Cleaners of Senate Properties’ premises act as indoor air agents
Indoor climate —
As they go around the premises, cleaners are the first to notice potential indoor air risks. This is why Senate Properties asked them to become their indoor air agents. We will use the blueprint in all premises where Senate Properties arranges cleaning services.
Cracks in structures, leaking hand-held bidet showers, loose threshold strips and missing window seals. Miia Pulkkinen, service coordinator at Lassila & Tikanoja, has reported on these problems in addition to her cleaning work on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Tilkanmäki and Kytösuo premises in Helsinki.
Pulkkinen is one of Senate Properties’ latest indoor air agents. Since the beginning of the year, Senate Properties has worked more closely than earlier with service providers in work environments and facilities to prevent indoor air problems. The person behind the idea is Risto Rautiola, Northern Finland Regional Director at Senate Properties.
”Our own property managers don’t visit the rooms as often as cleaners, who go round the facilities daily. Cleaning itself has a decisive impact on the indoor air conditions of the premises, in addition to which we want to motivate cleaners to take a closer look at their work environments. The aim is to get to grips as early as possible with problems that might evolve into bigger, more serious harm,” Rautiola says.
“A cleaner’s job description essentially includes monitoring the premises. In the event of any defects, these must be reported,” Pulkkinen reflects.
Critical findings rewarded
Pamela Fingerroos is Lassila & Tikanoja’s cleaner and support services staff supervisor for the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s Tilkanmäki and Kytösuo premises. The cleaners report their findings to her and she then records them in an electronic maintenance book. The reports are forwarded via the property manager to Senate Properties’ indoor air team, who take a closer look at the observations where necessary.
“Our cleaners have excellent knowhow and are just the right people to report issues in various premises,” Fingerroos says.
Senate Properties pays cleaners a €50 reward for observations of particular importance in the prevention of indoor air problems.
“The reward has an effect and motivates a lower reporting threshold. In addition, the reward is symbolically important: it shows appreciation for the work our cleaners do and that we really do listen to them.”
From a pilot to a blueprint
Almost ten observations in the Tilkanmäki and Kytösuo have been rewarded this year. A total of thirty rewards nationwide were paid in May alone. There have been reports of stuffiness, drainage problems or darkened tile seams, for example.
“The things that have been reported in my own unit have not been catastrophic, mostly just minor defects. Nevertheless, these defects would probably have developed into real problems had they not been put right,” Pamela Fingerroos sums up.
The activities of indoor air agents have so far been a pilot, but by the end of 2019 will be expanded to become a blueprint in all premises Senate Properties manages and arranges cleaning services.
Zero tolerance for problems with indoor conditions
Zero tolerance for indoor air problems is one of the objectives of Senate Properties’ strategy until 2022. The goal is to improve the quality of indoor conditions and to overcome problems in central government premises.
Zero tolerance above all means a holistic operating culture and attitude to which all Senate Properties’ employees commit in their work. Pro-action and prompt reaction are key to our work with zero tolerance and this is where indoor air agents play an important role.
In order to improve indoor conditions, Senate Properties will increase the amount spent on investments and maintenance by €250 million over the following four years. At the same time we are strengthening indoor air expertise and resources. Senate Properties has among other things hired new indoor air experts and indoor air detection dogs. During 2019, we will conduct indoor air inspections in around 200 premises.