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8 Useful Tips For PM’s Dealing with Final Construction Cleaning

8 Useful Tips For PM’s Dealing with Final Construction Cleaning

As a project manager in charge of a commercial building project nearing completion. You are shopping around for final construction cleaning services and plan to have company representatives come do audits on your job site so you can compare prices and delivery dates.

Your work crews have removed a lot of their equipment and tools and done some basic cleanup. The building has some windows on upper floors that extension ladders can’t reach. “That’s what lifts are for,” you say to yourself.

You are under pressure. The deadline is approaching. You think having the final construction cleaning company start working while your contractors are finishing would save time.

Wait a minute!

This scenario has the potential for a lot of extra ticket work -- but that doesn’t have to happen!

Reduce or eliminate ticket work.

While it's common for contractors to perform work that isn’t included in a project’s documentation, avoiding extra work tickets whenever possible helps you, the PM, stay in control of your project.

1. *Final Construction Cleaning starts after all other work is finished.

Having final construction cleaners come before your construction and contracting work is complete makes it difficult for them to work efficiently and leads to ticket work.

In the above scenario, you are running behind schedule. Your client may want the final cleaners to start before they have finished. That’s because, like you, the GC’s are under pressure. With the final cleaners on the job site, they can give you, the PM, the impression that their work is almost done.

Here’s the problem. When contracting work is going on at the same time as final construction cleaning, the areas cleaned by the final cleaners will probably get re-soiled

2. You don’t want the final cleaning company to turn into your “maid service.”

That gets expensive really fast. And you don’t want your trades wasting time ducking out of their way, either.

Insist upfront that GC’s remove their tools and clean up behind themselves before the final construction cleaners come.

To avoid extra ticket work, decide up front that the final construction cleaning work begins only after all the other work is complete and all your contractors are gone.

3.  Nail down the full final cleaning project scope in advance.

Clarifying the scope and budget beforehand reduces ticket work.

The Punch List

Make sure you provide the final construction cleaning company a punch list -- and review it with them. Get on the same page and find out everything the final clean entails. Do you expect them to do a heavy cleaning -- to do all the major cleaning in addition to dusting all surfaces and removing all minor debris, stickers and glue from new materials?

You don’t want the cleaning technicians to leave believing they have finished, only to have to call them later about details you didn’t specify.

The budget

Agree to a specified number of billed hours so that costs are clearly budgeted for both parties. The price sets your expectations. Does the budget cover a heavy or light clean? Whatever service level you choose, make sure you know exactly what it entails, and that the price you agree to is aligned with your specific expectations.

Know the cleaning access limits and costs.

5. Window Access

Interior Windows

High up interior windows are difficult to access. They fall under the specialty, premium cleaning project category. Like other building areas, they are priced per square foot, but the higher the window, the higher the rate.

The harder they are to access, the higher the rate. Reaching high up windows requires the use of large, heavy, and expensive articulated boom lifts. Depending on the weight rating of the flooring material, articulated lifts may be too heavy to support.

When the final cleaning company comes to do an audit, ask them whether the floor is rated to support a lift.

*If possible, have them clean the high up windows before the flooring has been installed.* This is the lone exception to the rule of having the cleaners come only after all the construction and contracting work is finished.

Save on the bill by sharing tools and coordinating.

It’s expensive and time consuming for a final cleaning company to rent a specialty lift. If your workers have lifts on the job site already, you can save money by encouraging inter-company sharing.

Another cost cutting step is to contact glass installers before they install the windows. Ask whether they can remove the adhesive from the panes and frames. This eliminates some of the cleaning work.

Exterior Windows


High up exterior windows present similar access challenges as high up interior windows.


Like the interior flooring, the exterior surface or ground material may not be rated to support the weight of an articulating boom lift. Access to the exterior surfaces may also be blocked by landscaping, such as bushes and flower beds.


When cleaning companies can’t use a lift, they use extension ladders and suspension tools, like ropes and pulleys. Make sure your building has tieback anchors in place on the rooftop. Tieback anchors provide both fall protection and enhanced access to high up windows.


Know that the company you chose is excellent.

7. Availability and Scalability

How many experienced, reliable workers does the prospective final cleaning business employ? Confirm they have enough people to complete the project.

Also, unexpected setbacks happen with any project. Confirm the company can quickly gather an extra 3-4 extra workers when needed.

8. Similar Past Performance

Check the company’s comparable project references to confirm past performance on similar projects. The management and cleaning technicians should have past success in large multi phased facilities . They should have labor reserves, scheduling and payroll reserves to perform continually and  deliver a high quality final cleaning -- every time.



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