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May 8, 2007

Record of Decisions

Government Office Furniture Advisory Committee Meeting (GOFAC)
Record of Decisions
May 8, 2007
11A1, Room 101
Gatineau, Québec

In Attendance

  • Bruce Maynard, Chairperson
  • Margaret Jackson - Haworth Ltd.
  • David Swire - Teknion Furniture Systems
  • Bruce Parratt - The Global Group
  • Jean Barbeau - Artopex-Plus Inc.
  • Eli Gilbert - Canadian Atlas Furniture Corp.
  • Gary Fawcett - Fawcett Files
  • André Clément - Asokan
  • Howard Dudley - Industry Canada
  • Claudette Gauthier-Gorley - Canadian Heritage
  • Céline Bédard - PWGSC
  • Rory Ridler - PWGSC
  • Pierre Paquette - PWGSC
  • Denise Le Blanc - PWGSC
  • Samuel Miller - PWGSC


Item 1 Approval of Record of Decision

The Record of Decision of 24 April 2007 was adopted by the Committee with one revision: Item 2, line 2, discussed at the meeting held 24 April 2007, is hereby revised as follows:

"Proposed "Basket of Goods" was discussed and revised."

PWGSC advised the Committee that the draft RFSO document and the "Basket of Goods" for Cabinets would be presented to the Departmental Working Group on Office Furnishings (DWGOF) on 17 May 2007.

Item 2 Freestanding Furniture

Freestanding Furniture was discussed in the context of making a determination on the similarities to the Cabinet Commodity, as well as areas where it was different in order to establish a Work Plan.

The Committee was provided with a copy of the proposed "Basket of Goods", the Environmental Attributes Grid, and the applicable Purchase Descriptions (PD) - PD-1 - General Office Freestanding Furniture and PD-3 - Executive Freestanding Furniture) for discussion purposes.

The Basket of Goods
  • The Committee has been requested to provide input to categorize, define and validate the "Basket of Goods"; the three proposed "Basket of Goods" for the commodity Freestanding Furniture will be revised as recommended by the industry.
  • It was suggested to have three separate "Basket of Goods" - Executive, Fixed (laminate and metal products are similar) and User Adjustable. The User Adjustable category to be further divided into two groupings to address the many variations, components, and flexibility of this particular commodity.
  • It was agreed that a clear distinction between Executive (wood veneer) and General Office (laminate) products should be maintained.
  • The initial "Basket of Goods" will be revised to include missing items. Also, consideration will be given to the accessories and components of the series. A component could be defined as any product that must be attached to the desk or work surfaces. Key components missing from the "Basket of Goods" are task light, wire management, tack board and slat wall.
  • Small meeting tables / Conference tables products should be brought in as optional products as meeting room tables will be customized - different legs etc. and tables are usually added in work environment to complement the furniture.
  • PWGSC to verify with the Audio-Visual Procurement Group to determine if they purchase Conference tables with audio-visual capabilities or if they have some standards applicable to this product.
Evaluation approach
  • Industry indicated that a series approach to evaluation of Freestanding Furniture would be more appropriate
  • Suppliers will be required to offer certain mandatory products taken from the "Basket of Goods" to qualify a series.
  • Some products in a series will be optional such as tables.
  • Both mandatory and optional products must meet the performance testing standards.
  • For Executive products, the area that will be challenging is in the finish and the edge detail - how to establish a median.
  • It was agreed that evaluation of the price of a series would be based upon a few model layouts.
  • Industry indicated that some of the layouts are not ergonomically correct although in keeping with the Fit-up Standards. This issue will be raised at the next DWGOF meeting.
Proposed Procurement Process
  • Issue Call-ups for requirements below $25,000.
  • Issue a Request for Volume Discount (RVD) process for requirements above $25,000 for products in the "Basket of Goods";
  • Have the Fast Track Procurement Division issue a contract for requirements below $25,000 with approved exemption.
  • Have the Furniture Group issue a Request for Proposal to a pre-qualified list of vendors under the terms of a Supply Arrangement.
  • Committee Members informed that some factors other than price should be evaluated above $25,000 threshold or that the threshold should be raised for the clients to be able to select any of the Standing Offer products as competitive. While a Standing Offer and price competition may be sufficient for cabinets, consideration should be given to establishing Supply Arrangements for Freestanding Furniture.
Other issues
  • Fit-up Standards: The Committee Members representing the Client Departments, informed the Committee that "custodian" clients do not have to adhere to the Fit-up Standards, and the Fit-up Standards do not address existing set-ups.
  • The model layouts must be clearly identified, as being "representative samplings only" and PWGSC must allow clients' the flexibility to reconfigure them based on the "Baskets of Goods" to meet their requirements.
  • Some of the challenges facing this Commodity will be how to address such items as: a) interchangeability, b) inter-connection of components and c) cross-service product i.e. a table to match the workstation environment.

Item 3 - Other Items

The following environmental considerations were noted:

  • Environmental products are more expensive to manufacture than non-green products thus increasing the product value and cost. Consideration should be given to having two listing Green vs. Non-Green, and allow a greater price for these products on the Standing Offer.
  • The Industry indicated that if the Government values its commitment to Green, then it should be encouraged with concrete measures.
Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME)

Ms. Ridler, Committee Member representing OSME for PWGSC, provided the Members with the "Canadian Office & Institutional Furniture Industry Report" which is an industry report on Furniture prepared by the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Item 4 - Discussion of the Work Plan

  • PWGSC reiterated that the draft RFSO for Cabinets will be tabled for discussion at the DWGOF meeting of 17 May.
    Action: PWGSC
  • PWGSC indicated that several issues will be discussed at the next meeting covering Freestanding Furniture including Environmental Criteria, Call-up limitations, series issue, Standard Configuration for Standing Offer. Industry was invited to provide feedback on issues such as the completeness of the "Basket of Goods" for discussion at the next meeting.
    Action: Industry

Item 5 - Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held May 22, 2007 at Place du Portage, 11 Laurier Street, PDP III, Gatineau, Quebec, Tower A, 11A1 Room 101 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The Record of decision and revised "Basket of Goods" will be sent to the Members via e-mail prior to the meeting.
Action: PWGSC