There were two almost identical cases completely independent of each other that involved disputes between the contracting organisation and the cleaning contractors. These two cases were large multi-floor office buildings owned by two separate UK PLC’s contracting two separate cleaning companies to provide routine and ad hoc cleaning services.
As both cases were effectively identical, one case will be described.
After a period of 2 years in contract, the customer (the contracting organisation) started to receive comments initially from staff about the cleaning standards. The comments turned into complaints as the cleaning standards were perceived to have fallen further. It’s an interesting aside that when people start to notice falling standards, they are more likely to notice other issues, this is often the seed of disputes.
By the time the customer approached us a formal review of the cleaning services by the contractor had started which resulted in a dispute between both parties. The customer instructed us to act as an independent expert to audit the current cleaning standards and documentation relating to cleaning services.
The audit was conducted without prior notification to the contractor and to office staff.
The results indicated a systemic failure to achieve the cleaning standards that could be reasonably and practically achieved. However, the service level agreement and service contract were not considered to be sufficiently detailed to indicate a clear breach. But because the results of the audit indicated major failures in cleaning standards, it was argued that the level of service provided by the contractors fell short of what was reasonably expected in terms of appearance, hygiene and safety for routine cleaning.