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Organising in-house cleaning services in public FM

Nora Johanne Klungseth (Department of Architectural Design and Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway)
Siri Hunnes Blakstad (Department of Architectural Design and Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 3 October 2016




This paper aims to describe and discuss in-house cleaning services in local authorities to gain a better understanding of current practices. These descriptions are intended to increase researchers’, practitioners’ and educators’ understanding of the studied issue, as there at present does not exist a solid understanding of in-house cleaning services in local authorities. Previous studies provide little detailed information regarding the internal environment of facility management (FM) organisations, in particular with regard to FM organisations’ individual services.


This research is based on two descriptive case studies, one from Norway and one from the UK. The case studies are based on semi-structured, face-to-face in-depth interviews and document reviews.


The cases demonstrate that in-house cleaning services can be structured and managed in different ways, particularly with respect to the split in services, the management of staff and customer contracts, the span of control, the chain of command, self-managed leadership, cleaners’ hours of duty and the use of outsourcing.

Research limitations/implications

Although the previous research on particular FM services is limited, this paper’s detailed descriptions may stimulate further development and research within the field. The knowledge brought forward is part of bridging a knowledge gap on cleaning in FM research. This knowledge can contribute to advancements in the way this service is discussed and measured across contexts by encouraging more rigour and specific studies on cleaning.


This paper constitutes one of the first detailed descriptions of in-house cleaning organisation in local authorities. This is a type of service supply that is common in certain contexts and identified as beneficial to cost-saving in other contexts.



This research is part of a research program targeting public FM at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Local and Regional Development (KRD). The authors would like to express their gratitude to Professor Edward Finch for hosting and tutoring Nora Johanne Klungseth during her academic residency at University of Salford Manchester while parts of the current study were undertaken.


Klungseth, N.J. and Blakstad, S.H. (2016), "Organising in-house cleaning services in public FM", Facilities, Vol. 34 No. 13/14, pp. 828-854.



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