We provide services with your health, safety and the environment in mind.
Custodial Services is one of the largest divisions of Facilities Management and provides environmentally-friendly custodial services for the University’s facilities, including academic, medical research, residence halls and faculty housing, and other public buildings across Grounds.
Custodial services for the UVA Health System, private clinics and related patient care areas are provided by UVA Environmental Services. The Environmental Services staff can be reached at (434) 982-1555.
In October 2013, the Custodial Services’ cleaning program was awarded the prestigious Green Seal GS-42 certification. UVA became the first higher education institution in Virginia, and third in the nation, to receive this certification.
Site-specific manuals address cleaning needs and unique challenges in most UVA buildings
A best practice in green cleaning is to carefully assess each building and develop a plan to address floor surface types as well as any unique cleaning challenge brought on by things such as live plants, animals or poor ventilation. The plan to address these issues is mapped out in the form of a manual and also includes customer communication protocols and policies that govern quality inspections, powered equipment use and what to do in the event of an emergency.
In 2013, UVA’s Custodial Services department received national certification of its cleaning program by Green Seal, the leading organization that sets the standard for approved cleaning products and programs. As part of that certification, we made a commitment to develop site-specific manuals for most of the academic and public buildings where we provide services.
To inquire about a specific building manual, contact Sandra Smith, Custodial Services quality assurance and development manager.
Learn about some green cleaning products and techniques to use in your own dormroom or home.
It takes a village
Partner with us to help keep working and learning environments healthier across Grounds.
You can contribute to an environment that supports better attendance, improved productivity and a greater sense of personal, intellectual and professional well-being. Learn numerous tips in the Support a Healthy Environment handout .
We’re GS-42 certified! Cleaning for Health ... yours, ours, your building and the environment
Learn more about what it means to be the third university in the nation and first in Virginia to achieve this designation.
Custodial Services has initiated a comprehensive new housekeeping program called Green Cleaning. Green Cleaning is a unique housekeeping program that selects products and implements procedures that are less harmful to the environment. These programs also expose building occupants, visitors and housekeeping personnel to fewer health risks.
Programs that increase indoor environmental quality such as the one being implemented by Custodial Services are proven to reduce absenteeism by as much as 23 percent, increase employee retention by as much as 12 percent and improve productivity by as much as six percent.
The program is a more focused approach on the selection of products and the way that they are used with environment health and safety in mind.
Only products that meet the standards set by such agencies as Green Seal are selected for a Green Cleaning program. Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that identifies and promotes products and services that reduce pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. Product selection, however, is only the first step. In addition to products, there are also procedural changes. The housekeeping staff adheres to strict, regimented practices for everything they do, from cleaning a mirror to stripping the finish off the floor.
Our primary cleaner is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is used as a glass and mirror cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, carpet spotter, degreaser and neutral floor cleaner.
Custodial Services employees use microfiber cloths as much as possible to dust and clean. The microfiber cloth is such a highly absorbent cloth that many cleaning applications can use only water and a microfiber cloth. We are converting the typical mop bucket and cotton mop to a flat microfiber wet mop with a mop bucket divided between the chemical solution and the picked-up mopping solution. This method avoids contaminating the clean chemical solution with the dirty water picked up from the floor.
Testing continues with zinc-free floor finishes. When zinc floor finishes are stripped off, there is a concern the heavy metal zinc may go into the waste stream.
Whenever possible, Custodial Services utilizes powered cleaning equipment approved by Green Seal and The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). The Green equipment has lower decibel levels than traditional equipment and minimizes water and chemical usage.
Green Cleaning protects health without harming the environment. Applying Green Cleaning at the University of Virginia protects the health of vulnerable populations among students, staff and faculty, parents and visitors and the custodial staff.
By applying Green Cleaning, Custodial Services is cleaning for health and replacing the traditional housekeeping services with a more efficient and environmentally sustainable practice.
The road to GS-42 certification took us to other destinations as well
Discover what else we achieved.
- Development of staff
- The science of green cleaning
- How to work successfully as part of a diverse team
- How to perform research and identify best practices
- How to manage a complex project
- How to prepare and deliver presentations
- Standards for quality
- Custodial carts
- Custodial closets (click to find out more)
- Cleaning results
- Customer service (click to find out more)
- Develop an eye for detail
- Site specific manuals will detail specific cleaning challenges and plans for each building (click to find out more)
- Link to performance
- Department-wide performance goals from associate director to front-line staff
- Everyone had a role in achieving certification
- Full team participation helped bring about increased buy-in to new procedures, products and tools
Want to know more about how we measure the quality of clean?
“What gets measured gets managed” is true in all industries. For Custodial Services, we use APPA cleaning levels to help benchmark the quality of our cleaning results.
APPA, the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, defines five levels of clean, with one being cleaning at the highest level and five equating to “unkempt neglect.”
Our goal is to reach the second highest level of clean. To measure this, we designed and use an electronic inspection tool, named the Automated Audit Tool, which is based on APPA standards and appearance levels.
The inspection tool assigns numeric values to multiple items in various space types. In a restroom, for example, the tool primarily assesses the cleanliness of floors, sinks and toilets. Dispensers are also checked to measure re-stocking levels. Each item inspected receives a numeric value and when the total score for the space exceeds 2.5, supervisors are charged with investigating root causes and developing corrective action plans to help move the score closer to the targeted 2 level.
All scores and information collected get deposited into a database that can then be “mined” for reporting and benchmark comparison purposes.
Making it gleam
Find out what happens on Fridays.
GLEAM Team Fridays! put the shine back in glass, mirrors, brass, wood, flooring and anything else in buildings across Grounds that need specialized deep cleaning. The objective is to spend concentrated time cleaning, polishing and burnishing areas of a building that may not be addressed during normal, routine service. On GLEAM Team Fridays!, staff members provide service on a limited schedule during the morning, so that several hours can be devoted to hardcore, intensive cleaning of elevators, baseboards and corners, brass kick plates and floor drains.
