use of GSA, U.S. Communities, E&I contracts and manufacturer buying agreements established with Purdue for pricing
- Deliver/install, inspect/clean furniture and remove cardboard and trash. Removal of existing furniture is not included.
- provide design service and office space planning Some firms will charge an additional fee for revisions.
- Designer will provide brochures for items specified, websites where items can be seen online, or campus locations where products are in use.
University funds should not be used to purchase furniture from vendors such as Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, etc.. These vendors do not offer commercial grade furniture that meets Purdue standards in regards to fire safety, or daily use ratings for example.
Purchasing furniture is a multi-phased process. It is best to start early! We believe following these steps will help ensure that you are satisfied with the end result.
Before contacting the Purchasing Department, follow these steps:
- Discuss with your supervisor the funding available to purchase furniture. Quality commercial office furniture is expensive even with our contract pricing. Know your budget!
- Next, think how to best organize your work area – where do you want your computer, your phone, drawer units (desk pedestals); do you need overhead bins or shelves, task lights, tack boards, filing or storage cabinets.
Be advised: Changes to your current layout may require additional phone and/or data drops at a cost of roughly $310 each. These costs will be charged to your department and impact your available budget.
Now you are ready to get Purchasing involved.
What Happens Next
- Contact Jennifer Schillo, furniture purchasing agent/designer to discuss your needs. Jennifer will schedule a meeting with the department. She may be able to provide the design services needed on this project or will contact the furniture design/dealer for those services. If an outside designer is warranted, Jennifer will include them in meetings described below, otherwise Jennifer will fill both the role of purchasing agent and designer. Please inform Jennifer if you have a deadline for installation.
- Jennifer will meet with you to discuss your layout preference and the available budget. She will have an Agreement Form for department signatures indicating the process and what charges could be incurred and at what rate.
- After you and the designer (Jennifer or outside person) have reached an understanding of your needs and desired office layout, the designer will create both a flat and an elevation drawing if needed which will be emailed to you and the purchasing agent.
- The designer and the purchasing agent will schedule a meeting with you to review these drawings. To expedite the process, and to avoid any misunderstanding on items being purchased, we strongly recommend that you closely review the drawings prior to this meeting. Use the drawing to make notes and record questions to ask at this next meeting.
- Once questions have been answered and agreement reached on changes to the drawing. Make a copy of the drawing with these changes for your records and for the designer. The designer will email the revised drawings to you and the purchasing agent.
- A second and typically final meeting with the designer, will be scheduled to review the revisions and get your approval on the drawing. Verify this latest drawing reflects the changes noted on the original. Note: If additional revisions are made at no fault of the designer, there will be fees for the designer's additional time.
- The designer will make any necessary changes to the revised drawings and send the final drawing to the purchasing agent with the quote. The purchasing agent will meet with you to:
After the drawing and pricing have been approved, the purchasing agent will create a purchase requisition and send to the department for signature by the department head and business manager. Requisition should be returned to Purchasing for entry into the Purchasing system. Be Advised! The purchase order cannot be canceled or changed after it is entered into the manufacturer's production schedule!
As soon as the furniture is ordered department should contact the ITS Helpdesk to open a track for data/voice drops and computer equipment moves, and open a schooldude order with Physical Plant staff who handle power issues and surplus items. Department will be charged for any additional data or voice drops.
- review and approve the final drawing and quote via signature
- discuss color and fabric selections as needed
Preparing for the Furniture to Arrive and Installed
Before furniture arrives, the purchasing agent will discuss with department what they would like done with surplus furniture items. Furniture can be stored in Ginsberg at a cost to department, salvaged, or moved to another department. Purchasing agent will make the determination on surplus items if they are to go into salvage area in warehouse or be disposed.
When the purchasing agent receives the date furniture is expected to arrive, she will send this information to the department, ITS, Physical Plant and any others involved to give them an idea when installation may occur.
After furniture is delivered, the purchasing agent will work with department and installers to set an installation date. Buyer will again notify appropriate ITS and Physical Plant staff. Any data/voice and electrical work should have been completed or be completed prior to installation date. ITS will schedule any computer equipment to be moved and then reinstalled. Physical Plant staff will schedule the removal of furniture as needed.
Furniture will be installed as illustrated on approved drawings. Installers will not deviate from the drawings. Please do not ask the installers to do additional work during this time without consulting the purchasing agent first. Installation service will include the inspection of the new furnishings, wiping the new furnishings clean of smudges and dirt, as well as removal and proper recycling/disposal of cardboard, trash and other materials.
Installation services do not include the cleaning of existing furnishings and equipment that are being reused unless this service was specifically requested and included in the quote.
After installation, purchasing agent should be notified if you want to make a change. There will be an additional charge for the designer, installers, and any additional product needed.
The furniture installers are expected to carefully look over the furniture and report any problems to the vendor and the purchasing agent. However, we urge you to also carefully look over the furniture. Verify:
- Drawers and bins open and close, lock and unlock
- Keys work
- Keyboard tray moves and locks into position
- Chair adjusts as expected
- Check furniture for any tears, scratches or dents
Report any such problems to the installer, if available and the purchasing agent. The purchasing agent will work with the designer for resolution and where appropriate, hold payment on items in question.