Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Question

The building that I am bidding on is a Gold certified LEED facility. It is approx. 50,000 sq ft. but only 18,300 is going to be used for a surgical center. What is the going rate per square foot on LEED buildings? They will pay for building supplies.


Answer

As with all buildings, there are too many variables to establish a set rate for this structure. In fact, portions such as the surgical center will clean much slower than the general office areas, and those slower than the open public areas.
Your experience as a contractor will be your best guide. You should have solid understanding of the principles of green cleaning because that will be expected in a LEED certified structure. A helpful resource may be found at: http://www.issa.com/data/File/regulatory/LEED.pdf You may have to register with ISSA to get to it, but the document, “Green Cleaning and LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance What’s the Connection?”, will guide you through the basics.
The USGBC now uses this definition: “Green cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices.”
If you need to adjust your practices or equipment to conform to this basic standard, you will need to consider any additional cost. I would expect little in the way of added expense for the actual work, but your training and orientation for your workers will need to be detailed.
One thing to note is that LEED has foolishly adopted the antiquated and nebulous APPA guidelines for their Custodial Effectiveness Assessment standard. This is supposed to encourage “greater levels of cleanliness and hygiene in facilities” but instead of insisting on a uniformly clean (no unacceptable substances) surface as the standard, it allows for things such as “two days worth of dust, dirt, stains or streaks”, “a build up of dirt and/or floor finish in corners and along walls”, and “obvious dust, dirt, marks, smudges, and fingerprints”. All of these are levels of resoiling, not cleanliness, and are clear indicators that cleaning of the surface is needed. In fact, a buildup of floor finish in a corner is due to custodial ineptitude and indicates nothing about the actual cleaning.
Also, words such a “shine”, “bright” and “gleam” have little relevance to cleaning and there are surely baseboards that will never shine no matter how well you clean them. I do agree that pencil sharpeners that “hold only daily waste” and “are clean and odor free” have a huge impact on the public’s impression of the cleaning effectiveness.
In short, just plan to keep the place clean and allow enough time to do so, knowing that day to day operations will vary and affect the cleaning schedule.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com