VAWS - Eagle-eye Custodians Lift Facilities Services to the Next Level

April 1, 2016

Part of the Values at Work Series

Service: We focus our unconditional efforts to best serve our clients.

What makes the custodians of The University of Texas at Austin extraordinary? Is it the specialized, in-depth training they’ve received? Is it their award-winning cleaning methods used to carry out their duties? Or is it the teamwork they put in action each day to efficiently and effectively provide quality custodial services in support of the university’s mission? All of these aspects make for an outstanding team of professionals. What further sets them apart is their stewardship of the buildings. They not only carry out their assigned tasks well, but they also know they are that extra set of eyes in identifying a facilities issue—many times before the building occupants even notice the issue and have to report it. It is this sense of “ownership” that helps to makes them extraordinary stewards. Our custodians possess an attention to detail and pride in what they do. This accountability on behalf of Facilities Services helps to make a difference to our clients by providing early identification of issues custodians encounter while on the job that could impact what our clients experience on campus. For example, a night shift team noticed that a drinking fountain was not draining properly, so the team noted the issue and turned it in to their crew leader, who went online to our Work Order Request and Query System (WORQS) to request its repair.


While on shift, a Custodial Services crew notices a drinking fountain is not draining properly and reports it for service.

Requests such as this one are placed during that same shift so they can be processed more efficiently. Other examples of issues that are discovered and reported by our custodians include burnt-out lightbulbs and non-working power outlets; stopped up sinks, leaks, and overflowing toilets; malfunctioning elevators; and loose floor tile squares or base boards. Security issues, such as when a door lock is not working or a key is stuck, are reported through WORQS and also to the campus police. Safety hazards are reported directly to the appropriate source.

Vacuum specialist with Custodial Services at work on the night shift.

Facilities issues reported by Custodial Services represent more than a few random calls or their bearing on our operations would not be noticeable or impactful. In fact, in the buildings where custodial staff worked from January through December of 2015, they identified 14 percent of the trouble issues reported for those buildings. Put another way, one in every seven trouble tickets worked on in those buildings were the result of a service request reported by Custodial Services.*

Many organizations keep an eye on the bottom line, but we believe we should also keep an eye on how well things work for our clients. Our maintenance operations staff are responsible for over 20 million gross square feet of facilities, which makes it difficult for them to be everywhere and notice every issue that should be addressed. Our custodians help to identify facilities issues for the buildings they work in so the appropriate technicians can act on them more quickly. Coordinating our efforts also reduces costs. Working together, we can be more effective stewards for the university and for our clients.

*Source: FAMIS work order management system