Cabinets for a Bank

A cabinetmaker gets advice on creating specs and drawings for cabinetry for a bank, including teller work-stations. December 27, 2008

My local bank is building a new bank in town and the owner contacted me about bidding the cabinets. They hired a general contractor for the job, so I met with him this morning. The only information I was provided with was a blueprint of vague outlines of basically where things were going. No descriptions at all. He told me other cabinet guys he's dealt with provide him the detailed drawing of the tellers, desk, wall cabinets, etc., since an architect wasn't hired for the job. I have no idea how to construct a teller without any information. We are talking about a $100,000 job plus. Maybe it's way above my head, but if I had an idea what to build, it wouldn't be a problem.

What would you do? Let the job go, or research a bit to figure how tellers and such are made? I just don't know how anyone would bid this job without a spec sheet to bid apples to apples.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
It may sound odd, but you could stop at a different branch or a few different banks and just explain what you are doing to the manager and get input from the tellers.

From contributor J:
Once I had a chain of restaurants that wanted wood fired pizza ovens, nice ones, big ones. I took a class in kiln building and learned about refractory concrete. There may be a basic layout in the interior graphic details book at Barnes and Noble. I also have done quite a few banks, same station replicated 3-5 times with a panel front and space dividers on top of 42" transaction height counters. Bank tellers sit on 30" stools to stay at that height. For a 100k job, you may want to use a drafting/shop drawing service, just do not provide drawings until after job contract is let. Banks like to do business with their own customers. I have accounts in several banks. Great referrals in your business community also! Do this job.

From contributor C:
In addition to the suggestions that you visit several other branches to see what has been done in the past, and gather input from the actual users of the cabinetry (you may be surprised at the information you gain from some of the workers), I think you would be wise to get input as to what the cabinetry requirement will be. (Computer, wire chases, file storage, check writer locations, and merchandising displays, panic buttons, teller storage areas, storage for forms and the like, printers, card swipes, access control to the teller line).

I've done a few banks, and those are the tems that have popped into my head, and perhaps were covered (or not), in the job specs. Banks can be a bit of a different animal than a standard retail job, due to their increased complexity.