- …urges consideration for janitorial facilities in building designs
Operators of commercial facilities must allocate an average of 60% of their routine maintenance budget to professional cleaning, as it forms the basic, yet most important component of long-term asset management, an expert in the field and Managing Director of an indigenous custodial management company, Spaklean Limited, Dinah Owusu-Kissi, has said.
This, she argues, will ensure the snowballing cost of deferred maintenance is minimised. Studies have shown that on the average, for every cedi ‘saved’ in the short-run by deferring maintenance, there is a four-fold increase in future capital renewal costs, rising to as much as 15 times over the life of the asset.
A study published by Statista Research Department (June 2021) shows an increasing trend of building managers in the USA allocating more and more resources to cleaning services. During the 2021 survey, 42.5 percent of the respondents stated that they spent between 21 and 40 percent of their operating budget on cleaning and janitorial supplies and 21.71% spent between 41 and 8o percent.
Previously often disregarded, commercial cleaning has come to the fore following the advent of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and has translated from routine wiping, dusting, and vacuuming to a more holistic, deep cleaning processes and disinfection with emphasis in preserving finishes, infection control, using green products and indoor air quality, to maximise worker productivity through improved health and wellbeing.
“It must be part of every facility’s maintenance plan. Cleaning is maintenance, and maintenance starts with cleaning, and for disregarding this, we say we have no maintenance culture; it starts from cleaning. It should be at the core of the budget and research suggests an average of 60% of your routine maintenance budget,” she remarked.
Dearth of janitorial facilities
The managing director stated that, from experience, few institutions give due regard to proper cleaning and is indicative of a defect in the wider maintenance culture. Bemoaning the phenomenon, she said this is most evident in space allocation and provision of janitorial facilities during design and construction of many commercial buildings.
“You visit a beautiful building, and it lacks janitors’ closets. Right from the architect, who designed the building, there is little provision, if any, for cleaning the edifice. Each floor needs a janitors sink, a low sink for fetching water into mop buckets and for washing mops and dusters; you do not want them to use the regular hand wash basin for that; it is unhygienic. Also, there should be a janitor’s closet for storing cleaning tools, instead of leaving them in the washrooms” she explained. “Oftentimes, we have to resort to under staircases to keep our tools.”
She therefore appealed for greater consideration for custodial rooms for janitors and their health and safety, saying, “I am appealing to our building designers, if you are putting up a commercial facility, think about how to clean the building and about those who will clean it; give us a room for janitors to put their things and as well as a place to rest. All too often, we see janitors hanging around without appropriate places to sit or rest. It is about time to have public policy on these issues.”
With an increased focus on Quality, Service Delivery, Health, Safety & Environmental, and Management Commitment, Mrs. Owusu Kissi – whose firm is the first in Africa to achieve the gold-standard of Cleaning Institute Management Standards (CIMS) certification – said, she expects the demand for professional-grade cleaning to be on the ascendancy.