The Difficult Contract Supply Criteria (Part 3)

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    A designer needs to recognise that an hotel guest does not necessarily treat an hotel with any respect, nor behave in a restrained manner when away from home. Managers have told me how shocked they have been by behaviour of many at conferences when alcohol and colleagues come together often in orgies of all kinds of excess resulting in couples being pulled off one another in lifts etc.. As the saying goes, “what happens at conference stays at conference, apart from the STI’s “…

    This throws a different light on the need for robust design in hotels. Corridors benefit from tall skirtings and pronounced dado rails to protect from trolley damage, but it may be that between dado and skirting a fabric backed vinyl should be used too. It is tough enough to keep broken plaster in place after being hit by a steel cornered business briefcase.
    Many hotels use a paint finish rather than wall paper. Many paints are now formulated to be quick drying, odour free and solvent free. The downside is that many paints mark more easily and when washed they can actually wash off. Maybe a washable vinyl paper is a better solution, but it can peel easily when scratched. So think about where the finish is. In a bathroom or toilet it must be washable. Make sure you think about door swings and look at door handles. I have seen many holes knocked in walls by room door handles, so think about door stops.

    Door locks need to be robust – I once had a drunk burst into my hotel room at 3 in the morning when the door lock operated with his key… Spy holes need to have internal covers – they work both ways otherwise. On disabled or family rooms have a low level spy hole for the wheelchair user or child alone in the room to use.

    Are your wall coverings robust or easily repaired? Paint too often fades in colour so retouching can lead to a piebald appearance and the whole wall need painting so is it a false economy , would papering be better? Before specifying check with manufacturers. Do wallpaper rolls have white edges (one manufacturer supplied a colour matching pencil to go over the edges before hanging); do rolls have to alternately be reversed to avoid any issues with pigment shading across the roll?

    Making sure that the decorator knows the delivery time for a wallpaper can make the difference between finishing on time or late, but only if you are sure the decorator will order and pay before it is too late. Do you get the decorator to tell you the quantity and you order on the clients behalf? I once drove through snow to Gatwick to collect wallpaper coming in from the US that was held up in Customs. I have paid for 24 hour delivery on a Thursday only to be told when it was delivered late Monday “well we don’t work weekends” so always check the time to be allowed between an order being placed and delivery taking place.

    Does the supplier want paying in advance? Talk to the company you are specifying from on what terms they will supply to your contractor/hotel/client. If specifying for an area outside the EU what is the VAT status? If your Client or the contractor using the goods doesn’t pay VAT you could be stuck with a bill – a shipping agent or the manufacturer can advise you.

    So to Rule 3: Know the timetable for every detail, look for likely problem areas. Anticipation is better than reaction, take nothing on trust.

    Daniel Fountain / 21.02.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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