A property manager recently reached out inquiring about changes to contracts. Specifically, he wrote: “I, as the property manager, decide if I want to make any changes to specifications after the contract has been signed. It is up to the vendor to have anticipated changing needs before start-up. Your response?”

I understand, that at one level, you may need to make changes in the specifications in order to protect or satisfy the tenants in your building. This is an important aspect that needs to be closely coordinated with the BSC (building service contractor) when it impacts labor, schedules or other services that could result in a change in overall costs.

I suggest a “rule of thumb” number or percentage that would automatically trigger a modification to the contract. This could be a change in square footage, tasks or other factor that would have an increase (or decrease) in the labor, chemicals, supplies, etc. necessary to fulfill the task.

In smaller contracts, I recommend a change in direct labor hours that is more (or less) than 10 to 20 percent of what is currently expended. In larger contracts, this number could be lower than 5 percent, since the larger the direct labor pool and/or square footage involved, the greater the change that may be necessary.

I never support the use of wording such as “As Needed” or “As Required” since it can open a whole can of worms in interpretation leading to unnecessary friction.

My recommendation is that all tasks have a set frequency (annual number) that clearly directs the BSC in how often a particular service is provided. If there is a change (think permanent, not short term) to a major task (such as vacuuming, strip/recoating) or square footage, the specs need to be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

Note that I suggest changes for increased or decreased activity. The key is to be consistent in application. I recommend you review your current contract and make changes/clarifications to address these possible changes.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.