StandardsI have been apart of this Facilities Management Industry for just over 40 years and have seen most of the advances that have influenced the Custodial Operations come form technology manufacturers, even the first time study or task standards came from International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA). I have worked diligently to bring forth accountability and to provide consultancy support to my clients allowing them to realize and foster a competitive edge in this industry and to subscribe to a standards based process in their service delivery.

One of the first internal initiatives to rise from the Custodial Operations venue is when a group of 11 individuals, a few of which I know personally, sat down to define task and service activities for the higher education community and beyond it was the first significant internal development of accountability in the Custodial arena and it was to be known as the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA).

Talk to any of these individuals and ask a specific question as to how many people I need if …(pause)… you will be surprised that they will not bark off the number to you. In fact they will describe the standards as a “Guide” and that leads me to what I always have said the Housekeeping Standards is as much an oxymoron as Jumbo Shrimp. Now do not get me wrong in an industry that has been misled, mislabeled and misunderstood for decades any set of recognized standards or weights and measures is critical to accountability and budgetary variance reporting. We need to identify the variables with a more exact level of detail and only then can a canned standard approach have merit. I support and recognize the APPA Standards for what they are a guideline to be embellished and shaped to reflect a unique environment that can be found at your campus or site. They need to become modified standards at which point they lose their value as all Standards are modified in one manner or another to favor what management fails to address; training, technology and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Premier Facility Solutions at some point in the near future will introduce a set of standards that reflect the 15 member clients of PFS, real times and real operations throughout the East. These standards are all-inclusive and do include the variables present in the Performance-Q-base™ Network. During the last decade Premier Facility Solutions has seen the APPA Level Range of Level I through Level 5 in a soft range of transition. In other words APPA II does not become APPA I in a difference of .01% or say from 84.99 is Level II and 85.00% is now Level I, who could see that variance there and who would want to pay the estimated 10,000 square feet less of additional manpower to secure that Level, and more importantly who in your organization will recognize the shortfall from APPA I at 85.00% to the APPA II at 84.99% especially if you have contracted for performance and fees are held in the process.

It is also important to note that no one cleans to an APPA Level, that is, no one cleans and leaves behind that which is identified as residual soils and appearances that reflect an APPA Level. We teach and tool our staff to clean to a 100%. It is the duration of that cleaning excellence that we need concern ourselves noting that dips throughout the day can be supplemented with policing or “refresh” service is the name of the game.

The concept that is held by many clients across the country is that a site set at APPA Level III provides a lower cost and easier to achieve outcome by the Contractor, this is totally false. The risk and stress on the Contractor is greatly increased for the following reasons; the lower standard of an APPA III even when perfectly executed shows soils and flaws in the service outcome. In any Level of service there are times in which optimal staffing levels do not coincide with service demands, such events brings the Level III to a critical mass of unacceptability. Unlike a Level II where a day or two of miss assigned workload can lower the visual appearance slightly drawing only slight unacceptability and providing a quick rebound with ease, a failing Level III takes more significant restorative and resource efforts to mend the appearance factor.

In closing I present for your thought process that the APPA Level II (Low, Mid, and High) become the only level of service at your campus community. I have learned that a perfectly engineered and managed Level II range will provide your campus with a better appearance, lower the risk of unacceptability and save financial resources as a High Level II can compete with a Low Level I and a Low Level II will outperform a High Level III.


John M. Moran

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