When it comes to commercial office moving or commercial relocation, it’s rare for a tenant or client to facilitate their own move, but it does happen — with varying results, says Ed Bowerman, Corporate Director of Project Management at Savills, a global real estate services provider.

“Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t,” he says.

Bowerman said that some people may just assume a big commercial relocation is always fraught with difficulty because they don’t have an alternate experience for comparison.

For Savills’ tenants, Bowerman typically puts together a team that includes designers, engineers, information technology support, and a furniture planner or furniture consultant like kimiko designs, as well as tenant representatives. But if a company does things independently, there are several factors to consider.

“It’s not rocket science, but if you don’t have experience, you just need to be careful,” he says. “[It] can turn into a train wreck.”

preparation and research is key

Bowerman notes that while commercial moving is always complex, these days, “it has gotten down to the inches.”

To save time and money on installation day, the process starts with an office furniture plan and an office move plan, which includes the selection and measurement of furniture to ensure everything will fit properly when transferring to the new space.

There is also the electrical work to consider, as well as how outlets and cables will interface with the furniture and architecture.

“Scheduling enough lead time is a really big deal,” Bowerman said.

little things can add up to big problems

With a lot of moving parts, the details can sometimes get lost, adding to the cost or complications of the move.

Elizabeth Mayes is a senior interior designer at Stephens, a financial services firm headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. The things she thinks about in a commercial move might not be obvious to someone with less experience.

“I wish everyone realized that while after-hours moving is ideal, it is also 50% more expensive,” Mayes says.

She also notes that you shouldn’t schedule your coffee and vending services or move copiers until after the furniture is in place. “It will likely be in the way,” she says.

Mayes also said that with a big investment in furniture, someone needs to be its guardian during any construction — or find furniture storage.

“Moving and storing furniture is not that hard,” she says. “You can have it protected during construction, but that likely won’t happen, or [it] won’t stay in place during construction. So, either check on the furniture and its protection throughout the process or move it out of the way.”

a furniture planner can ensure success

Mayes says it is important to have a furniture planner on your team — especially if you are spending a lot of money on new furniture — because the planner will have a different perspective than the company itself. 

Bowerman said that he finds having a furniture planner on his team a great asset when there is a lot of new product, a new location, a reconfiguration of a space or building, or a significant capital investment in the move.

“In the big scheme of things, the cost [of hiring a furniture planner] is small compared to the overall investment,” he said. “It makes purchasing furniture easier and makes the move run more smoothly. It saves money. Everyone is happier.”


Dianne Murata is the founding principal and accidental environmentalist at kimiko designs, an interior design firm specializing in all things furniture (except selling it). kimiko designs leads kimiko green, a community of industry experts, including Toyota North America, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Zions Bancorporation, Los Alamos, and Indeed, partnering to envision a better way to manage the furniture waste created by the built environment. Connect with Dianne on LinkedIn and learn more at kimikodesigns.com.


Dianne Murata


furniture planning


moving office furniture

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