Soft Washing Chemistry

Soft washing is a cleaning method that uses a liquid cleaning solution to remove dirt, algae and other organic material from a building’s facade. The liquid cleaning solution is sprayed on the building using low-pressure pumps and then left to react. After several minutes the solution breaks up any contaminants on the building and is later washed off using water and mechanical agitation (aka brushes). The entire process uses low-pressure and thus avoids many of the problems associated with pressure washing.


Breaking the 300′ Barrier

Cleaning tall high-rise buildings has always been challenging, but once a building exceeds 300’ or approximately 30 stories, the situation becomes even more difficult, especially where no engineered swing stage has been permanently installed on the building. At these heights the requirements for traditional access methods, such as bosun’s chair and swing stage, require specific engineering, as set out in WorkSafeBC regulations. Under these circumstances an industrial rope access system might be more appropriate.READ MORE

ASG – Annual Maintenance Programs – Pricing Model – Options

Our goal is to keep things simple, create long term relationships, and be highly responsive to your needs. Simply check off what services the site would like to approve and select the option of either a One Time – Project Work or automatic annual scheduling to enter into an Annual Service Agreement.

One Time – Project Work

No commitment needed, approving the service to be completed one time.

Automatic Annual Scheduling

This is a program where we automatically schedule a service at the set price from the year before. It is not a contract, but simply the expressed intent to have the work selected completed every year around the same time.

Annual Service Agreement.

This plan is created to lower costs and ensures that the building stays on track of its regular maintenance. This can help maintain warranties and ensure safe proper functioning of various items. Our Annual Service Agreement is a pre-planned, twelve-month cleaning schedule for three or more services.

This is how it functions

  • To qualify, you must commit to 3 services annually
  • Services are scheduled as per the service calendar
  • 7% discount applied to each service
  • Each service is invoiced individually upon completion
  • Not a contract (30 days cancellation notice)

Connected Customer View – 360 Degree

We also have the connected customer lifecycle, which unifies our customers, field, and back office processes. Field Service is pushed to mobile teams and real-time status is synced to a record system. Field teams provide notes on the status of their work, photo evidence, and next steps. This allows us to maintain complete service records of every service completed, as well as centralized Account Management and Health and Safety plans in place for each site.

Annual Spot Cleaning Program – Unlimited Spot Cleanings

High Performing sites implement a Floor Care Maintenance Program for their Common Areas. Typical frequency of service is every 2 to 3 months. The Annual Spot Cleaning Program is designed to deal with the everyday reality in between services.

All common area carpets experience emergency spills and spots: garbage, pet stains, food accidents ect. This Add On package is a simple addition to your current programs – it provides a building has unlimited calls for any spot or spills through the duration of the year, which in the end saves the building money.

What does it cost?
Typical Building would be between $ 300 to $ 600 a year.

Cold Weather Service – Auto Vs On Call – Triggers

Two weeks of the thermometer flirting with 0 degrees centigrade has left many managers thinking about their Cold Weather services for Snow Removal and De-icing this winter. The most critical issue of discussion with your provider is what triggers a service, when you select Automatic versus On Call.

Broadly speaking, Automatic callouts means the contractor triggers the delivery of the service based on weather forecasts and conditions. On Call meaning the contractor only responds when requested by the site.

Buildings often select the “On Call” with the view that it provides greater control over contracts. This is likely a misguided assumption. When Snow and freezing temperatures arrive, contractors are always going to prioritize customers who are on an automatic contract, as that is a contractual relationship.
On call clients are usually bumped to the back of the line, because there is no real guarantee that the customers will call in future.
Furthermore, if a contractor only offers on-call services, they tend to charge higher costs (to offset the uncertainty they face).

Then its a game of first come first serve: call too late and the building may not see the service show up until the afternoon, or even days later during severe events. There’s also pressure to finish the work as fast as possible and move on – its a feast or famine business model. Consequently the care level is not there, which could become a practical and legal headache if areas are not cleaned for hours or days.

Automatic callouts are not a carte blanche; its is based on trust that is verified through good communication between the parties. It allows a contractor to effectively plan and manage a site cold weather service, ensuring that all of the agreed upon tasks are completed to the satisfaction of the client.

They are really in the business of weather monitoring, ensuring that the building gets the right service at the right time. Automatic callouts also makes it easier to manage their overall operations, so they don’t overbook themselves. To ensure accountability, the service can be monitored with field reports that include photos and time logs. Really they are invested in a buildings’ success.

At ServiceMaster Clean we deploy our field management system to keep our site contacts and Property managers in the loop. They receive Emails in advance we have scheduled a service, and issue reports when they are completed.

Advance Gutter Cleaning Option (NEW)

Advance Gutter Cleaning Option (NEW)

Gutter cleaning is not a one time event. As a result, ServiceMaster Clean Property Services created the Gutter Maintenance Programs, which enabled buildings to deal with the health of their gutter systems over a twelve month period. The Unlimited Spot Cleaning component is very successful in this effort. We would like to announce our next evolution in our Gutter Cleaning plans.



