Manning Group, the Facilities Services Network member that covers Arizona and New Mexico, had an unusual opportunity for an office furniture installation company in their part of the country: the first in-market installation of a furniture line.
Fortunately for all parties involved, they accepted the challenge: a workspace-expansion project in the uptown Phoenix financial district. The customer is an independent investment advisor providing retirement investment management services to employers of nearly 150 of the Fortune 500 companies and a number of the largest retirement plan providers in the U.S.
Two furniture brands, Tayco and DIRTT, are featured in the project design. DIRTT’s movable walls are pretty well established solutions in major markets around the U.S. Tayco—also a Canadian office furniture manufacturer, and based in Toronto—is in expansion mode for its Up line of systems and storage furniture, which debuted in 2006.
The project outlined below marks the first installation of Tayco’s Up line in the Phoenix market and the largest to date in Arizona.
Project Environment6 floors of Class A space in the uptown Phoenix financial district.
Time Frame for Field Work3 weeks in December 2013.
ManpowerWall crew of 6, furniture crew of 10–12, delivery and staging crew of 3–4. Prep work in warehouse by 1–2 people as needed.
Installed ProductDIRTT components for 675 linear feet of movable walls and 26 doors.
Tayco Up components for 175 workstations, including 100+ electric sit-to-stand stations,
and 6 private offices.
Knoll Autostrada reception station.
10 conference rooms, lounge furniture
and ancillary seating.
Manning Group Management TeamSpencer Layton, account/project managerMissael Lara, lead installer
Real Estate Project ManagementDrew Goodman, Alliance Project Advisors
The project site spans six floors of Class A space in the uptown Phoenix financial district. The featured products are the components for 675 linear feet of DIRTT architectural walls and 175 Tayco Up workstations, more than 100 of which are electric sit-to-stand stations.
Manning Group received all the product at its Phoenix warehouse, redelivered to site and staged the product before and after normal business hours, and performed the installations during normal business hours. Separate staging and install crews were used.
The installation team interfaced primarily with the project manager for the third-party project management company. Additionally, they provided on-site representation for the Palo Alto-based furniture dealership supplying the DIRTT and Knoll elements for the project.
- Market introduction. This project marked the first application of Tayco’s Up systems line in the Phoenix market. Additionally, it was Manning Group’s first opportunity to work with Up, a post, beam and tile system which is known for its exacting technical nature. Up systems have to be built progressively following a rigidly specified process. Great care must be taken to include every single step along the way.
- Complicated product set. Manning Group’s mission was further complicated by the inclusion in the workplace design of both 90-degree and 120-degree station layouts and by the more than 100 sit-to-stand electric stations, all of which would have to be installed and then initialized.
- Training requirements. Taking a proactive stance regarding the product, Manning Group asked the dealer to provide instructional DVDs some weeks in advance of the start of the installation. The lead installer for the project made himself thoroughly familiar with the DVD material. On the first day of installation, he conducted a training demonstration on site for the entire build team. The team assignments remained constant throughout the installation period to accelerate learning and ensure the consistency of technique and work quality.
- Custom fitting. Several adjustments to the DIRTT wall were required to accommodate actual building dimensions.
- Multiple concurrent work flows. Making sure that the right mix of labor skills and the right product were constantly available was an ongoing challenge for Manning Group’s project management, dispatch, warehouse and delivery functions. The project spanned the last three weeks in December 2013. The first week was dedicated to getting a running start on wall installation. During the second week, wall installation and Tayco systems installation ran concurrently. During the third week, Tayco systems furniture installation ran concurrently with the installations of the Knoll reception station, the case goods, the seating and the soft furniture. All installation work had to be accomplished during normal business hours. Deliveries and staging work all had to be accomplished before and after normal business hours. Expertise in planning, communications and coordination were marks of Manning Group’s success in making this all work out.
- Extensive building protection requirements. Adding to the logistical challenge was the 400 foot horizontal push involved in distributing product throughout the site, virtually all of which required some form of building protection, including Masonite protection for floors and elevator walls, corner guards and custom protection for the glass entry doors.
- Unforeseen customization. At the end of the installation period, the client discovered the need for some unplanned customization that had to be done right away. Reacting quickly to apply the combined talents of its own cut specialists and one subcontracted finish cut installer, the Manning Group team handled a total of 42 grommet, straight, circular and scribe cuts within 48 hours of receiving the client’s request.
Tayco’s representative complimented the Manning Group team on having learned the product much faster than other installation companies.
The furniture dealer’s project manager commented favorably on Manning Group’s communication, preparedness, and performance during the installation. He specifically liked the team’s daily updates, including progress photos, via email.