Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai
It is the season to be outdoors - wonderful, especially after a long and humid summer in the Middle East.
Often, the quality and condition of a hotel’s outdoor facility can be assessed by investigating the relationship that exists between the executive housekeeper and the hotel’s chief engineer. When this relationship is positive and the people are mutually respectful of each other’s responsibilities and workload, the physical appearance of a hotels or facilities grounds and outside areas will be excellent. Typically, the chief engineer is in charge of the repair and physical maintenance of a hotel and its grounds.
The executive housekeeper is responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance (servicing) of the area. Since the housekeeping department is mostly quite large compared to the engineering department, it is in a better position to look for and find areas in need of repair, maintenance or replacement. The major concern is to have a reporting and follow-up system in place between the two departments in order to ensure an orderly flow of information. Being in the 21st century, cameras and WhatsApp have largely replaced maintenance work forms. As many hotels are using apps, maintenance feeds go through them and are properly recorded.
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To maintain a pristine outdoor area, it is of utmost importance to have the right cleaning equipment. Outdoor areas include external facades, windows, walk ways, driving and car parking areas, swimming pools, garden furniture, play grounds, terraces etc. High-pressure washers are a good solution for cleaning external facades, garden furniture, driveways and carparks. The pressure washer takes off dust, mildew and oil stains using highly pressurized water. Pressure washers can be used on different types of stone, masonry and concrete, to remove light and moderate atmospheric and organic staining.
Window cleaning is definitely one of the hardest jobs to perform: the level of dirt is generally high and, in many cases, you have to work at a considerable height from the ground, with all the risks that this entails. Therefore it is important to have a good set of ladders or even a cherry picker on hand. A proper window cleaning set with extendable poles is also very useful. For wide paved areas that require sweeping and the removal of sand, gravel and dead leaves, the use of a walk-behind sweeper is good. If the area is larger, there are ride-on vacuum sweepers.
In case a patio or area is deeply imbedded with dirt and oil, a single disc machine with a strong brush will help loosen the debris. Pools require regular maintenance, usually carried out by the engineering and recreation team. This includes the cleaning of the floor but also the treatment of the water, which must meet the public health standards.
As for chemicals, always check with your supplier first on what can be used outdoors. Especially if the patio gets scrubbed and dirty water might run into a grassed area. You would not want to spoil the soil. In order to maintain the areas in an always clean and pristine state, have regular walk around with your engineering department to identify areas of repair.
Have a periodic cleaning schedule in place, this helps too to maintain your areas.