Good communication is key to great building service work. If you're a building manager, you're hard-wired to expect the unexpected. You understand that if a unit can break, a floor can stain, or a tree can fall, it will.
You also know that one of the smartest connections you can make in your industry is with a reputable building services company that is comprised of experts you can call on in the event of an emergency.
This also holds true for new construction. Partnering with a local service team at the beginning of the design stage can help create a solid foundation for the future.
Along the way, fostering this relationship is key, as you'll both depend on one another for support moving forward. Today, we're sharing six helpful ways you can work together well.
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1. Create Contracts and Safety Checklists
Before hiring a building services company, create a formal contract for all parties to sign.
Within the contract, list the roles and responsibilities you expect from the service team, as well as the specifics of each project. This is also the place to list any legal terms and conditions necessary to protect your in-house team, as well as remuneration and payment methods.
Your contract should include:
- Payment terms
- A detailed statement of work including deliverables and deadlines
- Protective provisions in the event of a breach of contract
- The specific rights and duties of each party
Once that documentation is complete, it's time to introduce all new team members to the safety and security protocol associated with the building. Walk them through established procedures and best practices, and provide them with a copy of the on-site safety manual.
Though they can be time-consuming to compile, these files are necessary to set boundaries and establish baselines. If you're in doubt about a section or subsection to include in your clauses, add it. Make sure the building services providers are clear about your expectations because ambiguity can lead to error.
2. Conduct a Workspace Orientation
Don't expect a janitorial service to understand right off the bat how you manage the building, or a maintenance crew to know where all the valves, cutoffs and other critical components are. When assumptions take the lead, expectations go unmet and wires get crossed.
Instead, take the time to orient any new building service provider with the layout of your building, noting any critical spaces.
At the same time, explain other pertinent data that the crew might find useful. Let's take a look at two important categories to consider.
- Who should the crew report to? To whom should they provide job updates and status reports? Who will help answer their questions and guide any new team members?
- If your company uses any special communication software or tools that you'd like the service providers to leverage, now is the time to explain login and usage details with everyone involved.
Interfacing with Clients:
- While a crew is working on your building, it's likely that your business will have other visitors working in the same space. To their outside eyes, these workers will look like employees. This applies to a new construction site or existing facility.
Is there a particular way you'd like the building services providers to interface with visitors, clients or other members of your organization? Explain and provide any required identification badges, dress code requirements, and related details at this time.
3. Be Early and Forthcoming with Data
Yes, last-minute tasks happen. However, to the greatest extent possible, provide the building services company with advanced notification every time you have a new project.
For instance, if you're set to complete a new build on Friday, don't wait until Thursday afternoon to hire your post-construction cleanup crew. If one of your HVAC units keeps clanking, make the maintenance call now rather than waiting for a full breakdown to occur.
When it's time to work, your service team should have all the information it needs to do its job correctly, on time and to standard. Make sure everyone has access to this data ahead of schedule and knows of any changes as they occur in real time.
When it comes to building management, a single delay can have a domino effect. By being as early and forthcoming with data as possible, you can help ensure that your service providers remain on schedule and on task.
4. Hold Regular Check-In Meetings
You aren't a mind reader. Nor are building services employees. To make sure everyone is on the same page and working off the most recent data, hold regular check-in meetings with all parties.
These keep all team members informed and on schedule. They also serve as a time of open discussion, where anyone with a question or concern can present it to the right authorities. Matters may be ones of safety, work quality, project performance or even possible disputes.
Take notes and follow up as soon as possible for any issues requiring resolutions.
The Importance of Routine Inspections
When you're working with a particular building services crew on a long-term basis, you may need to establish a schedule to perform routine inspections of the work. This is common during new construction, as well as extensive repair work.
Performing this step does not signify that you don't trust the performance of the team in question. Rather, it serves as an integral part of your company's overall quality assurance process.
Routine inspections help inform your in-house leaders that the scope of work for each project is being done in a consistent manner. They're also a great way for you to communicate with the service experts any feedback you'd like them to hear.
To make the procedure more simple and create a baseline for the future, invest in digital inspection reports that provide a greater level of detail than traditional paper-based ones. With this software, you can mark-up photos by area, showing employees the exact areas they can focus on and improve. In addition, you can make the data shareable and savable in both online and offline formats.
5. Establish Clear Channels of Communication
Strive to keep all communication channels as succinct and clear as possible. Service workers shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get their voice heard.
If possible, partner with a building services team that has a sophisticated workflow management system in place. On this comprehensive platform, they'll manage team shifts, organize outstanding tasks, assign work, track progress, and more.
With the click of a button, they can share task updates, report on job statuses, and take room notes with ease. They can also provide confirmation of completed work by sharing evidence such as timestamps and photos.
When teams have this kind of setup in place, they're better able to provide the kind of real-time data necessary to facilitate effective information exchange.
6. Follow the Golden Rule
At the end of the day, building services are the lifeblood of your structure. These providers keep the lights on, the rooms clean, and the air conditioning running. As such, remember to treat all workers the way you would like to be treated.
Pay all team members on time, make communication frequent and fair, and treat them like a real part of your company.
In turn, this respect will motivate these employees to perform to the best of their ability. When someone feels valued, respected and well cared for, this knowledge shows in their work. When you invest in your employees, even those whose work you subcontract out on an irregular basis, you're investing in the quality of your organization as a whole.
The Value of a Building Services Company
Whether you're an engineer working on the design phase of a new high-rise or the manager of a five-room office, the advantage of partnering with a building services company is the same.
When you have access to a team of professionals who can perform the work required to get your space up and running, you have an immediate asset on your side. To keep all parties satisfied, it's essential to follow a set of parameters from day one.
Value clear and consistent communication, get all official details in writing, provide early access to data and check in often, rewarding a job well done. As you complete these steps, you'll find that technology can make quick work of most of them.
Are you ready to take your building management initiatives to the next level? We'd love to help.
Our online platform centers on service companies. From initial walkthroughs and bids to scheduling and workforce management, we make it easy to coordinate efforts. Use our integrated, industry-specific tools to create reports, generate proposals, and manage assignments, all from within the same portal.
Schedule a demo to learn more and let us help you build for tomorrow, starting today.