If a site waits until all the foliage falls, they place their gutter system under unnecessary risk of not functioning during heavy rains prior to sub-zero temperatures. Most coniferous trees drop debris all year long.

The Solution is Simple, if a building selects the Advance Gutter Cleaning Program Option, the operations team schedules Two Services – a full cleaning before the end of November and an additional service in Dec and Jan. During the Second Service they inspect the gutters and re-clean areas needed.

What does this cost? Roughly $ 400.00 to $ 700.00 more per site.

Chloride Free – Entry Ways – No More Ice Melt in Your Buildings – ENTRY

If you have a building on our de-icing service plan, you might notice a subtle difference in our service in the coming weeks. Traditional ice melt product can have environmental effects. This is largely due to the presence of chloride ions in salt, which is effective at breaking down frozen water, but is also highly corrosive to other substances it comes into contact with. Concrete and tile will slowly discolor after prolonged exposure. Organic compounds, such as carpet fiber and plants are also damaged over time. Even pets paws can suffer damage, as the chloride dries the skin and creates cracks. A better solution is out there.

In our pursuit of finding greener solutions for everyday problems, we’ve introduced a new system to our de-icing lineup. Its called Entry, and it’s a chloride-free solution that is far superior to regular salt both in its effectiveness and environmental consequences. It’s a residue free liquid formula that doesn’t track indoors, or cause damage to surroundings. While somewhat more costly, we have decided to make this shift, as it’s residue free, and does not track indoors or cause nearly the harm salt does on outside plants and animals.

Over the next few weeks we will be applying the solution to entryways on all of our buildings, while retaining regular salt for sidewalks. Being applied in liquid form means that you won’t be able to see it applied in the same way as salt, but the area will be ice or snow free when it is.

Aerial Lifts vs Ladders – WorkSafe Part 11

Most often, services such as gutter cleaning, dryer-vent cleaning and window washing require workers to perform some kind of work-at-height. Working at heights over 10 feet is considered high-risk by Canadian health and safety authorities and with good reason. Approximately one-third of workplace lost-time injuries and deaths are related to falls from height.

When it comes to our workers, ServiceMaster believes the only acceptable solution is the safest and best solution. In many cases, companies would rather cut corners by requiring their staff to work off of ladders and rooftops when there are safer and better alternatives. This is not only socially irresponsible, but in many cases may actually incur additional liabilities on both the service company and the property owner.

Many strata properties and townhouse complexes were constructed without proper consideration for fall protection during essential maintenance operations. It is exceedingly rare for low-rise complexes to have permanent fall protection anchors installed in the roofs. This can potentially leave maintenance companies in an awkward situation.

If no appropriate fall protection anchors can be found, companies can be left with limited options. One option is to install temporary anchors for the duration of the job, potentially compromising the integrity of the roofing system and incurring additional liability if the building begins to leak. Another option is to work off of ladders, without the benefit of fall protection. While few would argue that working at height off of a ladder is a particularly safe option, it can be considered an acceptable practice by regulators where there are no other practical options.

WorkSafeBC guideline 11.2(5)-3 states “If the use of a fall arrest system is not practicable, or will result in a hazard greater than if the system was not used, the employer must ensure that work procedures are followed that are acceptable to the Board and minimize the risk of injury to a worker from a fall.” It goes on to say that “Working off of a portable ladder doing a “light duty task,”… …where the ladder will be set up with its base at the same physical location for sporadic, short-term work…” is acceptable without additional fall protection, assuming the proper steps for ladder safety are followed. But the guidelines also provide the following important caveat. “Where terrain and accessibility allow for other means of performing the work (e.g., a scissor lift or movable work platform), the use of other such means is to be considered prior to completing the work from a portable ladder.'”

This means that according to WorkSafeBC, it’s only acceptable to work off of a ladder without
additional fall protection, if fall protection anchors are unavailable AND where a movable work platform cannot access all work locations or where it would be impracticable to do so. According to regulators, the best and safest option for many maintenance tasks is a powered lift. In fact, in many cases, it might be the only legitimate legal option.

But as a property owner how does this actually impact you? You’re hiring a third party company to do some work, surely responsibility for the safety of their employees is strictly up to them? You can’t be held accountable for their actions or omissions, or can you?

In 2010 WorkSafeBC fined a company called West Fraser Mills $75’000 for the safety omissions of one of their subcontractors. West Fraser Mills hired a company to perform a service on their property. This company hired a subcontractor and that subcontractor then violated the health and safety regulations, resulting in his death. West Fraser Mills argued it was not their employee, and they did not direct the work so they were not responsible for the subcontractor’s safety omissions. Despite this, after years of expensive court battles, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the fine. It was determined that the property owner had a legal duty to ensure the work methods being employed on their property were appropriate.

Not only is working out of a man-lift with a fall protection system in place the safest option, it’s generally the most efficient. When working off of ladders, workers must constantly climb up and down and reposition the ladder, checking its stability. This takes considerable extra time. When dealing with very tall ladders, every ladder move takes additional time, increases the risk of personal injury and property damage from mishandling.

It is for these reasons that ServiceMaster recommends a boom-lift wherever practicable.