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"Applying APPA Guidelines for Custodial Staffing: The Case of Slippery Rock University"
Author: Iossifova, Albena,Hemphill, Dennis,Brest, Diana,Albert, Scott,
Published In: Facilities Manager
Date: November/December 2009

Founded in 1889, Slippery Rock University (SRU) is a state university with 8,500 students and 400 faculty. Facilities and planning (F&P) employs 178 staff, of which 50 are custodians. F&P is responsible for the maintenance of 560 acres and 60 major buildings that comprise approximately 2.3 million gross square feet. Currently work is assigned to the custodians, by two custodial supervisors, who use their 25 years of work experience at the university to determine the workload for the custodians. No standards, calculations, or other scientific methods are applied in this process. The main goal of this research and analysis project was to evaluate the current staffing assignments and to provide a general picture of the custodial needs and the current level of cleanliness at SRU. SRU's goal is to maintain an aggregate Level 2 cleanliness in its buildings. Level 2 is defined as "ordinary tidiness" and includes "shiny floors and base moldings and no buildup in corners or along walls, vertical and horizontal surfaces are clean but may contain dust and fingerprints upon close inspection, lights and fixtures work, and washroom and shower fixtures gleam and are odor-free" (APPA Guidelines). The project started with data collection in two phases: (1) taking an accurate cleanable space inventory of all buildings at SRU; and (2) performing the cleaning audits. The process of data collection and analyses lasted for nine months, from September 2008 through May 2009. In conclusion, the authors found the whole experience extremely helpful and a great learning exercise. Collecting data and identifying the trends in the data was very insightful for the custodial supervisors. The authors strongly believe that the custodial services at SRU and at any other school will benefit greatly from trying to apply the APPA guidelines. The guidelines themselves may not provide direct answers to all operations questions, but they definitely initiate the cycle of performance measurement, quality control, and continuous improvement. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure and 1 note.)

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