A reader writes: “I am being required by my property manager to maintain the office areas ‘dust free’ even though there is major construction going on including a lot of sheet rock dust. What are my options?”


Most of us have encountered this challenge at least once in our careers. The short answer is, “What does the contract call for?” Is construction cleanup even a contingency? Although many proactive property managers will require the construction contractor to clean up the basic mess the create, they oftentimes assume that the Building Service Contractor can maintain the same standards of cleanliness even in protracted construction work being performed. There are different stakeholders involved.


The construction contractor is on a budget and will probably be tempted to do as little real cleaning as possible. In a worst case scenario they will appropriate your tools including vacuum cleaner, cleaning cloths, chemicals, etc. to avoid have to pay for their own. Although I cannot recommend this practice to you since it could have serious repercussions, I usually would get chains and padlocks along with signage stressing that equipment, tools, chemicals were only to be used by XYC Cleaning Service and that any use by anyone else would be reported as theft. 


I also would have a delicate conversation with the property manager explaining that since I did not have a contractual relationship with the construction contractor I would have to pass on any additional costs directly to them (although this was usually a bluff). 


Finally, I have actually gone into a construction area and picked up a drill, saw, ladder, etc. and proceeded to walk away with it. When confronted by the construction contractor I would respond since he used my equipment and tools, I had the right to use his as well. He usually got the picture and directed his staff to return my tools and to stop using them.


We will continue this subject in a future article. Your comments and questions are important. 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.