Cleaning Programs

As seasoned professionals in facilities management, one of the first lessons learned is the vital role that resource planning and clear communication play in the smooth operation of a facilities management team. A key component of this approach is a well-crafted 'Scope of Services' document.  

What is a Scope of Services? 

A Scope of Services is a foundational tool for effective facilities management. The document is more than just a list of tasks; it's a strategic tool that brings clarity, ensures quality, and facilitates communication with key stakeholders, including leadership. It precisely outlines the services provided by the facilities team, detailing specific tasks, frequency, and quality standards. This document serves as a blueprint, guiding day-to-day operations and ensuring consistency in service delivery. 

How Can a Scope of Services Help Facility Operations? 

Having a comprehensive Scope of Services document offers multiple benefits: 

• Clarity and Direction: It clearly defines roles and responsibilities, preventing task overlap and ensuring efficient resource allocation.
• Improved Communication: It facilitates better communication between the facilities team and other stakeholders, including leadership and departmental clients.
• Resource Management: It helps in managing and justifying resource allocation, including staff and equipment.
• Quality Assurance: It sets a benchmark for service quality, making it easier to conduct assessments and maintain high standards. 

Crafting an Effective Scope of Services Document 

An effective Scope of Services document should include: 

• Specific Tasks: Clearly state the tasks to be performed, their objectives, and the frequency at which they should be completed.
• Performance Standards: Reference industry standards — like APPA standards — to define the quality and thoroughness expected in each task.
• Required Resourcing: Include the full-time employee (FTE) necessary to complete the designated tasks at the frequency and to the performance standard listed.  

Communicate Resource Needs 

A well-structured Scope of Services is a powerful tool for communicating with leadership, especially when discussing resource needs. It helps in: 

• Justifying Resource Requests: A Scope of Services document provides a detailed account of tasks and required standards, making it easier to justify the need for additional resources. If there is a need for more staff, this document can be used to create a side-by-side comparison of what frequency and performance standards can be achieved with the current staffing level — as well as the requested staffing level.  

• Setting Realistic Expectations: Spelling out a Scope of Services helps in setting realistic expectations with leadership about what can be achieved with the available resources, and confirming how service delivery will need to be adjusted when personnel resources are limited.

• Strategic Planning: A Scope of Services can feed into strategic planning for future resource allocation, including staffing, budgeting, and equipment needs. 

• Leadership Recognition: Using a Scope of Services is an activity required in the Healthy Green Schools and Colleges Standard for K-12 School Districts and Higher Education Institutions, a certification that provides leadership recognition to schools for addressing health and indoor air quality in their facilities management programs.  

Successful facilities management relies on the ability to plan strategically, operate efficiently, and communicate effectively. These communications and detailed work documents also help to strengthen customer relations and reduce facility complaints. It is well worth it for facilities management professionals to invest time into developing and refining their Scope of Services document to elevate and adequately support the efforts of their teams.  

Kimberly Thomas is the special projects advisor to the associate vice president of facility management at the University of Georgia. Todd Kerzie is UGA’s senior director of services for the facilities maintenance department. The two are both active with Healthy Green Schools & Colleges