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Property/Block and Estate Mangers may or may not know this…

Know the Law and Learn how to avoid fines when hiring an exterior building cleaning company.

Many Property and Estate managers and owners are unsure of who is liable when they employ an outside cleaning contractor. With such work, the building owner or tenant is fully responsible.

Choosing an unprincipled exterior building cleaning company could just mean you receive an inferior clean if your lucky. If you are unlucky you could end up in court fighting your corner in a legal battle

where there can be potential legal problems that impact directly on you. These can include small problems such as fines and court appearances, but as a worst-case scenario can even lead to a criminal record in extreme cases – Exterior Building Cleaning Law

Six easy ways you can ensure legal compliance

To help put your mind at ease we describe below six common tasks that any professional exterior building cleaning company should carry out to ensure that you and they always remain within the law.

With any exterior building cleaning company you are thinking of hiring, we advise you to go through these six points with them so that you can be confident you won’t be left legally liable for any negligence on their part.

  1. Drawing Water from a Standpipe – Standpipes must be hired in from the relevant water authority which covers the location of the building. Employees should then pass a training course on how to correctly use a standpipe before being allowed to use one. A water metre will be fitted on the standpipe and water must be paid for as well as the cost of hiring in the standpipe. Costs for this vary from different water utilities companies and their chosen partners who supply equipment around the country. Here at CCWC Services we always list this in our quote for your assurance with compliance.

TOP TIP: Always check for yourself that employees have had the relevant training to use a standpipe. Do not rely on the building cleaning company assuring you of it – as with anything, when in doubt ask for proof.

  1. COSHH – We all understand that COSHH regulations need to be adhered to but have you ever checked whether your exterior cleaning companies is providing suitable, regular training for their employees? Any good external cleaning company will be able to easily demonstrate their commitment to training. So often exterior building cleaning companies bring chemicals onto your premises that they have not been trained to correctly handle or use. Always ask to see proof of adequate training in these areas.
  1. WAHR

Working at Height Regulations – Employers have a duty to ensure that all of their employees are suitably trained when their job involves working at height. Suitable training should always be provided when required for:

  • The safe use and selection of safety harnesses and lanyards.
  • Using Mobile Elevated Work Platforms or MEWPS – must have certain IPAF training. All of our staff have levels 1a,3a &3b – for the safe use of Spider Lifts, Boom/Cherry Pickers and Scissor Lifts
  • Ladder Training.
  • Other types of training depending on the equipment being used.

 TOP TIP 1: Ask your chosen exterior building cleaning company for a copy of their Training Matrix. This will show you how much they care about their employee’s wellbeing and will give you a good idea of whether they are a good fit for you and your building clean.

TOP TIP 2: You should also insist on seeing their risk assessments and method statements relating to works being carried out on your building. Do not settle for generic documents, always insist on Site Specific ones that have been written specifically for your building and the work that is being carried out on it.

  1. Waste Water Dumping

It is illegal to allow waste wash water to run into storm drains outside in the street. Where this does occur both the cleaning company and building owner can face fines from the local water authorities. Instead, waste water MUST be collected and disposed of in the sewerage drains or taken away and paid to recycle/dump. Any experienced building cleaning company will ensure that no waste water goes down the storm drains. One-way waste wash water can be prevented from entering storm drains is the use of a vacuum recovery system. This ensures all waste water is vacuumed into a recovery tank, and then by using an onboard waste pump the effluent can be pumped into the customers sewers or into a larger holding tank inside a van to be taken away to a recycling centre at a cost. Vacuum recovery systems are not used by many exterior cleaning companies as they are expensive to purchase or hire. Fortunately, our approach has never been about what method is cheaper for us, but about what is best for you. Therefore, we DO use vacuum recovery systems at CCWC Services!

TOP TIP: Ask your exterior building cleaning company whether they use a vacuum recovery system. If they do not, ask them why not as it is a great way of ensuring legal compliance.

  1. Check: Do the employees of the cleaning company work for the cleaning company?

Some cleaning companies can sometimes take on larger jobs than they have capacity for. This means they will need to sub-contract other smaller cleaning companies to help them carry out the work. When they sub-contract, they often will not check:

  • That adequate training has been provided by these smaller firms to their employees
  • The level of insurance cover (which should include public and employee’s liability insurance)
  1. Does the cleaning company have adequate insurance cover?

This is another especially important aspect of Exterior Building Cleaning Law. Most small cleaning companies buy cheap insurance policies which do not cover the building being worked upon.  Obviously, this could leave you at great financial risk should an accident occur while they are cleaning your building.

TOP TIP: Always verify the insurance cover of any cleaning company you are thinking of using.

Take the time…avoid the risk of fines

Hopefully, you’ll find the six points given above are helpful when you’re thinking of hiring an exterior building cleaning company. The best advice we can give is that it is far better to take the time to thoroughly check these things out first before you agree to any external cleaning work. Failure to do so could result in unexpected legal problems in the future. To discuss how CCWC Services can carry out an exterior building clean for you, get in touch today to learn about our proven and effective cleaning services – all of them 100% legally compliant.

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