Would your floorcare get an A*?
Alan Lewin, managing director of ServiceMaster Clean, provides advice about improving the lifespan of flooring within educational settings.
After a holiday of sleeping in and doing things at their own pace, students up and down the country will be heading back to schools, colleges and universities all over the country, as the spring term begins.
Having large groups of people in one place makes hygiene in the educational sector critical, as germs can easily spread when people are in close proximity. And it’s not just students who use the facilities - schools and colleges are now increasingly open to the local community for sport and other recreational activities and evening classes, and need to be kept in pristine condition. The majority of dirt, grit, oil or grease is carried in on shoes from the outside, so the amount of footfall will have an impact. Added to that, autumnal weather brings with it the risk of muddy rain puddles and fallen leaves blowing into the building, causing floors to become dirty, unsightly and slippery.
From concrete corridors, to wooden assembly hall floors, modern rubber sports hall flooring, areas of safety flooring, and carpeted classrooms and offices, flooring can vary greatly from place to place within any school or college.
ServiceMaster Clean works with many different types of educational establishments including primary, middle and secondary schools, colleges, universities and adult learning centres, to undertake deep cleaning of halls of residence carpets before the new students move in, regular floor cleaning during term time, repair work to hard floors, stain removal or a restoration service after fire, flood or vandalism.
A university's expenditure on its estate is second only to institutional expenditure on staffing, so it is imperative that appropriate floorcare is in place to help with the efficient and well-planned running of each building. With the current economic climate and budget cuts in the educational sector, schools and colleges have to make sure that their flooring lasts for as long as possible. The right cleaning procedures and equipment can assist greatly in this aim – replacing floors is a lot more expensive than regular maintenance.
The technology for dealing with surfaces that were previously considered beyond repair has improved dramatically, demonstrating the cost effectiveness of using trained professionals. Instead of tearing up damaged floors, throwing upholstery out, and supplying and laying new materials, ServiceMaster Clean works with the education sector to carry out full restoration.
Tailor the treatment
The variety of flooring materials used in schools and colleges will also have an influence on the type of cleaning equipment that is needed to treat each surface thoroughly and hygienically.
Some surfaces are more delicate than others and operator knowledge is crucial to ensure that there is no damage to the floor. Always use qualified experts who have the expertise to use the right cleaning methods for a range of different surfaces such marble, granite or limestone flooring , remove scratches or restore a high polish. Vinyl floor surfaces may require deep scrubbing using a rotary machine and a suitable brush head to properly clean the floor. Other floors may benefit from removing damaged seals and applying fresh coatings. Some parts of a carpet get greater use than others, like doorways, the area in front of chairs and the middle of stairs, so are likely to show signs of wear earlier. Spot cleaning can be used to remove specific spots or spills.
Longer working hours and extended opening times have resulted in a rise in the demand for ‘daytime’ cleaning at times when the building is occupied with people. This means that cleaning equipment needs to be easily transported from one location to another with the minimum fuss. Cordless battery-powered cleaning machines with no trailing leads should be used to lessen the chance of causing trips or falls.
Engine powered, truck-mounted, extraction carpet cleaning machines offer the best all round results in professional carpet and upholstery cleaning. These machines are ten times more powerful than the largest portable industrial cleaning equipment and have the ability to leave floors clean, dry and ready to walk on in a short space of time.
Vandalism is an issue in schools, colleges and universities. According to the Daily Record, school vandalism in Scotland cost local authorities £2.3m in 2011. Damage within schools, colleges and universities can take a variety of forms, from graffiti on desks or smashing up school furniture, to gouging out walls and breaking windows, or even excrement and vomit on walls and floors.
We offer a damage management service designed specifically for the educational sector and work with a number of large universities on these issues. Whether the incident is as significant as fire and flood, or minor deliberate damage to property, serious health and safety implications apply, but we can help minimise disruption. Our national, emergency disaster support service, Restoration Response™ puts property back to pre-damage condition. Sign up is free and in 2-4 hours we’ll be there to help, delivering one of the fastest on site response times to an unexpected emergency, with the single goal of getting you back to work fast.
Further information about ServiceMaster Clean’s full range of services can be found at: www.servicemasterclean.co.uk or by calling 0845 762 6828.
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