Ready, Set, Install! 3 Signs Your Project Is Ready to Install Furniture & Accessories

by Marcia Ludwig PMP | Installation Project Manager

Your project is almost complete! The paint is on the walls. The flooring is installed. The number of contractors onsite is diminishing daily. The project has likely been in the works for years, and you are anxious to move in. The general contractor (GC) says it is ok to start installing furniture. These are all good signs that it is time to install, but is it?

You give us a call asking how soon we can get there. Instead of answering with a date, we come back with questions. Can you send us photos of the space? Does the GC have a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO)? Is the space free and clear? When will the Final Clean take place?

Why all the questions? These questions help us to determine if we agree with the contractor and that it is time to install. When you send us photos of the space, and it looks like the image below; you are not ready to install the furniture.

Even though the contractor tells you, “We will move this stuff out of the way,” we know better. Which is why the other questions become more important.

Why are these questions important, and what do they mean?

  1. Does the GC have TCO?

To obtain Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO), a building must pass its life safety inspections. It has the green light from the fire marshal and appropriate inspectors to occupy it. If the building hasn’t passed these inspections, it tells us a few key details. First, it tells us we are being asked to bring in furniture and other finishing touches in too early. Before receiving TCO, there were significant numbers of contractors on site. Bringing the furniture in this early will slow down their progress, as well as our own. Not to mention they will use your new furniture. That nice credenza makes a great workbench. Your desk is now a ladder to put in those last pesky ceiling tiles. Your task chair moves everywhere in the building where someone wants to sit and do their work. The risk of damage by others has significantly increased. The second reason for this rule is that in some cities, the building will not pass inspection if the furniture is in the space. The inspector will require it to be removed. This results in more labor expenses for the removal and reinstallation of the furniture.

  1. Is the space free and clear?

This is standard verbiage in the furniture industry. What we are asking is if the space is move-in ready. Are all interior finishes installed (i.e. flooring and cove base installed, all wall treatments finished, ceilings and lighting complete)? Have the trades removed all their equipment from the space, and has the space been final cleaned? We want the space to be in a condition where if you moved in tomorrow, you would not reside in a construction zone.

  1. When will the Final Clean take place?

Within construction, there are different levels of clean. There is Construction Clean, and there is Final Clean. Often it is a request to move in furniture after Construction Clean. This is too early. Not only are the trades still onsite during Construction Clean, but the level of cleanliness is not the same. At construction clean, the contractors have only cleaned up after themselves. If you are lucky, they have picked up all the trash, swept, and vacuumed the space. At Final Clean, a cleaning company is onsite and will scrub from top to bottom. They wipe down windows and walls and mop the floors with clean water. They make the space sparkle. Once the Final Clean has taken place, you are ready to install the furniture.

If the space looks like the image below, you are officially ready for the finishing touches. We can now deliver and install your furniture, window treatments, art, and accessories.

We know that it is hard to wait for the space to look like this, but there is no need to force your way to the finish line.  It’s important to take time and make sure the project is done right. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. When the space is ready to install, you are only days away from moving in and enjoying the beauty of your new space.

In summary, here’s a quick install checklist – you’re ready for furniture and accessories when all of the following are completed:


By focusing on purposeful design in multi-family housing, you’ll attract new tenants and create a community that stands the test of time.

Sources: (1) (2) gallup poll november 2023 (3) what it means to design with Gen Z in mind – multi-housing news ( (4) Banner Image: Kimball Etc.

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