Tips to Help Avoid Tragic Facility Maintenance Decisions in 2016

Project planning is critical for it affects everyone in your building/organization; Continuous Improvement Tips (CITs) will help you avoid tragic mistakes in the upcoming year.

Reoccurring problems are often indicators of other issues; therefore, they must be resolved so that they do not reappear.  Symptoms and underlying cause of problems must first be discovered.

When a problem arises, such as poor maintenance or low level of cleaning in your building that affects the overall appearance as well as the health and productivity of your building occupants employees, simply ask “why” (5 WHYs) until you reach the cause which will lead to a solution (e.g., poorly paid and untrained workforce do not have proper equipment/supplies)

The CITs technique is simple and effective for any business model: PLAN, TEST, DO, REVIEW:


Download this free spreadsheet for accurate vendor comparisons


  • Create Goals: Process and Procedures outlined in the scope of work
  • A Project Plan: (An example is a Cost Bidding Sheet for transparency of vendors; receiving repeatedly poor service in your building may be a result of very low wages being paid to the employees who work in your building, resulting in poor performance and high turnover).
  • Ability to define how to measure successful performance (new or improved process of service).


  • Set acceptance standards in advance – What is “good enough?” … as an example, no spots on carpet, no visible dust?
  • Testing methodologies include, but not limited to: Surveys; periodic inspection walk- through (MBWA – Management By Walking Around).


  • Keep measuring – your measurement system should align with your key measures defined in your plan such as the scope of work
  • Commit to being firm – keep engaged and focused on the plan in place and make everyone involved live up to the performance promised.


Identify and document feedback.

CLS Tile & Grout RenovationCreate 100% commitment by continuing to question the process:

  1. What was supposed to have happened (high-gloss floors, clean/healthy overall appearance, such as these before/after examples)
  2. What actually did happen?
  3. Why did it happen/not happen (i.e.building still does not appear clean because janitorial staff lacks proper training; building occupants frequently sick because surfaces are not sanitized properly?)
  4. What was learned and what can be done to improve a better decision next time?

Since inception in 1985, Cleaner Living Services has implemented Continuous Improvement techniques that differentiated ourselves from other cleaning companies and helped us build a strong brand through continually asking the “WHY” and “HOW” in our business:

Why: While others seek to seize all opportunities in the commercial cleaning market, CLS has developed a brand for delivering high quality cleaning in the suburbs of Chicago to owner occupied buildings who are very concerned about the appearance and cleanliness of their building.  CLS is a privately owned, local cleaning service that is grateful for building owners who are loyal to our brand.

windsor-versamatic-VRHOW:  Training our employees on always improving our Process and Procedures . Our business involves learning how to better remove dirt from the indoor working environment.  Therefore, our equipment must be the most efficient available; for example, our Windsor Versamatic vacuum cleaners pickup particles that are .03 microns in size (picture of the vacuum)

Cleaner Living Services, Inc. has a unique perspective of focusing on long term partnerships with building owners/managers to help them make lasting first impressions.

Do not make a tragic decisions in 2016, but focus on making a decision today that will be tomorrow’s legacy.  Please call Susan Popovic at 630-816-0300 to learn about the many benefits you can experience in your building.


The Floor Finish that Lasts for Years!

No Buffing.  No Maintenance. No Kidding.

Gloss Tek High Gloss FlorYou may have heard about it.  It’s the floor finish that requires no buffing and no maintenance for up to five years (according to the manufacturer) without losing its high gloss, clear coat, and brilliance.

It’s called Gloss-Tek, and we’ve been applying it for years on all types of floor surfaces, saving our customers thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

Over five years, it is estimated it will save you approximately 35% over conventional floor finishing products.

CLS has years of experience in applying the revolutionary GlossTek floor finish to all types of floors including VCT, Vinyl Sheet, Terrazzo, VAT, Concrete, Ceramic, and more.

Our customers have literally gone for years without having to spend money on regular maintenance because this product and the application process provides a finish that is truly unbelievable.

The benefits include:

  • Reduced Costs – No burnishing, buffing or spray buffing. Highly resistant to scuffs, spills, asphalt walk off from parking lots, ice melts, salt, and much more.
  • Reduces re-application – Virtually maintenance-free, GlossTek dramatically reduces scrub and recoat frequency. Superb chemical, abrasion, stain and UV resistance (does not yellow).
  • Sustainable and Green – GlossTek is eligible to count towards your LEED green credits.
  • Improved Floor Appearance – Better looking floors, all the time. GlossTek “evens out” the never-ending floor appearance cycle by providing a long lasting, like-new finish that lasts much longer than conventional finishes.




LEED:EBOM v4 Changing Cleaning Credits

US Green Building CouncilThe current LEED for Existing Building: Operations & Management (LEED-EBOM) is currently under revision by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and the new version (v-4) should be released in 2013.

LEED-EBOM is the rating system of the USGBC for single buildings, whether owner occupied, multi-tenanted, or multiple-building campus projects.  A building needs to have at least three months of operational data for an initial certification, and needs to be in operation for at least 12 continuous months before certifying.

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance ratings are awarded according to the following 100 base point scale:

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver:  50–59 points
  • Gold:  60–79 points
  • Platinum:  80 points and above

According to Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, there are changes in the v4 revision that impacts the cleaning credits for buildings seeking LEED-EBOM certification.

Some of these anticipated revisions include:

  • Use of disinfectants and sanitizers only when necessary
  • Developing goals for conserving energy and water throughout the building
  • 75% of products must be green certified (up from current 30%)
  • 40% of equipment must be considered green (up from 20%)
  • Accepted product certifications now include EPA’s DfE and ISSA/EcoForm Transpare Program in addition to Green Seal and EcoLogo standards

Other cleaning credit elements have been “rolled into” another existing credit, including:

  • Green Cleaning Policy
  • Entry Mats
  • Exterior Cleaning Requirements
  • Waste Stream Audit

> Read full article by Steve Ashkin
> Link to LEED-EBOM
> “Making the Most of LEED-EBOM”

When Do Commercial Cleaning Cuts Create Liabilities?

In the last few years, just about all facility managers have been asked by senior management to take steps to save money with their commercial cleaning needs   whether it is reducing costs across the board,  cutting back on services, or deferring maintenance.

This white paper written by Steve Silen, director KPMG Advisory Services, addresses the liabilities of cost savings .   He points out that cutting costs too deeply may result in a long-term liability despite the short-term savings.

He uses the analogy of car maintenance and how expenditure decisions can have unintended consequences.  As an example, he states, “to save money I the short- term, you might choose to delay changing the oil, replacing a balding tire, or investigating a strange engine noise. But in the long run, these choices could result in major and costly car repairs, or an accident causing injury to yourself and others. “

The same holds true in decisions regarding facility maintenance.  Silen points out that a system failure can typically cost more than the cost of the maintenance that could have prevented the failure.  Some companies have benefitted from outsourcing some FM-related costs.  It is a particularly attractive option, as statistics show outsourcing can generate an annual savings of seven-to-20 percent.

> Read full white paper from KMPG: “When Do Cost Savings Become Liabilities?”