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Interior designs on local supply

LOCAL interior design firms have added their voice to the chorus of local suppliers concerned by the growing number of local commissions awarded to eastern states-based companies.

An ongoing process of consolidation and globalisation has seen many national companies and government utilities commission a single design firm on the east coast to produce work for offices or outlets all over Australia.

However, the perceived cost benefits of such arrangements may not outweigh local knowledge and client service.

The WA Government has a Buy Local Policy in place for government tenders but some Perth designers feel this has little impact when companies are tendering for high-profile work.

Department of Contract and Management Services ministerial liaison officer Chris Avent said all government purchasing came under some element of the Buy Local Policy.

“In regional areas the rules are different to metropolitan areas to give a more even playing field for regional players. There is no common use contract for interior design but there is a separate panel covering interior design,” Mr Avent said.

The Interior Fit Out Panel is a three-year arrangement for a group of 12 interior design firms who rotate work through the panel.

Local company Freiberg designs and manufactures office partitions, work stations and office furniture. National sales and marketing manager Bob Beaver said some of the biggest government utilities source furniture from the eastern states.

“There’s an open policy between all the states – any local State government work is open to other states,” Mr Beaver said.

“The Buy Local Policy has no teeth really...it only kicks-in in the regional areas.”

Mr Beaver said it was hard for Perth design companies to compete for Federal Government work because it came out of Canberra.

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