Employees who produce dramatic results are rewarded with an on-the-spot sticker proclaiming “I make things GLEAM!”
Front-line staff on the move UP
Learn about our unique Top Performer class.
Twice each year — in the spring and fall — supervisors and managers nominate front-line employees whom they feel demonstrate high potential for more development, skills, knowledge and success.
A six-week course of 90 minutes each week provides 10-12 candidates numerous opportunities to step outside of their front-line duties and focus on improving their skills in multiple areas including:
- Elevate self-confidence and self-awareness
- Analyze and solve problems
- Provide some technical expertise in the science behind ‘green’ cleaning
Games are included in the course including a form of ‘Jeopardy’ that help instill important lessons within the context of fun.
One of the highlights of the course is each participant decides on a goal that is important to him or her and is attainable within the time frame of the course. The course culminates with a group set of Guiding Principles. Signed by each participant and framed, these principles express the most important take-aways for participants as a result of their six-week educational journey. To be included on the list, each principle must be agreed upon unanimously by all participants as an important lesson learned.
Graduates receive a framed certificate and framed copy of their agreed-upon Guiding Principles.
“This is How We Do It!” award celebrates the best in our team members
Learn more about this important recognition.
This is How We Do It! award is presented to front-line team members who demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Demonstrates or recommends a “Best Practice”
- Good, workable suggestion that is implemented
- Consistent excellence in their work; a genuine concern for quality in everything that they do
- Understands the customers’ needs and works to meet them consistently
- Consistent, speedy response
- Provides help to co-workers (unrequested)
- Works above and beyond without being asked
- Improves a work technique, method or procedure
- Exemplary role model or mentor to others
- Excellent team player (puts the focus on the team and not themselves)
You can learn more about this award by viewing the This is How We Do It! handout .
Going beyond customer service to customer delight
See our roadmap to wowing our customers.
- We know who our customers are.
- We know what our customers want.
- We believe that communication is the foundation for strong, long term relationships.
- We believe that it’s important to manage customer expectations so that we are all on the same page when it comes to what is expected and what we deliver.
- We listen to our customers and act accordingly.
- We empower our staff to own and solve problems.
- We realize that details count and that sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact.
- Training means improving and we take both seriously.
- We keep our finger on our customers’ pulse — how are they perceiving our services yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Wall of Shine!
Read what our customers are saying about us.
Dear Mr. Sayre,
Hi! I’m on the faculty in the Physics Department. I was inspired today to write just to commend the job that Fred is doing here.
This may seem a silly little thing to you, but I’ve been very grateful to Fred because he always keeps an eye on our chalkboards. If I make sure to erase the chalkboard in my office on a Friday night, it’s always been washed down and cleaned Monday morning. (He doesn’t clean it if it’s not erased, which is wise.) I can’t tell you what a difference this makes. For the previous nearly 20 years I’ve been here at UVA, the area around my chalkboard was always thick with chalk dust. The floors got cleaned from time to time, but the chalk tray on the board would have half an inch of chalk dust in it (except for the few times I specifically put in a request to get it cleaned). As a result, the chalk dust got everywhere in my office — all over my desk, on my computer, etc. Now, everything is clean and nice, even in an office as cluttered as mine is. I really appreciate it. Just thought you should know.
Dear Judy and team,
I can’t thank you and Bushiri enough for the wonderful work you two have been doing on the second floor of Jordan hall with respect to the housekeeping.
Thank you for making a difference each and every day. You deliver extraordinary results, you make it happen, and you get the job done! It’s that plain and simple; although I know it’s not that simple.
Cleanliness of the lab space is also a key factor towards successful experimental outcomes. We surely do not want dust or any other invisible particles to affect our experiments or even our delicate cell culture rooms. The task taken by your department is amazing and you do your job to the best of your abilities. Your team has always been accommodating and strive hard to get the job done once told.
But all in all, kudos! Great job and I take this opportunity to wish you and your team a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a great start in 2016.
Thanks and regards,
Simenesh is wonderful!!! She is conscientious and always pleasant and upbeat as she goes about her work. In fact, I think we all would say that Simenesh brightens our day when she comes to empty trash bins and whenever we see her during our work day. I’ve been delighted, as I know others have, that we have been so fortunate to have Simenesh assigned to our floor of MR-4.
Please don’t let anyone take her away!
I have been running a lab for almost 30 years at three different universities and six different locations so I have seen many housekeepers. In my book, Hassan is #1. He is the best I have seen anywhere. He is careful, thoughtful, industrious and cheerful. A great combination. I hope he remains on our floor for a long time.
I want to tell you how happy we are here in the Biochemistry Department to have Edison Manampa taking care of our housekeeping needs. Edison does a great job and keeps the sixth floor of Jordan Hall looking good. He is also very helpful and always ready to do whatever we may ask of him. His attitude is also good. He’s never grumpy and always smiles and is polite. I hope he continues to work on the sixth floor.
Just a brief note to tell you how great an employee that Lois Crenshaw is and how much we value her here in UHR. Besides maintaining our buildings in an exemplary fashion, she is a joy to see each morning. I hope that you are able to recognize her contributions.
I just wanted to tell you, as I mentioned in the hall, how clean everything's been on the 4th floor since Hassan started here. It hasn't looked this good since Mary retired, and we really appreciate it.
Phone: (434) 924-3336
Phone: (434) 243-7782
Quality Assurance and Development Manager
Phone: (434) 243-6319
Phone: (434) 924-0539
Phone: (434) 924-3702
Health System Physical Plant (HSPP)
Phone: (434) 924-6470