A reader asks: "I have customers demanding an Ebola Preparedness Plan that they can publicize to their tenants. After closely reading the contract, it is a requirement I never thought I would have to deal with. This requirement is going to increase my labor and chemical budget. Any suggestions?"

Go to CDC (Center for Disease Control — www.cdc.gov) for detailed information regarding emergency (Ebola) preparedness as well as dealing with other contagions. After our discussion regarding your customer's demands, I tried to think of some guidance that might help. Note following suggestions to consider:

1. We need to closely read the specs and contract to determine if they have the authority to require us to perform at a higher level of cleaning than they are paying for. This can be sticky since they can interpret a word/phrase to their advantage and claim that we are not in compliance with the contract. Proceed with caution on this point.

2. In commercial practice there is an informal 3 to 10 percent rule that allows for a minor variation in the DLH/supplies expended due to minor increases/decreases in traffic or other necessities. Above or below the predetermined threshold requires a modification up or down to accommodate the change in costs related to providing said services. Of course, the dollar amount of the contract will tend towards the higher percentage.

3. Although this is not a pandemic at this time, by true definition, but I can understand their tenant's concerns.

4. There is little we can do if it is an intentional, terroristic attack other than respond appropriately after the fact.

5. Consult with industry cleaning times standards to develop a comparison for budgeted contract hours versus the new requirement times for a reality check.

6. There may be a need for us to clarify the touch points and procedures for cleaning/disinfecting/sanitizing an area which is different from a medical facility to an office building. Note that there really should be no real change in disinfecting/sanitizing rest rooms, break rooms, etc. from what we are already contracted to do.

7. We also may need to suggest more wearing/changing out of gloves and other PPEs for our staff as well as security personnel.

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.